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Gene Stallings’ criticisms of Kevin Sumlin: fair or not?

The former Texas A&M coach took issue with the current coach’s handling of a few situations.

NCAA Football: Florida at Alabama Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The former Texas A&M player, coach, board of regents member, and Alabama coach was critical of the current regime in college station on a radio call-in show recently.

Listen to the audio here.

Chief among Stallings’ grievances were the handling of Johnny Manziel’s transgressions in college station, the Chalk Talk fiasco, and his displeasure with how coaches handled his grandson’s recruiting visit.

Let’s break those down

  • Manziel: Stallings in particular mentioned Johnny’s token half-game suspension for the Rice game in the 2013 opener as an example of how leniency allowed Manziel to run amok. This in particular seems like a bit of a cheapshot with the massive benefit of three years of hindsight. Remember at the time, Manziel had not violated any team rules. These were vague and foreboding NCAA allegations and Sumlin suspended him for a half just to sort of toss them a bone. Could Sumlin have been a harsher disciplinarian with Manziel during his time at A&M? Absolutely. Would it have hindered his performance? Again, with the benefit of hindsight, probably so.
  • Chalk Talk: I’m with Stallings on this one. Fair or not, the buck stops with the head coach, and after the Moorehead tweeting fiasco, he’s got to keep his staff on a tight leash. Not to suggest that our head coach needs to proofread every single slide, but he’s got to at least get someone within the athletic department to do some kind of screening when his staff is doing public speaking. It’s such an easy thing to prevent and we really need to shore this up. Sumlin is too savvy to keep letting this happen.
  • J.C. Chalk: This one is not as cut and dried as "my grandson wanted to go to A&M but the coaches didn’t recruit him well." According to 247, J.C. Chalk was a hard Clemson commit well before A&M started recruiting him, and the visit was more than likely out of courtesy. But again, no one knows what really happened during his visit other than the recruit and the coaches, so maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle like it usually does.

Overall, he’s voicing the same concerns that many of us have: if we’re not winning big, we at least need to be doing the little things right. It’s a legitimate concern that has been building now for a few years. The answer is so simple, yet it seems at times to be the hardest thing in the world. Coach Stallings summed it up perfectly with his closing comment:

So I think they need clean up the act and get on the right road and coach football and have a good year.

OK. Let’s do it.