HOOVER, Ala. — The last time we saw Kevin Sumlin, it was pushing midnight, he was still coaching Houston, and Case Keenum had just broken another NCAA passing record. Sumlin returns to Birmingham as one of the newest imports to SEC Media Days, and though we’ve never known him to suffer fools gladly in the past, he’s getting pretty good at faking it. After three or four variations of “HOW DO YOU EVEN DARE TAKE THE FIELD IN THIS LEAGUE WITHOUT QUAKING IN YOUR UNDER ARMOURS IN BONE-RATTLING TERROR,” he fields a question from a reporter wondering how he can be so laid back. Sumlin nearly laughs out loud. “It’s summertime! We’re all right.”
This is not to say he’s not aware of the daunting task faced by Texas A&M. The Aggies, who have a new head coach and new coordinators and will play in a new conference, will face in 2012 every team responsible for keeping the last six national championships in the SEC. (There’s also that late November date with Mizzou that could knock one fresh fish out of a division race in the last week of the regular season.) ”I’m not a weatherman,” said Sumlin. “I’ve been on really good teams. I’ve been on some bad teams. I’m not a guy who’s gonna go out and circle games on schedules before the year happens.” That said, “My early expectations are to win. I keep hearing how I didn’t know what I was getting into when I took this job.”
He reminded his audience, however, that, ”We took a little team over to Starkville and won once.” We don’t think they’ve forgotten, Coach.