Month: December 2008

What I Love About Tommy Tubberville

First off, let me state I have no inside knowledge of the current Tubberville situation and only know what I’ve read on websites (credible and not).  I think I have enough information to know that Tubs called out the Auburn administration.  I personally think the Auburn administration was going behind his back again to see what coaches were interested.  I think Tubs realized this and said something to the effect of, “Screw this.  If you don’t want me just give my $6 million and lets move on as you’re not running me off so let’s just get this over with.”  I don’t think the Auburn administration had any intention of letting him go until they knew what coach(es) they could get.  I really think Tubs forced their hand .  Kudos to Tubs for getting out of the mess and most importantly not letting his players dangle in the wind because the Auburn administration is acting like a cheating spouse hitting on other coaching candidates.  Plus, Tubs just got a $6 million lottery ticket that he bought last season.

By all accounts I think Auburn wants Muschamp or Leach while checking on that old flame Bobby Petrino.  I don’t think Petrino is stupid enough to leave an Arkansas program he just joined after all of his drama last season.  Plus, his team was getting better as the season wore on so I don’t think he’d wants to go through another adjustment year.

As for Muschamp, his wife is an Auburn alum but he was just named the “Coach in Waiting” in Austin.  I think it’s obvious that title was given just because Mack and Co. knew the interest in Muschamp was so high and they didn’t want to establish a crazy benchmark for paying a standard DC.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Muschamp as I know his wife enjoys living in Austin but she did go to Auburn and he coached there.

Then there’s Leach.  He’s obviously interested in UW and by some reports, his agent indicated Leach and Tech haven’t had any discussions related to an extension.  My guess is Myers has told Leach and his agent that they want to extend him but haven’t officially extended him anything.  My guess is the agent’s thoughts are that until there’s an extension on the table discussions can’t really take place.  Sounds like a good agent when other programs have interest.  All things equal I think Auburn loses out to UW for a guy like Leach.  He seems more like a West Coast guy and I could see him living in Seattle.  Not saying he won’t take Auburn over Tech but I think he’d prefer UW over Auburn because Leach knows he can be successful anywhere.

If Auburn misses on Leach or Muschamp I have no idea who they get.

My prediction – They money whip Will Muschamp just like Bama did with Nick Saban.  They’ll fall on their face for a week or two and then just offer so much money to Muschamp that he can’t turn it down.

Back to Tubs – This guy played this thing perfectly.  According to reports from last season , A&M was going to make a serious run at him.  Auburn stepped in and gave him that big extension with the $6 million buyout to help prevent his leaving which worked because A&M backed down and hired Sherman.  One year later Tubs calls the Auburn administration on the carpet because they’re flirting again and got his $6 million lottery ticket.  Now he doesn’t have to deal with the drama of wondering every year what’s going to happen with his job.  He’s got enough confidence he knows he can go somewhere and probably do well.  Tubs is about as solid as they come from a coaching standpoint.

I still also believe that Auburn was flirting with Petrino last season.  I think the Auburn admin thought they could get Petrino again and Tubs would be happy going to A&M so Tubs could just be let go with no penalty for Auburn.  At some point Petrino got cold feet and Auburn freaked because Tubs could be leaving so they gave him that extension because it looked like Petrino wasn’t coming back to college.  Two weeks later Petrino had a change of heart related to the NFL and wound up at Arkansas.  Auburn was miffed because Arky had Petrino and they were stuck with poor old Tubs.  I personally think had A&M extended out their search for a couple of weeks then Tubs would be in Aggieland and Petrino would be in Auburn.  Tubs wanted out last year and Auburn wanted Petrino but Petrino was the only one that was uncertain when the pieces needed to fall.

Whatever is really going on it’s just good drama and Tubs is a richer man without the headache this morning.  That’s why I love the man.

