Well, that was embarrassing.
I’m an Aggie and that 59-0 beating we took from the Crimson Tide on Saturday was so bad, I think even Longhorn fans were embarrassed for us.
OK, that’s not true; we know that they were laughing at us. Anything to take their attention away from a thrilling three-point win at the gun vs. powerful Iowa State. But hey, the last thing I should be doing is criticizing anyone else’s on-field performance, so I won’t.
No matter if you’re an Aggie, a rival that enjoyed seeing our heads handed to us, or just a casual fan, this was a head-scratcher.
Seriously, how does a roster this talented, the one that walked into South Carolina and beat the Gamecocks by 24 points on opening night, get to this point just seven weeks later? Yeah, yeah, I know – South Carolina hasn’t lived up to its hype but they’re still a decent team.
Saturday was bad. We couldn’t even win halftime since the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band didn’t travel. And of course, our football team didn’t show up either.
The numbers alone were staggering: 602 total yards for the Tide to 172 for the Aggies. Thirty first downs to eight. But the numbers don’t tell the entire story. This Aggies team looked either lost or like they didn’t care. I’d like too think it was the former, but I have no idea. This is a very young football team and truthfully they have just played three of the best teams in the country in as many weeks. But that still does not dismiss a performance like Saturday’s.
A&M Head Coach Kevin Sumlin has a big job in front of him – the most important stretch of his coaching career. Somehow he needs to pick up the pieces and rally this team together and give them a chance to salvage the season, go to a bowl and keep an impressive recruiting class together.
The Aggies have a bye this Saturday, and anyone that knows me is familiar with one of my favorite joke lines, “The bye is favored by three.” That’s not really true in this case however; I think the bye should be favored by at least a touchdown after that performance at Alabama.
Nonetheless, the bye week, followed by a home game vs. Louisiana-Monroe, couldn’t come at a better time. Sumlin needs to get radical with this team and take off the kid gloves. All jobs should be completely open, including the quarterback.
Kenny Hill came out in that South Carolina game and set the A&M all-time record for yards in a game with 511. It may have been the worst thing to happen to this team. Sumlin stated that the fall camp competition was incredibly close, with top national QB recruit Kyle Allen staying right there with Hill. The plan was to continue the quarterback competition afterwards with Lamar, Rice and SMU on the schedule. Sumlin had no choice but to scrap any possible competition after Hill’s great performance at Carolina.
The truth is Hill is merely a sophomore and is still growing. Sumlin does not have the luxury of a veteran QB on this roster. Drops by the wide receivers became an issue vs. Arkansas and big-time at Mississippi State. Hill does not show the same confidence he seemed to play with in game one. Maybe it’s time Sumlin opened up that competition again. For many reasons.
The other problem is that no matter who is in the backfield, someone needs to block for them. This O-line has regressed rather than improved. Many say this team misses Johnny Manziel. Maybe they miss NFL talents Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews and Patrick Lewis more.
And don’t get me started on the defense. We may never see the Wrecking Crew return to Kyle Field. At this point, I’d settle for simply a crew that isn’t an absolute wreck. There’s some young talent but it needs time to grow.
The next three weeks are incredibly vital for Sumlin’s Aggies, prior to playing at Auburn on Nov. 8. This team has the talent to win its remaining home games (vs. ULM, Mizzou and LSU) and finish 8-4, but it’s going to take a very quick about-face.
If Sumlin has earned anything so far in his two-plus seasons as head coach, it’s patience by the fans and time to fix this. But clearly the honeymoon is over. And Aggies everywhere are watching.
Let’s hope that none of them put wagers on the bye this week. I think the line on that just moved to eight.