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Sumlin opposes mentor Stoops in Cotton Bowl

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Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 6:30 p.m.

IRVING, Texas — Before Kevin Sumlin became a successful head coach at Houston and Texas A&M, he learned plenty during five seasons and two national championship game appearances on Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma.

The two coaches will be on the opposite sidelines Friday night in the Cotton Bowl.

Stoops and the Sooners this season earned a share of their eighth Big 12 title, and would have almost certainly been in a Bowl Championship Series game if not for BCS-busting Northern Illinois. With Heisman Trophy-winning freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, Sumlin and the Aggies won 10 games in the coach's first season, and their first year in the SEC.

“You can see it, what he's doing now, he's an incredibly bright coach. I knew that,” Stoops said Wednesday. “Competitive, great worker, and I think what Kevin, the best thing he brings to A&M is the way he relates to his players, and players love playing for him.”

Sumlin was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M in 2002 when the Aggies upset the top-ranked and undefeated Sooners in College Station, derailing Oklahoma's shot at a second national title in three years. Sumlin was hired after that season by Stoops.

After two years as co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, Sumlin got his first head coaching job. He won 35 games in four seasons at Houston, which was 12-0 and on track for a BCS appearance in 2011 before losing in the Conference USA title game.

Texas A&M hired him the next week.

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