After disappointing back-to-back defeats, Texas A&M has all but bowed out of the race for the SEC West, and with that the college football playoff. The 23-3 loss to Ole Miss was a glimpse into some of the dysfunction that is surrounding the program this year as once again the Aggies are failing to win the big games after a promising start.
But is Texas A&M football falling apart?
Following the defeat, stories have surfaced about head coach Kevin Sumlin losing the trust of his players over his handling of Kyler Murray during the game. John P. Lopez from CBS Houston says the team has lost trust in Sumlin after he told Kyler Murray he would be dressing for the Ole Miss game but wouldn’t play, regardless of how the game went. This was after he was seen to swear at offensive co-ordinator Jake Spavital after he threw an interception against Alabama and was pulled from the game.
This adds to the issue that Sumlin is believed to have made promises to Kyler Murray and his dad Kevin over playing time to convince him to come to College Station over playing for rival Texas. Many players didn’t approve of Murray being benched with Kyle Allen struggling so much in Saturday’s game. Its reported that Sumlin will have his hands full in trying to regain the trust in the locker room, and to keep this promising season from disintegrating entirely.
Elsewhere, for all the criticism of the Aggies defense last year and in the off-season, they have played very well so far. They only gave up 20 points to Alabama as the offense gave away three touchdowns off interception returns; and they battled well at Ole Miss despite the offense going nowhere. Ironically it’s the Aggies’ offense that is in need of major improvements; and the criticism currently is of Jake Spavital.
The running game was non-existent once again as Tra Carson battled for just 48 yards on 14 carries so it put the entire offence on the back of a banged up Kyle Allen. Throughout the entire game, Kyle Allen looked lost and completely overmatched, but he should have been benched earlier in the game. The receivers didn’t help as they struggled to find any separation against a tough Ole Miss defense. The Aggies air raid scheme is really struggling to get key receivers like Christian Kirk and Josh Reynolds the ball in space, a key function of the entire system. Saturday’s game was what an air raid offense looks like when nothing goes right and you’re quickly going three and out, putting huge pressure on the defense.
The Aggies have some winnable games coming up as they face South Carolina and Auburn at home before Vanderbilt away with FCS opponent West Carolina sandwiched in-between. This is a team that is more than capable of winning nine games in the regular season this year, but only if the team has full confidence in head coach Kevin Sumlin and rest of the coaches. How they perform against South Carolina will be a big indicator into how the final five games go.