With former Aggie quarterback Kyle Allen breaking his silence over the reasons he transferred from the program, there has been a lot of talk of the Aggie culture in recent years. He believes the culture that started under Kevin Sumlin in the era of Johnny Manziel is now damaging the team and has led to two mediocre eight win seasons.
The culture at Texas A&M that Allen is referring to is something to the effect of ‘you can do what you want as long as you win on Saturday.’ Johnny Manziel for example was generally allowed to go out and party quite a lot in College Station as long as he attended practices and performed well on Saturdays, which he clearly did. Allen believes that the teams of 2012 and 2013 played hard and partied hard which rubbed off on the team that is in place now. The problem was that after Manziel and the rest of those players left, the culture stuck with a team that got away with things off the field whilst not performing on it. Essentially Allen believes that Kevin Sumlin has lost control of the team without actually saying those exact words.
Now you have to take any statement from a player that has transferred out of the program with a pinch of salt. Clearly the player was not happy, which is why he left, and he is not always going to tell the exact truth as to why he left. In Allen’s case it is clear he did not like battling for the starting job and always felt that the coaches preferred Kyler Murray to him. But that does not mean that Kyle Allen did not have a point about the culture at Texas A&M football.
Now one thing that is often overlooked when people discuss Johnny Manziel, especially since he went pro and had numerous run-ins with the Cleveland Browns as well as the law, was how hard he worked on his game whilst in College Station. The redshirt year that Manziel took, which Allen and Murray didn’t, was crucial in his development as he ran the scout team and the coaches at the time spoke about the huge improvements he made over the course of the year playing against the first team defense.
Without a doubt, 2016 is going to be a pivotal year for Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M. The success with Manziel at quarterback has been worn away by two years with eight wins for a fan base that is starting to expect ten wins every year. If there is a big problem with the culture in College Station then it could be a big task for Sumlin to change that in just one year.
ARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 27: Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Texas A&M Aggies reacts to a play as the Aggies take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in the first half of the Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)