“It affected me,” Nwachukwu said, “and I felt like it affected a whole lot of guys on the team.”
Then when the Aggies hit the practice field, Sumlin simulated tough situations. Late-game scenarios. Do-or-die circumstances. He wanted his players to face adversity so they could prove themselves.
The lessons didn't take right away, as Texas A&M had second-half meltdowns in both of its losses that were reminiscent of past seasons.
But the last five games of the season, there were no meltdowns. There were only big wins, including a road upset of then-top-ranked Alabama.
The players credit Sumlin.
“He's changed attitudes a lot,” defensive end Damontre Moore said.
Swope said: “People doubted us, but Coach Sumlin didn't doubt us. He knew we could compete and be competitive at the highest level. He was right.
“We believed in him, and he believed in us.”