Don’t let Kevin Sumlin fool you. The head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies may tell you that he doesn’t fit in with the big-name coaches in the Southeastern Conference, or that his team is just an underdog in the midst of college football’s giants, but don’t believe it.
Sumlin and his Aggies did more than hold their own during their first season in the powerhouse SEC. A&M went 11-2, including 6-2 in the SEC. The Aggies also produced a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in Johnny Manziel, who benefited from playing in the high-octane offense that Sumlin employs.
That offense is one of the things that got Sumlin the job in the first place. While he was the head coach at Houston, Sumlin’s offenses were among the nation’s best, year in and year out. Sumlin’s quarterback at Houston, Case Keenum, broke numerous passing records while playing for the Cougars.
He downplayed his offense in the season prior to joining the SEC, but Sumlin knew it would work, even against some of the best defensive teams in the country.
And boy, did it work. The Aggies were first in the SEC and third in the conference last season in total offense, putting up 558 yards per game. Manziel led the nation in total offense, at 393 yards per contest. All of this while facing the vaunted defenses of teams like the Alabama Crimson Tide, the LSU Tigers and the Florida Gators, who were all in the top eight nationally in total defense in 2012.
The question for Sumlin, Manziel and the Aggies is: what do they do for an encore? A&M will not sneak up on anyone this season, as they may have at times in 2012. With a higher level of expectation in College Station, the 2013 season should be an interesting one for Texas A&M.
Just don’t let Sumlin sell you on the Aggies being underdogs again this season.