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Early 2009 Texas A&M Football Predictions

Attainable Results:

New Mexico – Win
Utah State – Win
UAB – Win
Arkansas – Loss
Ok. State – Loss
KSU – Win
Texas Tech – Loss
ISU – Win
CU – Win
OU – Loss
BU – Loss
Texas – Loss

I think the Baylor and Colorado games are interchangeable as I could see us winning in Boulder but we haven’t really done so in the past.  I can see us beating Baylor but I’m not sure.  Either way, I don’t see any reason why Sherm should go less than 6-6.  Anything less (and it’s completely possible) and he should be dismissed in year 2.  His first three games at home are gimmees as are his conference games with KSU and ISU so that’s five wins in his pocket.  I know no games are gimmees with A&M football anymore but in his second year there’s no excuse to lose any of these five games if we’re going to get this thing turned around.  He should be able to find one win in the other 7 if he’s truly going to be great here.

I personally think he goes 6-6 in 2008 and get his third year at the helm.

Outstanding Season:

New Mexico – Win
Utah State – Win
UAB – Win
Arkansas – Win
Ok. State – Loss
KSU – Win
Texas Tech – Loss
ISU – Win
CU – Win
OU – Loss
BU – Win
Texas – Loss

That’s 8-4 with losses to his Big 12 South counterparts except for Baylor.  Completely attainable in my mind.  Personally, I think this should be his measuring stick if he wants to be great.  This sets him up to go 9-3 or 10-2 in his third year and really get this thing turned around.

Crazy but Possible:

New Mexico – Win
Utah State – Win
UAB – Win
Arkansas – Win
Ok. State – Win
KSU – Win
Texas Tech – Loss
ISU – Win
CU – Win
OU – Loss
BU – Win
Texas – Loss

That’s 9-3 with his only losses going to OU and Tech on the road and Texas at home.  He beats OSU which seems like a tall task right now but it is at Kyle Field.  This would likely put him in the Holiday Bowl which would be nothing short of amazing in his second year.

Like I said, I fully expect him to go 6-6 and leave us wondering if/when he’s going to get it turned around.  I really don’t think 8-4 is out of the question if he’s going to make that leap to great.

Only time will tell.

A Look at 2008 First Year Coaches

Before Bill Byrne went on his “National Search”, these were the names I thought should be considered:

Butch Davis, Tom Tuberville, Mike Leach, Kevin Sumlin, Will Muschamp, Art Briles (I swear), Randy Edsell (UConn), and Ron Zook.  Not saying all of these guys should have been interviewed but their interest should have been gauged and due diligence on them done.  We’ll look at the first year of Sumlin and Briles since the others were already head coaches except for Muschamp and we all now what he’s become.

Other first year coaches will look at are Bo Pelini (NU), Bobby Petrino (Arky), Paul Johnson (Ga Tech), Rich Rod (Mich), and Rick Neuhesiel (UCLA).

Kevin Sumlin (7-5):

Sumlin took over an 8-5 UH team that lost to TCU in the mighty Texas Bowl.

In Sumlin’s first year he took the Coogs to a 7-5 record.  All five of their losses came on the “road” with a loss in Stillwater by 19 points in his second game (How did Sherm do there?), a loss to Air Force by 3 which was moved to Dallas to Hurrican Ike, a loss by 3 to Colorado St.,  by 14 points on a Tuesday night to Marshall, and then by 14 points to the Mighty Rice Owls (HOOT!  HOOT!).

Let’s throw out the Air Force game as that wasn’t fair with Ike and the loss to Marshall as playing on a Tuesday night on the road is not fair.  If you’ve ever looked at the results, the home team on a weeknight game wins like 58% of the time and covers the spread like 65% of the time.  The scores skew so far from the norm that there’s an obvious advantage to playing at home on weekday night.  Remember when Fran clowned the Bobcats from San Marcos?  Oh, wait.

We could probably throw out the Col. St. game as well since that was still one week after Ike and the entire city of Houston was still recovering.  The losses to Rice and OSU are legit so it’s safe to say Sumlin could have gone anywhere from 7-5 to 10-2 without Ike and the weeknight game on the road.

