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Midweek Musings: Current Aggie Fanhood in Three Sections

I'm in an introspective place. Come join me and let's be introspective together. (with Editor's Footnotes)

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

I'm recovering emotionally from this weekend and I've got three points for discussion that I need your help processing through:

SECTION I: Being a Fan

I went to bed Saturday night despondent. Woke up Sunday equally despondent...but by the end of the day Sunday I had moved on. Not necessarily moving on in the sense of "hey that didn't matter" but moving on towards the next game and still thinking that my 8-4 goal for this year is still attainable. That we can still hit our goals...I've even had moments of optimism over the past three days.

What is wrong with me, y'all? I've tried to dig into scholarly literature on fan behavior to understand why I feel this way, and why I have any faith left over after this Saturday's debacle, but I can't find anything. I'm seeing things on fandom being equated to a secular religion, and then there's this quote from Cottingham (2012):

"With collective effervescence and emotional energy embodied in group symbols, a group's level of solidarity is no longer solely dependent on specific sports-related moments of high intensity ritual"(pg. 181)....*

I take that to mean that despite a loss, nothing will make me less of a fan of Texas A&M and being a fan of A&M means being optimistic? Maybe I'm just a glass half full person even when it turns out that the glass is full of bleach**.

*{Full citation: Cottingham, M.D. (2012). Interaction ritual theory and sports fans: Emotion, symbols, and solidarity. Sociology of Sport Journal (29), 168-185.}

**citation needed

SECTION II: On our Coaches

Telco did a good job of summarizing yesterday's press conference***. I was somewhat encouraged by Sumlin taking full ownership of the debacle and providing insight into what was going to change. I don't have the blind faith that I had in Sumlin a week ago, but I do feel confident in his ability to fix the issues plaguing our team.

Similarly Spav, I think, did an ok job of accepting blame. Here's my thing with our offense: the formations are great, but we are completely unimaginative with them. We are predictable and do a poor job of self scouting. I hope that gets fixed.

But Snyder's comments really bothered me. Specifically the following three comments (h/t to for the transcription)

When asked about tackling:

"The rules have changed so much — how many days you're allowed to tackle, where you can hit a quarterback. We try to tackle as much as we can. Then there's not getting your guys banged up and getting them to Saturday. In camp you're only allowed to tackle every other day; it makes it harder each and every year to get fundamentals down."

Seriously? Pointing to the changing rules as to why tackling is an issue?

On Amari Cooper:

"We knew when they won the toss and took the ball was that something was up.

Hold on here. Just hold on for one second. The reason I need you to hold on for a second is because Bama won the toss two years ago and took the ball. Nothing "was up" that's just what they do against us. Why were you surprised by that?

Their plan was to take Amari away from Deshazor in the boundary and put him in the field. They learned that from Arkansas. We had two-eight (No. 28 Victor Davis) out there. They put their best guy on our new guy. That's good coaching.

Had there been a camera around me when he said this the world would have been gifted another face palm gif. It's good coaching for them to try and gain a competitive advantage? No that's not "good" coaching. "Good" coaching indicates that they did something above expectation. Them putting Cooper on Davis is just plain basic coaching. That's the most basic thing ever. I don't know a damn thing about football and I would have done the same thing. That doesn't make me a "good" coach.

Maybe I'm taking these out of context or scrutinizing them too much, but man those were frustrating to hear.

***{Wait, are we citing our own articles now? That's pretty awesome.}

SECTION III: Attrition

I was on twitter**** yesterday, and someone asked me if I was concerned with the way we performed given that Sumlin's now got "his" players in the system...and that he should have a group of upperclassmen leading the bunch. But one thing that kept sticking out to me is the amount of attrition (some healthy, some unhealthy) that this team has faced. So let's take a look at the players we've lost:


DB Otis Jacobs
DB Kenneth Marshall
DE Polo Manukainiu (RIP)
DT Edmund Ray (never made it to campus)
LB Michael Richardson
LB Jordan Richmond
OL Kimo Tipoti
WR Derel Walker
WR Thomas Johnson

Jacobs and Walker ran out of eligibility, but even without them that's 8/19 gone.


DB Kam Miles
DE Jordan Points
DT Isaiah Golden
LB Darian Claiborne
OL Ishmael Wilson
QB Kohl Stewart
WR Sebastian Larue
WR JaQuay Williams

So in two years that's 16 players gone. 16 out of 51. That's not good and has impacted the field of play. Regardless of our flawed defensive scheme, having guys like Claiborne, Golden, Miles, Richardson etc out there would have helped. Similarly, can you imagine having Thomas Johnson as a junior lining up along side Malcome?

I'm not trying to make excuses here. Just illustrating where some of our problems have come from.

****F-ck me, what kind of academic paper is this, string?


I still think 8 wins is possible. I think it's absolutely possible for us to go 3-1 down the stretch. I think it's probable we go 2-2. Which (according to Vegas) is us meeting expectations (even thought it seems like we're doing just the opposite).

What are your thoughts? Pull up a chair and be introspective with me.