- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - When No. 17 Texas A&M and Nevada meet on Saturday it will be the first time Aggies’ coach Kevin Sumlin will face one of his former assistants who has become a head coach.

With Wolf Pack coach Brian Polian in town, Sumlin said he has appreciated watching his coaching tree grow.

“Think that helps attract quality people to your program and create an atmosphere that is conducive to creating head coaches,” Sumlin said. “Something I got from working with Bob Stoops for years. Something we take pride in. Got guys here now that that’s going to continue to happen. Challenge is to replace talent with talent just like it is with your team.”

But he doesn’t particularly enjoy competing against former members of his staff.

“You don’t like playing those guys but that’s all part of it,” Sumlin said. “More you’re in the business you’re playing guys that are your friends. That’s never easy, whatever happens. Always winner and loser.”

Polian was Texas A&M’s special teams coordinator and tight ends coach in 2012 in Sumlin’s first year at the school. He told reporters that he learned a lot in his short time with Sumlin and that he’s looking forward to the matchup even though his team is more than 30-point underdogs.

Earlier this week, Polian was fined $10,000 by his own school after he was called for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during Saturday’s 44-20 loss to Arizona. Athletic director Doug Knuth called the third-year coach’s behavior unacceptable and out of line with university standards.

Sumlin said the two of them texted earlier this week and joked about their plans for Saturday.

“He texted me Sunday night and said: ‘I’ll huddle if you’ll huddle,’” Sumlin said. “I said: ‘We’ll huddle on kickoffs and punts.’ Don’t think (I got) much of a response after that.”

Some things to know about the Nevada-Texas A&M game, just the second meeting between the teams and the first since Sept. 23, 1950, when the Aggies won 48-18 in San Antonio:


Texas A&M freshman Christian Kirk is off to a great start just two games into his career with the Aggies. He leads the team with 10 receptions for 149 yards. He had a 79-yard return for a touchdown in the season-opener and returned one 56 yards last week.


The Aggies have won 18 straight nonconference games, which is the longest active streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Aggies haven’t lost a nonconference game since a loss to Arkansas in 2011 when they were in the Big 12. Texas A&M will begin Southeastern Conference play next week against the Razorbacks in Arlington, Texas.


Despite a 2-0 record, Sumlin knows that his team needs to get better before jumping into conference play next week.

“We need to be more consistent as a football team,” he said. “What I’m interested to see is improvement from our guys from a consistency standpoint to see if we can play at that level and to see if we can play like we did in first half again this week. And the improvement from other guys we’re counting on from a depth standpoint, so there’s not a drop off.”


Nevada’s Hasaan Henderson had six receptions for 58 yards last week to reach 1,023 yards in his career. The junior started his college career as a quarterback when he redshirted in 2012. After that he switched to receiver is now one of the top receiving threats in the Mountain West conference.


Texas A&M receiver Speedy Noil was dealing with an undisclosed injury that caused him to miss much of fall camp. Now he’s getting better, the Aggies are looking for him to build on his solid 2014 season when he had 583 yards receiving with five touchdowns.

“As he gets healthier he’s really accelerating and doing some things,” Sumlin said. “Two impressive blocks he made on punts. Effort without getting the ball has improved from last year. Look for him to get better every week as he gets healthier.”

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