He had two impressive wins when he went in and beat East Carolina on the road when they were ranked in the Top 25 just coming off two Top 25 upsets themselves.  They also upset a Top 25 ranked Tulas at home.  In fact, they clowned them 70-30.  That’s right, a 40 point victory over a Top 25 team.  UH will likely wind up in the Texas Bowl again so it’ll be interesting to see how they do.  All in all I’d say Sumlin did pretty decent considering the Ike circumstances.  He definitely played OSU closer than Sherman did in just his second game.

Art Briles (4-8):

Artimus took over a 3-9 Baylor program and most folks were snickering because Briles was below what A&M could hire.  At the time he seemed like a very Billy Gillispie hire in my book.  He has the same “aw shucks” demeanor and rose through the ranks of Texas high school and college assistant before getting an HC shot at a smaller Texas program and had decent success.

Briles only improved Baylor’s record by one game but let’s look at his 8 losses.  He got blown out at home in his first game to an at the time Top 25 Wake Forest when he trotted out three QBs before realizing Bob Griffin would be his man from then on.  He won his next two games blowing out both Northwestern State and Washington State.  Say what you want but Sherm didn’t blow anyone out as his win at ISU was only by 14 points.  Briles beat both of those teams by at least 28.

He would then take his team to Hartford, CT and see his team let a late lead slip away losing to UConn by 3 points.  Next came a blowout at home to OU by 32.  Sherm lost by 38.  He beat ISU at home by 28 and then traveled to Still water where he lost by 28 points which is the same as Sherm.  Next involved a 12 point loss in Lincoln where they actually lead at half time but couldn’t score any points in the second half.  Missouri visited Waco and snuck out with a 3 point victory.  Next was a 24 point loss in Austin.

The last two games included a 20 point thumping over Texas A&M and his final game was a 7 point loss in Lubbock where they lead by 14 at one point.

So in summary they lost 5 games by 12 or less with their greatest losses being 32 to OU, 28 on the road to OSU, and 24 in Austin.  Considering the talent of the programs they lost to I think Briles had a REMARKABLE first season.  4-8 might be 4-8 but I’ll take Briles’ 4-8 over Sherm’s 4-8 any day of the week.

If you’re an Aggie fan you should absolutely be steaming at what Briles did in Waco while seeing what Sherm did in College Station.  There is little doubt in my mind right now that Baylor made the better hire all because A&M was afraid to interview Briles because we thought we were better or smarter than that.

Bo Pelini (8-4):

Pelini took over a 5-7 Nebraska program that A&M beat last year and had arguably a worst defense than A&M.  Enter Bo Pelini and his crazy college experience and he took that crappy Nebraska team to an 8-4 record and closed out the season strong.

Pelini won his first game at home and suffered his first loss in questionable 30-35 loss to Va. Tech at home in prime time.  They woudl then get clowned at home by 35 points to then BCS contender Missouri.  The next week they pushed Tech to overtime in Lubbock only to lose by 6 points.  After that they would stomp ISU by 28, beat Baylor by 12,  lose to OU by 34 in Norman (Sherm 38 at home), beat Kansas by 10 at home, KSU by 28 in Manhattan, and then kind of lucking out with a 9 point victory over CU at home to close out the season.  They dominated CU statistically but CU had some big plays and NU had one HUGE bone headed fake kick that damn near cost them the game.

All of this has set Nebraska up for a Gator Bowl matchup with Ga. Tech for a battle of the first year coaches that over achieved.  Say what you want about playing in the North but it’s clear Bo Pelini is a better head coach right now than Mike Sherman.  Too bad he didn’t have any head coaching experience.

Bobby Petrino (5-7):

Bobby eeked out his first two wins over Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe but he did get the win.  He then got clowned by Bama, Texas, and Florida.  Next came an upset of Auburn on the road.  Next was a one point loss to UK in Lexington, a 2 point loss to Ole Miss, and then a 7 point win over a decent Tulsa team.  They then lost by 14 in Columbia, SC, 3 points to MSU in Starkville, and then beat LSU by 1 point at home.

