HOOVER, Ala. — Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin previously admitted to speaking with defensive coordinator John Chavis over the phone the day of LSU's Music City Bowl loss to Notre Dame.
The timing of that conversation has been up for debate since.
Someone cleaning Sumlin's pool on Dec. 30, 2014 tweeted that he saw Sumlin on the phone, "hopefully with our new DC!” The tweet was posted less than 30 minutes before kickoff of the Music City Bowl, with Sumlin firing back, "You just lost your job!" 11 minutes after the initial tweet. However, at SEC Media Days on Tuesday, Sumlin said that particular discussion with Chavis did not occur shortly before the Music City Bowl's kickoff.
"That's not true," Sumlin said, adding that Chavis lawsuit against LSU hasn't been a distraction.
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The Aggies officially hired Chavis away from LSU on Feb. 13 after six years with the Tigers. Sumlin, with a smile, admitted LSU's recent success against Texas A&M, which includes four consecutive wins while holding the Aggies to just 17.5 points per game offensively, contributed to the hire.
"We've studied the defense. We get it. We struggled," Sumlin said. "It's a great fit for us and a great fit for him. He was ready for a new challenge. We were in the market, obviously, and here's a guy who's got a tremendous track record in the SEC and recently in the SEC West."
The hire came with some controversy. After giving LSU his 30-day notice Chavis was photographed in January wearing Texas A&M clothing while on a recruiting visit with Kris Boyd. Though he wasn't officially on Texas A&M's staff, an issue with his buyout emerged. Chavis contract with LSU stipulated he needed to wait until 11 months were remaining on his deal to leave without penalty. If Chavis was working elsewhere before Feb. 4 then he would need to owe LSU $400,000 as part of the buyout agreement.
Texas A&M's defense struggled mightily in 2014, ranking 102nd in total defense while averaging 450.8 yards allowed per game. Defending the run was especially problematic as the Aggies gave up 216 rushing yards each outing. Since Chavis jumped on board, Texas A&M senior defensive lineman Julien Obioha said there has been a noticeable spark both mentally and physically.
"The first day he came in he said we're here to win championships," Obioha said. "We're not here to do anything else."