Aggie Football is even more directionless now than it was six days ago, as difficult as that may seem to comprehend. More QB substituting, choppy execution, drastically crippling penalties, and a regression in the toughness up front on both lines of scrimmage are just a few of the key ingredients that made up this burnt, misshapen, bitter cupcake we just grudgingly devoured.
This team has too many failed overall trajectories (spanning back weeks, months, years even) to attempt to sanely recount here, and all have plummeted miserably in the early days of this football season. Weak spots and soft points and disappointments that snowball and gain ferocious momentum and slide downhill until this avalanche of unfulfilled expectations has become so commonplace we hardly notice it. The only thing that has been made abundantly clear to us in the first eight quarters of football in 2017 is that this team at times seems equal parts frail, confident, timid, aggressive, lost, and most of all, bewildering. There is not a quick-fix band-aid solution for this team at this point. The inner workings of it are far more cluttered and in need of overhaul than most could have previously imagined.
It’s been said before, but this team is soft. There is no fire; no get-back-up-and-in-your-face. When the team is kicked they simply wander around looking confused. It’s as if whichever crucial linchpin was holding this massive, powerful machine all together has been pulled and without it the remaining components simply bump into each other harmlessly. Whether or not that key element was Starkel or whether it goes back even further to players and coaches who left years ago is anyone’s guess. We’ve been coasting on fumes and reputation for quite some time, but now the cards are all on the table. This is not a good football team right now.
This is not going to be a quick fix turnaround of a season. This team is bad, and showed no signs of any ability to not remain bad for the foreseeable future. Instead of a confidence boost, the outing against Nicholls created even more questions, and should serve as a harsh wake-up, harsher even than the second half collapse against UCLA in some ways.
Flashes of brightness were instantly erased by foolish penalties. Huge chunks of yardage negated. And of course, as they do when faced with any adversity, the team folded and could not overcome even these procedural hurdles against an FCS squad. A potential first-and-goal on a long pass play became a punt a few snaps later because of a rare holding call on Christian Kirk. Hubenak repeatedly getting pressured and sacked by three rushers. Things like this (that should be surmountable when momentum is rolling) turn into brick walls, both physically and mentally.
There is no telling if this result will even register on the collective consciousness or serve as motivation for players and coaches. If the UCLA fiasco couldn’t get the team fired up for their first home game, there’s no sense in trying to imagine what else possibly could. Optimism is a good thing, but even the most ardent of sunshine pumpers have to be grasping at straws to find too much to be excited about after tonight’s game.
We’ve faced uncertainty before plenty of times, but this is the first time in recent years where success has seemed so far out of reach. This could be a very long football season with very few answers. Let’s hope not, but hoping hasn’t done much for us lately.
Gig ‘Em and BTHO ULaLa, we guess.