Everyone wants to talk about how bad Arkansas was in Petrino’s first year but when you look at it, he did pretty damn good.  Sure he struggled in his first two wins but then got blown out by 3 of the Top 4 teams in the current BCS.  Is that so bad?

You take out those three games and he went 5-4.  Of his other 4 losses, three were within 3 points and the other was by 13.  I don’t think that’s bad at all in a tough SEC.  Say what you want but Bobby Petrino had a much better season than his record and three blowout games indicate.  His team definitely got better as the season went on which is a sign of a good coach.

Doesn’t bode well for A&M next season and I think it’s safe to say Arky hired the better coach.  Don’t be shocked to see Arkansas competing for the West division next season.

Paul Johnson (9-3):

Johnson took over a 7-6 Ga. Tech that lost their bowl game last season.  He went 9-3 with wins over BC, Clemson, FSU, Miami, and UGA.  In the brand name department that’s damn impressive in your first year.   The BC, Clemson, and UGA wins were on the road.  That’s outstanding for a first year head coach to do that on the road.  He destroyed Jacksonville St. at home in his first game which is an indicator of potential future success based on my research.  His greatest loss was to UNC by 21 points in Chapel Hill.  His other losses included a 3 point loss to Va. Tech in Blacksburg, and a 7 point loss to UVA at home.

Yep, Ga. Tech hired the better coach.

Rich Rod (3-9):

Rich Rod took over a 9-4 Michigan that won it’s bowl game.  He went 3-9 and got his ass beat by Notre Dame, Illinois, Penn State, and Ohio State.  The other losses were by less than 14 points and including by 2 points at home to Utah in his first game.  Uh oh.  Utah is a solid team though so it’s not that damning but it’s not good.  He lost by 3 at home to Toledo.  Yep.  3 points at home to Toledo.  The Michigan coach.  Lost to Toledo.  At home.  In his sixth game.  Not good.  His other losses included a 14 point loss at home to Michigan State, a 6 point loss to Purdue on the road, and a 7 point loss at home to Northwestern.

His three wins included a 10 point win at home over Miami of Ohio, a 2 point win over Wisconsin at home, and a 23 point win over Minnesota on the road.  He was 2-5 in games at The Big House and 1-4 on the road.  Hmmmmmmm, that sounds familiar with one less loss on the road.

I never really thought about it but Rich Rod could be a Fraud on the level of Coach Fran.  He ran a gimmick offense in a lesser conference that relied solely on getting talented guys that could run.  He did finish in the Top 10 in 2005 and 2006 while winning the Sugar and Gator Bowls respectively.  Now that’s much more impressive than Fran but the most amazing part is that with an opportunity to play for the National Championship he spit the bit and lost to a Pittsburgh team coached by Dave Wannestedt’s mustache at home.  Maybe he can’t get over the hump and will struggle in a legit conference where he might or might not get the two key people to run his offense.

There’s another similarity to Fran in that Rich Rod took over a big program that just let a very successful head coach go just because he’d become stale and their main rival had taken them to the woodshed and was playing for national championships.  I think the similarities between R.C. and Carr are pretty close.

Look at how he and Fran left their respective gigs.  Both where known flirters for other jobs prior to the season they left and left after one of their best seasons ever while leaving their players high and dry.  It’s okay if the fan base is upset with your leaving but when you don’t even feel welcome in the state you left by ANYONE something is wrong.  I think it’s safe to say West Virginia isn’t on Rich Rod’s favorite places to visit these days just like Fran will say with Alabama.

Not saying Rich Rod will fall on his face but I won’t be surprised if in five years he’s let go without ever accomplishing anything.  Maybe he can get a job after he’s done in 5 at UMich on ESPN Radio doing color commentary where he just interjects random thoughts in a nasaly pitched voice while having no rapport with his play by play guy.  That’s what Fran’s doing.

Maybe Rich Rod will be the exception but his first year doesn’t look good for future success.

