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By George Schroeder

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Stress relief sits on a shelf behind the big desk in the spacious office.

“Tickle Here,” says the red button on the stuffed donkey’s stomach. Kevin Sumlin sometimes cannot help himself. He touches the tummy. As the donkey’s ears gyrate, it laughs riotously.

Usually, Sumlin cannot help but laugh, too – which is why one of his daughters gave him the toy.

There’s no way to know how often Texas A&M’s coach has pressed the button in the past six or seven months. He knows his name populates various “hot seat” lists, that 2016 is seen as an important season for the program. Sure, there’s pressure.

“There’s always gonna be that,” Sumlin says. “That’s what this business is about.”

Sumlin smiles as he says it. But he understands that fans are restless after consecutive 8-5 records in seasons that began with high expectations, then fizzled after hot starts.

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