Bruce Feldman recently broke the news about Kevin Sumlin's contract extension. Before that, he wrote an incredible behind-the-scenes piece about Sumlin's program in the week leading up to the Alabama game, and he was kind enough to do our podcast afterward. We're grateful that he agreed to answer a few more questions now that A&M's second season in the SEC is nearly wrapped up.
Good Bull Hunting: What was the reception to your A&M all-access article?
Bruce Feldman: I was surprised just how many people read it. I knew I had some great material, but it was also almost a 7000-word story and I figured a bunch of people wouldn't have the time to invest in that, but that wasn't the case. I think the coolest thing I noticed was the feedback from a lot more than just A&M and Alabama fans.
Have you noticed a larger contingent of Aggies following your work now?
BF: Yes, I have noticed that. I've spent a bunch of time around College Station in the last two years and with the way things have gone with Johnny Manziel and Kevin Sumlin, it's been a lot to cover.
GBH: You broke the news about Coach Sumlin's contract extension on Twitter last weekend amid the ongoing Sumlin-to-USC rumors. What do you think his reasons are for staying at A&M?
BF: I was there late in the summer and remember meeting up with him and pretty much the entire staff who were out for dinner and Sumlin showed me on a tablet a 5-minute video of the Kyle Field update. It was really impressive. The other thing is I think his family really likes it around College Station and the environment they have with their A&M family.
GBH: Are you surprised by the timing of the news or by his decision to stay?
BF: I wasn't sure what he was going to do. I'd heard he was USC's top candidate and for as many reasons I think there were for him to stay, you could find them to go to SC also. But as I reported over the weekend, I think it's also significant that this will be a deal where it doesn't just mean he's not going to USC, but that he's also not going to the NFL this winter either.
GBH: Do Aggies have any reason to still be worried about Sumlin leaving for the NFL in the near-term?
BF: From my understanding probably not at least for the next few years.
GBH: Sumlin has put together a top 5 2014 recruiting class so far, and continues to pick up commits despite recent on-field struggles. What makes Coach Sumlin and his staff such effective recruiters?
BF: He's charismatic and he's current. He's not some older coach who players can't relate to. He's also got a good energetic group of coaches there and people saw right away last year, he knows exactly what he's doing.
GBH: What is Coach Sumlin's relationship like with leaders in A&M's Athletic Department?
BF: I think from some of the bonds he's built back when he was an RC Slocum assistant, he's got a good base of support from some heavy hitters there.
GBH: Many Aggies are disappointed with the 8-4 season after last year's surprise 11-2 finish in the inaugural SEC season. What are your thoughts about the trajectory of the A&M Football program?
BF: They just didn't really have the personnel on defense and that cost them. There's some good young defensive players in the program, but they're really young.
GBH: Have you ever regretted responding to someone on Twitter? What have you learned about handling all the negativity that can come from social interaction?
BF: That's a good question. I'm sure I have but nothing specific comes to mind right now. I went a few years on Twitter without blocking anyone. Then, I thought about it and I'm like , 'If you're disrespectful, go bother someone else.' Life's too short to waste time on jackasses.
GBH: What advice would you give to an aspiring author about handling social mediums?
BF: In terms of social media, use all of it because it can help you promote your work to get in front of more people.
GBH: Who are your top 10 Twitter follows?
BF: I'm sure I'm going to leave a bunch of people out, but even though I follow a lot of college football coaches and players. I'd say MovetheSticks (Daniel Jeremiah, an ex NFL scout); Chris Fallica, JayBilas, Eric Adelson, SLMandel, Dennis Dodd, Andy Staples, Pete Thamel. Mort Report. And since Johnny doesn't tweet any more I'll say Conner McQueen.
GBH: Who is the most compelling person in college football that you have had the opportunity to cover?
GBH: Last question: what is your favorite part of your job?
BF: All of it except the travel. I love the games. I feel invested in college football and the stories around it but I really love the games.