Rick Neuheisel (4-8):

Neuheisel took over a 6-7 UCLA team that lost it’s bowl game.  He’ll go 4-8 as I assume he’ll get beat by USC.  I never quite understood this hire as it just seemed like getting the band back together.  I thought they were absolute fools for not hiring Mike Leach as he’d be perfect for this gig.  The yin to Pete Carrol’s yang while running the craziest offense in the Pac-10.  Hey, there’s safety in memories.

Rick started off his career with a pretty amazing overtime win over Tennessee or so it seemed but it quickly went downhill after that.  He was blown out 59-0 to BYU and then lost by 21 to Mike Stoops’ Arizona team at home.  He then lost by 5 points to Fresno St. at home.  Fresno is good but UCLA doesn’t need to be losing to that team at home.  His other losses included a 7 point loss to Oregon on the road, by 21 points to Cal in Berkley, by 28 points to Oregon St.  at home, and by 25 points to Arizona St. on the road.  That’s 5 losses by 21 points or more and that doesn’t included his pending game with USC.  Half his total games could be losses by more than 21 points which is just not good.

His wins are not really that impressive as Tennessee wound up not being that good, he beat a HORRIBLE Wash. St. team by 25 at home, Standford by 3 at home, and beat Washington by 20 in Seattle.  Not one of those is really that impressive.

All in all I’d say the Nueheisel hire is pretty close to Sherman.

It looks like everyone but Michigan and UCLA hired better coaches than A&M at the same time.  Only time will tell but it’s not looking good for A&M, Michigan, and UCLA so far.  Let’s come back and look at these coaches next year.

Second Year Coaching Benchmarks

As I’ve stated before, I think Butch Davis and Mike Dantonio are great measuring sticks for what Sherm should be.  I’d say they took over somwhat similar programs from a talent standpoint with the same resources.  The only real difference is they’re in easier conferences but I’d counter that with A&M has more talent to pick from when it comes to recruiting so it’s kind of a wash.

Butch Davis:

In his first year Butch Davis went 4-8 with all of his wins at home and only lost by more than 7 points twice and that was to ranked teams.  Not a great record but his team was obviously competitive in 10 of their 12 games.

So how did Butch do in 2008?  The envelope please.  8-4!!!

That’s right, Butch reversed his record and won 8 games.  He had one real stinker of a game when UNC lost to NC State at home by 31 points with the potential on the line to tie for the ACC Coastal Divison Championship even though they would have lost all head to heads so they couldn’t get to the championship game.

The other three games he lost where all by less than three points which includes 3 to eventual Coastal Co-Champ Va. Tech, 3 on the road to Virginia, and 2 on the road to Maryland.  I would say the losses to Virginia and Maryland are slight head scratchers as UNC wound up with a better record than both of those but they were on the road and they were obviously very competitive.

They’ll likely wind up in the Music City Bowl in Nashville against an SEC opponent like Vandy or in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against a Big East team like West Virginia.  Both great bowl tests for them even if the bowls aren’t that well known.

I can’t tell you how excited I’ll be in 2009 if Sherman goes 8-4 with only ONE blowout loss.  If he puts a big bowl win cherry on top then I might just get right back on that Shermwagon.

Mike Dantonio:

I don’t think most folks have any idea who this guy is but I would say Michigan State is a very comparable program to A&M.   In 2007, Dantonio took Michigan to a 7-5 record with a bowl loss to Boston College lead by Matt Ryan.  They only lost by 3 points in that bowl game.   Every other loss was less than 7 points so even in his first year he had the Spartans competitive.

So how did ol’ Mike do in 2008?  The envelope, please.  9-3 for the third place in the Big 11!!!

He did open up the  season with a loss but it was to Cal on the road in Berkley.  His other losses were flat blowouts to Ohio State by 38 at home and on the road in State College, PA by 31.  As a fan you don’t like the scores but at least it was to the top 2 teams in the conference and one was on the road.

