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ARLINGTON -- While Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was drawing lots of headlines during AT&T Cotton Bowl week, so were the two coaches.

That's because Texas A&M Head Coach Kevin Sumlin and Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops have a relationship that started 10 years ago.

"Kevin has a done a great job there," Stoops said. "I congratulate him on a great year."

"We're excited to be here, and looking forward to Friday," Sumlin said.

Stoops hired Sumlin as the Sooners special teams and tight ends coach in 2003. They ve been across the field from each other before, but this will be the first time they face each other as head coaches.

"He has a way, and I ve said, he's really brought attitude, I believe, to his team," Stoops said. "I thought when he was us, be brought that attitude in his relationship with the players to get them to compete at a high level."

Sumlin was highly complementary of his former superior.

"I think the expectation level of everybody - starting with [Stoops] - of everyone in the building -- coaches, players, is a big, big factor at Oklahoma," Sumlin said, "and it starts with the head coach."

But it's not all love.

Both coaches have been known to be on the recruiting trail of some of the same players and some media members have even accused the two coaches of stealing players from each other during the recruiting season.

"Business is business," Stoops said. "I mean, we're still friends, but you've got to your job, so as long as we're not doing anything unethical. We understand that that's just the completive world we live in."

Sumlin agreed.

"Like you said, as long as you re not doing anything unethical, you're friends," he said. "It's like playing golf. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. You might get upset a little bit, but you're going to come back and do it. That's just the way it is."

There was certainly no tension between the Sumlin and Stoops, only respect. They remain good friends and have even been known to share a dinner together from time to time.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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