Thursday, 9 November 2017

Sumlin's Time Slipping in Texas

When Johnny Manziel broke on to the College Football landscape and sport mainstream during his Heisman winning season in 2012, it was not just Manziel who was shouting loudest from College Station. Manziel had at the helm a much admired coach who was at the start of his career also in charge of a fledgling program hoping to make noise in a big state and stepping into a new conference power, the SEC.

2012 which included the Texas A&M Aggies famously defeating Alabama in Tuscaloosa 29-24, a game that led to Manziel's Heisman procession and an eventual Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma finishing with a 11-2 record.

Since then, the Aggies have not matched the much vaunted expectations that the inaugural season did, although 2013 was a 9-4 record and another classic versus Alabama. The team could not cope with the clamour for Johnny Football who although he had a greater season in terms of throwing statistics he had more interceptions yet less rushing touchdowns.  They won a Bowl game, but Manziel left for the NFL as did star wide receiver Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and from there Sumlin has struggled.

Following a 20-6 record for the first two seasons, the Aggies school invested $500m to develop Kyle Field and $10m for the coaching staff including a huge extension for Sumlin himself.  The Aggies currently sit 5-4 in the SEC West and were thoroughly dismantled 41-27 by Auburn at the weekend, leaving them scratching for a Bowl game with games remaining at home to New Mexico and two road trips to Ole Miss and LSU.

Kyle Field Panorama.jpg

The SEC year on year appears to be a race of who will finish second to dominant Alabama, yet Georgia have showed the potential in good recruiting and good coaching, coupled with consistent offence.

The Aggies have not built upon the brand of Johnny Football in terms of quality although Myles Garrett was the Overall first round pick, there should be a stream of talent to rival that of Alabama or Miami in recent years to have a revolving door of potential coming through College Station.

Sumlin must take the fall for an under par season which started poorly in the first game on the road at UCLA where they gave up a 34 point lead to lose 45-44 to Josh Rosen; they then won four straight wins the best being a 24-17 home victory over a now 4-3 South Carolina Gamecocks; before an inevitable home loss to Alabama although they kept it respectable in a 27-19 loss.  However the losses to Auburn and Mississippi State have put more questions with less answers forthcoming from Sumlin.

With those three games remaining and a .500 record looking a distinct possibility, fans where hopeful of more but instead got more shortcomings and the type of play not expected from the Aggies, who unfortunately where in the headlines for two glorious years but have flattered to deceive since then.

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