All of this is likely good for a Capital One Bowl game appearance against Georgia which seems like it would be a HUGE test except no one has any idea what happened to UGA this year.  For A&M to duplicate this kind of season would be like losing to OU, tu, and Arkansas in 2009 to get a Cotton Bowl berth.  Folks, I’d have ZERO problems with that in year 2.

I know everyone is down on Aggie Football but honestly I don’t know why Sherm can’t duplicate something like what UNC did.  Sherm’s coming from a bigger hole but that’s his fault and if he’s going to turn this thing around I think he has to do something similar to what Butch Davis did.  He needs to win and win now and there’s proof that others have done it.  No more “woe is me” because of talent or any other lame excuse.

Thoughts from the tu Game

I had planned on writing up my thoughts from the game like I normally do but I just can’t do it. I think everyone saw the game and knows what’s going on. I still stand by my statement that Sherman deserves another year unless we can get Mike Leach. I know that’s not possible so I’ll fully support Sherman for another year while being critical. I want him to prove me wrong but I’m not seeing it.

As for Leach, I was driving back to Fort Worth on Saturday and listened to the game on the radio. Mike Leach deserves all kinds of credit for pulling that game off. It was a classic let down game against a team that was getting better each game (more on that later) while Tech was being decimated by injuries. Tech was down by 14 points at one point and lost probably the best player in the Big XII in Crabtree. They got a couple of lucky breaks thanks to penalties by Baylor that negated turnovers but Leach and his DC hung in there and pulled it out. That was not a cheap win by any stretch.

To the A&M/tu game:

