I’ve been writing these post-games for a long time. I love Texas A&M football. Genuinely love this program.
But I had to turn this game off at the end of the third because this game was just this season in a nutshell. I’ve been following it on my phone with the stats and honestly I dont know what’s worse, watching it or following it.
Sure there was bad luck with missing 20+ players due to flu, suspension, and injury but much like the rest of the year that’s one issue that this team perhaps proved it was able to overcome. The issue is coaching. The issue is offensive and defensive coordination. The issue is poor management of a football program from top to bottom. The issue is Jimbo Fisher.
Let’s break it down
I have a theory that Jimbo trusts Haynes king so much that, this season, he’s given him RPO schemes where King can evaluate the box and make the call as to whether he wants to hand off to Achane and when he wants to throw the ball. Haynes wants to throw the ball. He trusts his arm, so he decides to throw the ball—as evidenced by 6/8 of our first plays against South Carolina, a team pretty poor against the run, being pass plays.
Early in this game, Haynes knew he was injured and ended up running the ball. We were very successful, racking up 123 yards on the ground and 184 in the air. We ran to set up the pass and it worked quite well. Achane was eating up yards and Moss was a great balance to him.
Going into the half I had a glimmer of hope. We’d managed the middle 8 pretty well to that point, and figured that if we could just get points to start the half maybe we could put the game away.
In the second half, both Haynes and Jimbo saw Hayne’s s statline and got confident about throwing the ball and decided to get rid of the run game altogether, which was a disaster.
On drive 1 we went two runs and a pass. On drive 2 we went 4 straight passes. On drive 3 we went 3 straight passes.
We didn't give the ball to Achane or Moss, who were eating up yards and had several plays where we went pass pass pass and drop.
And then we got behind and Jimbo and Haynes started pressing and we just did the same shit we’ve done all season where it becomes the Jimbo and Haynes show.
Haynes king isn't the guy for this offense. That’s fine. But he and Jimbo are a terrible combination because Jimbo trusts Haynes King to be the guy for this offense and gives him more leeway than he might another QB. An issue of mismanagement.
Make no mistake. This game was winnable even with Haynes. But we couldn't get it done.
On the heels of giving up close to 400 rushing yards last week against Ole Miss, we gave up 250+ against Florida. The recipe to beat us is pretty simple. Just run the dang ball. Our front 6/7 isn't good enough to stop the run and our back 4/5 are talented but young and depleted (at one point we were playing a walk-on linebacker at nickel) so if you get there then you already got 7 yards and it’s over. What can you do about that?
I’m going to go a little easier on Durkin because he took Ole Miss from the 80s in SP+ his first year to the 30s in year two. Maybe we’ll see progress. And a lot of it is execution stuff with players just being unable to make tackles and whatnot.
But at some point, given that we are 3-6 and staring down bowl-less season in the face, the coaches HAVE to realize that a lack of execution is directly attributable to their lack of performance.
None of these coaches are getting the job done—none of them. I’d go as far as to say that none of the football staff, from coaches to recruiting to maybe even S&C are getting the job done right now. And it’s frustrating to watch.
This team is incredibly young and inexperienced and incredibly talented. This might be the rawest most talented roster we’ve had in my lifetime. But they are really poorly coordinated and certain positions are really poorly coached.
A 3-6 season warrants significant change. It would potentially warrant a change at the head coaching position, but that doesn't seem reasonable given the contract we are in. But I damn sure expect Jimbo to make wholescale systemic changes to get this program back to just a good place. I’m not even asking to be great. I’m asking to just be good. It’s all on him right now. None of this bullshit about suspensions, injuries, illness whatever. None of it. This team is good enough to win these games.
And yet we still aren't getting the job done.