Kevin Sumlin and his Texas A&M Aggies took a blow last week when starting quarterback Kyle Allen announced his intent to transfer from College Station after two seasons. Allen’s decision to transfer led most to believe that former 5-star recruit Kyler Murray would take over as the starter in the Texas A&M offense for next season.
However, things got even worse for the Aggies when Murray also announced that he would be continuing his collegiate career at another school.
Between Allen and Murray, as well as 2014 starting quarterback Kenny Hill, each player to line up under center for the Aggies since the departure of Johnny Manziel has eventually transferred away.
The inability to gain continuity at the quarterback position, along with back to back disappointing finishes to the last two seasons, could possibly have Sumlin sent packing after the Music City Bowl against Louisville.
It wasn’t long ago that Sumlin was being praised as an offensive guru after leading Texas A&M through a successful transition to the SEC. With Manziel as the signal-caller in Sumlin’s offense, Texas A&M led the SEC in total offense in each of its first two seasons in the conference, and the Aggies looked like a team that could be an annual contender in the SEC West.
But the momentum from those first two seasons has virtually vanished since, especially with regards to the quarterback position.
In Hill’s first start in the first game of the post-Manziel era, he threw for over 500 yards against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Aggies began 2014 with a 5-0 start, but eventually, Hill and the rest of the team faltered down the stretch and Texas A&M finished 8-5 with a 3-5 record in conference play.
One of the lone bright spots at the end of 2014 was Allen, who took over the starting job after Hill was suspended midseason and played well down the stretch, including being named MVP of the Liberty Bowl against West Virginia.
In many ways, 2015 has almost been a carbon copy of the 2014 season.
With Allen at the helm, Texas A&M again began the season with a 5-0 start, but for the second consecutive year stumbled down the final stretch of the season, finishing with an 8-4 record. As Allen dealt with nagging injuries in the second half of the year, Murray received the playing time that most would expect a top-rated quarterback recruit to receive, but the injection of Murray didn’t produce different results on the scoreboard for the Aggies.
After consecutive disappointing seasons, some saw 2016 as the year when Sumlin might be put on the hot seat and forced to produce improved results to keep his job. However, the transfers of his top two players at the most important position on the field could mean Sumlin doesn’t even make it to 2016.
It’s typical to see one quarterback transfer away when a quarterback battle finally takes shape. But to see both players decide they no longer want to a part of Sumlin’s system has to be unsettling for Aggies fans.
Sumlin deserves all the blame for how horribly he has handled the situation of having both Allen and Murray on his roster since the beginning, and the final result could not be any worse. He seemed intent on giving both quarterbacks playing time rather than giving one a full vote of confidence, and in the end, neither felt secure enough to want to stick around for another year or two of the same drama.
Sumlin’s reputation as a head coach has always been his expertise on the offensive end, but through four seasons, the only time that expertise has come to fruition in the SEC is when a Heisman Trophy winner was lined up at quarterback.
The two closest things he had to that same kind of talent just walked out the door, and Texas A&M might be wise to show Sumlin the door as well.