  • Back on Turkey Night. I know some people don’t like this but I can’t tell you how great it was seeing the game featured on SportsCenter on Wed, Thur, and Friday. Sure, it wasn’t good for us but those of you that remember 1984 and 1985 will understand how great it will be when Aggie Football is back. There’s no better stage for us. My wife wasn’t completely excited about it as she wanted to spend more time with family but she’ll adjust. I think.
  • The I-Formation. I think this is the part that frustrates me the most about Sherman. He ran the I most of the game but there were three times that got me. It was the formation for the first play in each half as well as a 3rd and 11 in the 3rd quarter. All three times it went absolutely nowhere. What the hell was he thinking believing he could convert a third and 11 from the I formation? Sherman had a week and a half to prepare for this game and this is what he came up with. What did he do for those 10 days? Surely he could have been creative for those three moments. At least set the defense up to think you schemed differently for 10 days. That’s like Fran going option to the short side on 3rd and 3.
  • I saw Mike Shumard cut out the legs of the DE on the first drive of the game. I kid you not. He sawed the DE right down and I got giddy. 12 games into the season and Sherm’s vaunted OLine finally chopped someone down. Shumard actually played fairly decently for most of the game. Most of the offensive line struggles came up the middle. We just can’t establish the running game or a pocket but Sherman doesn’t seem to realize this.
  • I think the OLine play is the part that bothers me the most about Sherman. He’s supposed to be an OLine guru but this line has not developed AT ALL. I understand there have been plenty of injuries but in 12 games this line has NOT DEVELOPED. I also understand that Fran left Sherman in a bad way with numbers but this line has NOT DEVELOPED. In addition, they get flagged for false starts 12 games into the season. I played OLine in high school and my coach had two cardinal rules – 1) Hit someone. Even if you missed your assignment you better be blocking someone. You’d still get yelled at if you blew your assignment but if you were at least hitting someone you wouldn’t get yelled at as loud. To this OLine’s credit they do a better job of that than they did last year. 2) No penalties. This included false starts and holding calls. Our rule was that the line was one unit and we got two penalties a game with no repercussions. After that we had to do these awful drills called “Back, backs” where we had to drive the blocking sleds backwards. We had 4 penalties in our second game and we did “Back, backs” for 15 minutes. Needless to say, we didn’t do anymore “Back, backs” for the rest of the season. Sherman’s OLine is not disciplined and you can blame the players all you want but I see this on the coaching staff. They have to instill confidence and discipline. It’s not there.
  • I’m glad I was there for Mike’s last game as an Aggie. I’m glad he almost broke a 90 yard reception for one last memory. Unfortunately, Earl Thomas had an angle and happens to be fast as well so Mike couldn’t outrun it. Until that moment the offense hadn’t done jack. Say what you want about Stephen McGee but Mike Goodson is the reason we beat the sips in 2006. Not only did he get that first TD but he had two long 3rd down runs on “The Drive” that would not have happened without Mike coming along. I’ll never forget standing in the end zone of DKRMS watching those two runs and realizing how special he was. I’m gonna miss the kid despite all the criticism of injury and not being an every down back. If you don’t think he’s gone then you’re fooling yourself as I don’t think he’s been going to class which explains why Keondra has played so much and there’s really nothing for him to come back to.
  • Bag on Joe Kines all you want, but that man did everything he could for as long as he could. For 20 minutes of football the sips had only scored 7 points, 14 points for 25 minutes of football, and 21 points for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the offense of the team he coached went three and out on its first three possessions and then settled for a field goal on a 4th and short on their fourth and final drive of the half. (Won’t even get into that decision) If the offense does anything then it’s likely that game goes to half tied or down by 7 at the worst. I told my wife at halftime that the final score would be 56-17 as our defensive dam was about to burst and our offense would still be inept. I was ~7 points off on each side.
  • We have no idea how lucky we are to have Trent Hunter for three more seasons. If Sherman does anything defensively it’s going to because this kid is leading the secondary. Kudos to Sherman for landing the kid and realizing he needed to be on the field.
  • Von Miller had a hellacious knock on Colt McCoy. I don’t know what it takes but you find a way to spring this kid. In two seasons he’s put licks on Harrell and McCoy that have caused them to get up gingerly. I’m not advocating late hits by any stretch or injuring anyone but you have to find a way to spring this kid. Don’t worry about him covering people. Line him up and let him be the focal point of the offense’s pass blocking scheme. If they screw up they’ll know their QB is going to pay. If they’re going to turn just let Von contain and have the LBs fill. Oh wait, we need LBs. Either way, turn the kid into a pass rushing machine.
  • This is going to sound stupid but I knew we were done when the sips ran on the field. For those of you that haven’t been to a game at DKRMS the teams come on the field from opposite sides. The sips come out from the South end zone and the visiting team comes out from the Northwest corner. A&M was huddled up in the NW corner ready to release as the sips came on the field. The sips ran to the North end zone and lined up across ¾ of the goal line taking a knee blocking A&M’s path to their sideline. It was clear what the sips were doing and I don’t blame them one bit. I know they were praying but it was an act of intimidation and confrontation by the sips. Make no mistake they knew what they were doing. Our team stood idly by while it happened and finally showed some fight at the end which is what you saw on TV. It took way too long for that confrontation to happen. A coach with nuts would have released his team to get in the face of the sips way sooner. This team had no fight from the beginning and that has to change. Same thing goes for Harrel’s late TD and McCoy’s last running TD where Batson could have lit the guy up but just kind of gingerly tackled him while McCoy was going into the end zone. Once again, I’m not advocating late or dirty hits but it is a painful game and you better be ready to make your opponent pay when the opportunity is presented. The great Aggie teams had swagger and confidence and it’s clearly missing here. Somewhere along the way the sips got some of it and intimated us before the game ever started.
  • One knock I do have on our defense is the DEs biting on the ball fake in the zone read. I don’t know if that’s by design but they’re HORRIBLE at containing on the zone read. It’s just like defending the option. Stay home as grabbing them from behind ain’t really going to slow them down. If your interior holds then you can still get there in time if you’re certain the RB has the ball but don’t go down until you know the QB has released the ball.
  • As much as I’ve railed on McGee this season I was glad to see him getting some PT in his final game. I don’t agree with his getting in the face of the tu player that sacked him as it was a clean hit and he wasn’t celebrating anywhere near him. I didn’t even see what was going on until I heard the crowd as McGee and the celebration was so far apart that McGee went and found him. It’s his final game against a team he’s had his greatest moments so I can’t completely blame him. You’re a good Ag, #7 and I’m sorry that Fran ruined you.
  • JJ to Jeff Fuller. I don’t care if it was garbage time as those two are going to be very important to Aggie Football’s future.
  • Speaking of WR, that group deserves credit for being the most improved unit for the season. If the rest of the team showed the improvement that WR corp showed then we might be bowling. Fuller, Tannehill, and the two McCoys really stepped up and developed over the course of the season.
  • It was kind of sad seeing McGee, Lane, and Goodson on the field for one last time. It’s amazing to think what we could have been had Fran been a better head coach with those guys as the foundation for 2008.

