- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Jenkins, who will be a senior this fall, is expected to be a major piece of the Aggies' defense. He started six games last year, but recorded 61 tackles and a sack. Jenkins had what many consider a breakout spring and is expected to excel in Texas A&M's new 4-3 defensive scheme at outside linebacker.
Like Jenkins, Matthews played in all 13 of the Aggies' games last year, but made just two starts. He collected 28 tackles, including three for loss and two sacks. He will also compete for one of the starting safety spots.
This is the first disciplinary action Sumlin has taken publicly since he took over for former coach Mike Sherman, and he's making a pretty big statement to his new team. With a defense that lost six starters from a year ago and is changing schemes, Sumlin is taking a chance by sitting two potential starters for at least a game. That game hasn't been determined, but it really doesn't matter which game it is; this defense has to have all of its pieces in place early in order to develop the proper chemistry.
Now, the Aggies are basically playing from behind to start the season. And if these players are suspended for the opener against Louisiana Tech, expect some sort of impact on this defense. Louisiana Tech isn't exactly a pushover and this game isn't exactly in College Station, Texas.
In his first chance to make a point with his team when it came to transgressions made by his players, Sumlin sent a strong message. He's benching two players who could have an impact on a defense that will go through some growing pains and some adjustments this fall as it not only transitions over to the 4-3 but transitions to the SEC.
Sumlin's team isn't getting off on the right foot heading into the season, but Sumlin is by informing his players that there will be consequences for the wrong actions taken by players.
Texas A&M linebacker Steven Jenkins and defensive back Howard Matthews have been suspended one game by coach Kevin Sumlin for violating a team policy.