A day that started off with so much promise ended up with a resounding thud. Win this game and we are still very much in the hunt for the SEC west. Ever since Auburn and South Carolina went downhill, this was a 3 game season: Alabama, Ole Miss, and LSU. Win all three and you're in the national title game. Win 2 and you're playing for the SEC West. Win 1 and you show some promise. Win none and you have the most unsatisfying 9-ish win season in our program's history and you go into the offseason wondering if you really can get it done in 2016 like you've been hoping.
Let's start off with the positives. Armani Watts is a star. He's not a budding star or a future star, he's a damn star. 20+ tackles on a night spent cleaning up a huge mess. In fact, the entire defense played their asses off. A&M created 4 turnovers and lost by 20. Two weeks in a row, the Aggie defense has seemingly done enough to win the game.
Let's jump right into the mess shall we? The Aggie offense is a mishmash of schemes, personnel, and philosophies. Are we HUNH? Are we just a generic spread? What exactly are we on offense? It seems like our main goal on offense is to just try to get the ball in our playmakers' hands and let them make something happen... which is fine when playing teams with lesser talent, but not okay when playing teams like Ole Miss and Alabama whose defensive talent is equal to or better than A&M's offensive talent. A&M's system and personnel are simply flawed.
We can talk all day about a porous offensive line and lack of a running attack, but a good scheme can render both of those moot. Responsibility for the scheme falls squarely on one person... and it's frustrating to see the same ineffectiveness week in and week out.
Secondly, we have an issue with personnel management. There are rumors flying around as to why we didn't see Kyler. I don't really want to address them until we know more. But at the same time, when we know that Kyle seems injured, why the hell don't the Aggies bring in Jake Hubenak earlier in the game when only down 13? Why do they let a clearly ineffective QB keep flinging the ball woefully downfield when we damn well know what's going to happen?
This game was a microcosm of almost the entire season. Texas A&M has mismanaged QBs all season long. They put Kyler in as a change of pace but don't give him the entire offense nor do they give him enough time to actually settle into a rhythm. The coaches are not happy with Kyle, but we don't want to commit to the alternative.
I think that Sumlin sees himself as a CEO type coach... hire the right people to do their jobs and get out of their way. I think he got it exactly right with John Chavis. I think he needs to do the same with the offense... and in the interim he needs to take the reigns as primary play caller and make this offense do what he wants it to do. And in order to do that he needs to take primary responsibility over personnel decisions.
I have faith in this team. I still have faith in Kevin Sumlin. This is the perfect week to tailor the offense to Kyler Murray's strengths and let him have the entire game against a struggling South Carolina team in an effort to save the rest of the season. The question here is--why are we doing this again? Why are we talking about a mid-season benching again? Why on earth is history repeating itself?
Beats me, folks. Gotta say one thing... Aggie Football is rarely boring and uninteresting like it was tonight. We have another critical week where the entire team–coaches and players alike–have to figure out not only what their plan is for the rest of the season, but how exactly they're going to execute it.
BTHO South Carolina