Honestly, there’s not much else to talk about as it’s just disheartening knowing what’s coming and seeing it happen. I think the oddest thing was that in 15 years of attending this game both home and away I’ve never seen the sips sympathetic when we lost. The only thing I can equate it to is after the 2005 game where they tight as a drum in McGee’s starting debut. They know they earned a win that day to keep their MNC hopes alive.

This game was similar but different in that I had a bunch of Texas fans ask me after the game what had happened to A&M football. They were genuinely concerned for Aggie Football because it felt strange whipping a hopeless team. We went out on Sixth Street after the game and didn’t have anyone talk trash to us at all. Even before the game we hit a bar and just had a couple folks ask us if we were going to the game, from College Station, or wanted to change shirts before going in a joking manner. I’m used to people genuinely hating me when I wear maroon in Austin the day of the game. Most people were good natured ribbing us and asking what happened to Aggie Football. It’s like we’re terminal or got hit by a car. I even had a couple of shots bought for me because they felt Aggie fans needed it. I wasn’t even crying. Very surreal and I don’t like it one bit. I want to return to the day where we genuinely hate each other because there’s something on the line.

I still stand by my statement that I won’t feel good about Sherman until he wins a bowl game next season and finishes in the Top 25 in his third season. He dug himself a HUGE hole and he needs to see some immediate success to turn around recruiting. He can’t just skate by going 6-6 and 8-4 over the next two seasons. He needs some late season success because as you’ll see the great coaches get better as the season wears on regardless of the schedule. I firmly believe Sherm walked into the situation not knowing what college football had become both on the field and in recruiting. He’s now been head coach for 12 months which is plenty of time for him start turning this thing around.

As for his coordinators, I think Joe Kines actually deserves to stay. The last thing this team needs is turnover at the DC spot. If Kines is committed for another 3-4 years then by all means let him stay. The only coach I can see potentially moving on is Buddy Wyatt which pains me to say as he’s from my hometown and really likes A&M. However, if there’s one unit on the field that truly underperformed then it’s the DLine.

Offensively, I personally hope Cromwell moves on and Sherm hires either the OC at UH that was the OC under Leach or the OC from Tulsa just so Sherm can get some serious spread input into his scheme. I still don’t feel he’ll ever be successful with a true I formation just like Fran wasn’t successful with the option. He needs to learn the spread as that’s what most of the high schools in Texas are running and most Big XII teams which is why you see the Big XII QBs getting all the press except for A&M. If Sherm is going to be stubborn like Fran then he’ll see the door like Fran and never get another get a head coaching gig again or have any kind of legacy anywhere. I also think Sherm needs to get a truly awesome special teams coach. Go find the craziest high school head coach you can find that’s had some measure of success and get him on your staff to focus on special teams. It’ll also help with recruiting. I’m not kidding.

I’m definitely not shutting the door on Sherm being successful but he’s going to have to make adjustments and hire some folks he’s not comfortable with but are damn good coaches. It’s what Mack’s done twice in his most successful seasons. He simply went out and got the best DC he could hire at the time and obviously had no prior relationship with. Not saying he should do it with his DC but he should do it with his OC. It’s not a knock on Cromwell at all as his work with the WR corp has been absolutely amazing but I just don’t think he understands the college game right now and we don’t have the time to allow him to learn. It’s time for Sherm as an old dog to learn new tricks from an offensive standpoint.