I’m sure behind closed doors that Kevin Sumlin gets a little riled up, but in front of the media and in the public eye, Sumlin is a pretty cool customer.
During the SEC’s Spring Meetings, his athletic director, Scott Woodward, put him on notice — and warmed up his hot seat, saying that Sumlin has to win this year.
“Last year was extremely disappointing,” Woodward said on the Paul Finebaum Show. “We were ranked as high as No. 4 and got up there and played very well, hard, competitive games and then fell off, like we’ve been doing. We were very disappointed, very disappointed as a program, both coach and I. We just want to make darn sure that we’re going to get it right.
“We’ve had a heck of a spring and recruiting continues to go well, but Coach knows he has to win and he has to win this year and we have to do better than we’ve done in the past.”
Woodward’s comments of the program “having to do better than we’ve done in the past” is a direct indictment of Sumlin’s alarming 7-9 record in November the last four years.
So, how did Kevin Sumlin respond to the comments? As a cool, calm customer, of course, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
“When you’re in this job, you know what’s at stake all the time,” Sumlin said. “Whether anybody has anything to say about it or not doesn’t change how I feel. I approach my job the same way. What I did the first day I got here to what I do now. I had a coach tell me don’t pay attention to a lot of stuff because you’ve never been that good and you’ve never been that bad.”
Talent hasn’t been Sumlin’s problem. He has a big sleeping giant of a program to sell and a sexy offense to boot. But the late-season weak finishes have to stop if Sumlin wants to keep his job for the long-term. In the “what have you done for me lately” college football world we live in, with coaches making $5 million or more per season, a lot is riding on the line every single year, every single snap.
Sumlin caught lightning in a bottle with Johnny Manziel, but he’s not walking back through that door. And with a new head coach in Austin starting to make some noise in recruiting — we’ll see about on-the-field results, the pressure cooker is probably about to get even more turned up for Sumlin.