Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin is on the hot seat entering his sixth season in College Station.
“Coach Sumlin knows he has to win,” Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward said during an appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show, via ESPN. “He has to win this year. He has to do better than he has done in the past.”
The Aggies got off to a hot start in 2016, amassing a 6-0 record at the outset of the season with wins over UCLA, Auburn, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Things quickly fell apart for Sumlin’s program after being ranked No. 6 in the nation, as Texas A&M went on to lose four of their final six regular season games.
“Last year was extremely disappointing,” Woodward said at the SEC spring meetings in Florida. “We were as highly ranked as (No. 6) and got up there and played very competitive games and fell off, like we’ve been doing.”
“We were very disappointed as a program, both Coach (Sumlin) and I, and we just want to make darn sure we get it right. We’ve had a heck of a spring. Recruiting continues to go well.”
Texas A&M was outscored 88-53 by SEC West rivals Alabama and LSU in 2016, and the Aggies would lose a bowl game for a second consecutive season under Sumlin.
Through five seasons in College Station, Sumlin has amassed a 44-21 record. He led the Aggies to a 11-2 record in his first season at the helm with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel leading the way. Texas A&M would go 9-4 the following season, but since Manziel’s departure the program has recorded three straight 8-5 seasons.
The Aggies lost multiple impact starters to the NFL following the 2016 season, including the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, defensive end Myles Garrett. While Texas A&M does have 12 starters returning in 2017, Sumlin will have the tough task of replacing quarterback Trevor Knight and star wide receiver Josh Reynolds.
“I have all the confidence that Coach (Sumlin) is going to get it done, and he’s going to get it done in a very convincing way,” Woodward said.
The Aggies open their season against UCLA on Sept. 3 for the second consecutive year, but this time Texas A&M will be traveling to Pasadena to face the Bruins and star quarterback Josh Rosen.