NCAA football: Sumlin in at Texas A&M
Published 12:00 am Monday, December 12, 2011
The college football notebook …
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Kevin Sumlin had opportunities to leave Houston ever since his first year with the Cougars.
He never wanted to move until the Aggies came after him.
Sumlin was introduced as Texas A&M’s coach on Monday, two days after he was hired to replace Mike Sherman who was fired after a disappointing 6-6 season.
“To have an opportunity to be the head coach at Texas A&M was something very special to me,” Sumlin said after donning a maroon blazer. “Being at one of the great traditional universities in the United States and playing in probably the best league in the country is just a great opportunity for me.”
Sumlin will move from Conference USA to perhaps the toughest football league in the country with the Aggies joining the Southeastern Conference next year.
The former Oklahoma offensive coordinator said he is not daunted by the challenge.
“I didn’t come here to do anything but win,” he said. “I’ve never looked at who we played as being the issue, I’ve worried about our situation and it has been about us. Whether it’s Alabama or Alabama State, it really doesn’t matter. I worry more about Texas A&M and us getting better.”
AUBURN MOVES ON
ATLANTA — Gene Chizik said Monday Auburn is turning to junior Onterio McCalebb, freshman Tre Mason — and perhaps a surprise or two — at tailback following the suspension of All-SEC starter Mike Dyer.
“We’ve moved on,” Chizik said.
Chizik, in Atlanta to promote Auburn’s Chick-fil-A Bowl game against Virginia, said he’ll give more work to McCalebb and Mason in practice.
“We feel confident in some young guys that will step up,” Chizik said.
“We’ve got some other guys right now that we’ll be kind of evaluating here in the next two weeks, seeing exactly what part they might be able to play to help. This is a great challenge for some of our younger players.”
Dyer joined Alabama’s Trent Richardson as The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference first-team running backs after he had 1,242 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns.
MEYER HIRING STAFF
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Brian Voltolini will take over as director of football operations and Mark Pantoni will be director of player personnel at Ohio State under new coach Urban Meyer.
Meyer made the announcement Monday. Both men worked under Meyer at Florida.
Voltolini?s responsibilities include budgeting, scholarships and camps and clinics. Pantoni will handle administrative duties for recruiting.
Voltolini worked with Meyer for nine years, beginning in 2001, at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. He grew up in Coeur d?Alene, Idaho, and attended Idaho.
Pantoni has worked at Florida for the past five years and also helped with Florida?s summer camp showcase, Friday Night Lights.
A Florida native, Pantoni grew up in Sarasota and attended Florida.
HAYES AT ARKANSAS
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Paul Haynes didn’t need much time to decide to leave Ohio State to become Arkansas’ defensive coordinator.
Following a phone call from Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino, a simple conversation with his family was all Haynes needed to affirm his desire to coach in the Southeastern Conference, which is about to become home to six straight national champions.
Haynes was hired at Arkansas on Friday night and introduced Monday. He replaces former defensive coordinator Willy Robinson, who resigned last week, and rejoins Petrino. The two were assistants with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
“You kind of go through this college football thing, and you see where college football has gone … That this is the best conference in college football,” Haynes said. “So I think when you have the opportunity to coach in it, and the opportunity to coach with someone you know, and that opportunity comes, you jump on it.”
Haynes spent the last seven seasons with the Buckeyes, serving as the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach last season. That included Ohio State’s 31-26 win over Arkansas in last season’s Sugar Bowl — a game in which the Buckeyes sacked former Razorbacks quarterback Ryan Mallett four times and pressured him throughout.
Haynes promised to bring that same kind of pressure from his defensive fronts while at Arkansas, and he said the Razorbacks could “definitely” have one of the top defenses in the country despite Petrino’s focus on offense.
Arkansas (10-2) led the SEC in total and passing offense this season, while its defense was ninth in the league. The No. 6 Razorbacks were 36th nationally in total defense last season under Robinson but fell to 51st this year.
Haynes said Petrino’s quick-strike offense can make it difficult for defenses to stay fresh at times, which will make it important for Arkansas’ defense to force as many short drives as possible.
“We know that they start fast, we know that they score a lot of points,” Haynes said. “But we’ve got to focus on having a lot of three-and-outs so we’re not on the field to give them opportunities to score more.”
Haynes began looking at video and learning Arkansas’ players over the weekend, and he will coach the Razorbacks over the next month as they prepare to face Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 6. Arkansas will continue to use its current terminology during that time, and the current defensive staff is expected to call plays against the Wildcats (10-2).
After that, it’s Haynes’ show to run — something he relishes the chance of after serving as part of an Ohio State system of calling plays rather than being completely in charge.
“The opportunity to become a defensive coordinator in this conference was huge for me,” Haynes said. “When I got the call from coach Petrino, it was just a matter of talking to my wife, my daughter … It was fast, it was quick, and I’m all-in.”
The Associated Press