How important was getting leading receiver Jeff Fuller back for a fourth season?
MS: It's very meaningful from a personal standpoint. He's been with me at A&M since I arrived [in 2008]. I remember we had 17 commitments and seven or eight spots left to give. Jeff was the first guy I called.
Is the team still smarting from last year's Cotton Bowl blowout loss?
MS: The general attitude has been very good all off-season. The LSU loss definitely taught us that we haven't arrived just yet. The turning point [is always] in the summer when the players are by themselves and there are no coaches around to motivate them.
SI: YOU'VE MADE TEAM RETREATS AT YOUR HOUSE AN ANNUAL TRADITION. WHY IS THAT SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?
MS: THERE'S A FINE LINE IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL: IT'S A BUSINESS, BUT YOU'RE DEALING WITH MEN AS YOUNG AS 17. THEY HAVE TO SEE YOU AS A REGULAR PERSON—WITH YOUR WIFE AND KIDS—NOT AS A CEO.
Were you able to strike such a personal connection while coaching the Packers?
MS: We used to always have team functions in Green Bay. We wouldn't necessarily go over to my house, but we'd go bowling or golfing or paintballing.