Texas A&M will have their friends in Houston in mind when they take on UCLA for their season-opening game Sunday in Pasadena.
The Aggies will wear a special sticker on their helmets during Sunday’s game against the Bruins. The sticker will feature the state of Texas inside the symbol for a hurricane. There will also be a heart over where Houston is located on the state map.
Even though Texas A&M is located in College Station, over half of the Aggies’ roster was affected by the devastating storm.
Texas A&M Assistant Athletics Director for Equipment and Apparel Matt Watson led the effort for the sticker design.
“The thought process behind the decal was to symbolize and acknowledge what happened, as well as what we’re feeling in three images combined — the universal hurricane symbol, the outline of the State of Texas, and a heart. The heart is almost centered over Bryan/College Station and positioned to cover the majority of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey. It is intended to show that Texas shares one heartbeat and those affected are in our hearts and that they are not alone.”
Once upon a time, not long, long ago, Texas A&M looked like an up-and-coming program with a steady stable of quarterbacks.
Ryan Tannehill had been drafted in the first round and was starting for the Miami Dolphins; Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy and was a first-round pick; and the Aggies had a trio of five-star QBs in the pipeline between Kyle Allen, Kyler Murray and Tate Martell.
In the last half-year, both Allen and Murray left the program, and on Wednesday, Martell, a 2017 recruit, announced he was decommitting from the Aggies.
With 3/5 of the quarterbacks featured in a tweet sent by A&M fan site in August no longer with the program, and one a criminal, the Aggies have been embarrassed. Check out some of these tweets:
Former Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen blamed the culture partly fostered by Johnny Manziel for his leaving the school.
Allen, who left A&M for Houston with two years of eligibility remaining, told CBS Sports’s Dennis Dodd that he believes there are many issues with the program stemming from Manziel’s time there.
“I think the culture was a big part of it, and I think that stems from Johnny’s era there — the way that they let Johnny and [others] act there,” Allen said. “They do that and still win games because they had Johnny … and five offensive linemen playing in the NFL right now.
“A lot of people were riding off that, ‘I can do whatever the hell I want and win on Saturday.'”
Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2012 as a freshman, was as known for his off-field antics as his on-field skills during his two years at Texas A&M.
As for the current team, which went 8-5 with a 4-4 record in the SEC in 2015, Allen thinks that not everyone was on the same page.
“We had a lot of people who were talking about the same goal but weren’t all committed and on the same page to get to that goal,” Allen said.
“Everyone wasn’t in a straight line. Everyone was going this way, this way, this way. We had a ton of talent there. I think that, once you get all the right coaches there and get the vision right, you can do a lot of things.”
This doesn’t exactly come off as full of praise for coach Kevin Sumlin, and a lack of trust in the head coach was reportedly a major reason behind the departure of Allen and his fellow quarterback Kyler Murray. Most of all, it sounds as though Manziel’s shadow still looms large over the Aggies, even as his NFL career goes up in flames.
The transfer of his two top quarterbacks has Kevin Sumlin on the hot seat at Texas A&M, and one report says some school administrators are looking into the possibility of buying out the coach.
Horns Digest’s Chip Brown reports that Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp is looking into the possibility of terminating Sumlin’s contract, which runs through 2019.
Sumlin, 51, finalized a six-year extension two years ago that bumped his pay to $5 million, calls for him to pay a $5 million penalty if he leaves before 2016, and for him to receive a $20 million buyout from the school if they want him out.
A&M, which has poured money into the football program including a remodel of Kyle Stadium, updated athletic facilities and more, is unhappy with the direction of the program.
Since going 11-2 in Sumlin’s first year, the program slipped to 9-4 and then 8-5 last year. The Aggies are currently 8-4 and would end up with a second consecutive 8-5 season with a loss in the Music City Bowl.
Texas A&M is said to be looking into whether they can find a way to fire Sumlin without cause, which would preclude them from paying his hefty buyout. That seems like it would prove to be a difficult task.
And how much would A&M like to change the direction of the program? They reportedly have their eye on Tom Herman, who has gone 12-1 in his first season at Houston, and Larry Fedora, who has led North Carolina to an 11-2 season.
Sumlin has such a favorable contract because he was a hot commodity following his 11-2 inaugural season at A&M and the year after. He was in the mix for various NFL jobs and other college spots, leading the Aggies to give him big money to keep him in College Station. They seem to be regretting that now.
Texas A&M has seen top quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray announce transfers in the past week. Both were said to have trust issues with Sumlin. Though they have top quarterback recruit Tate Martell lined up for 2017, one has to wonder whether Sumlin will be around for that.
Despite Kevin Sumlin’s best efforts to talk Kyler Murray into staying at Texas A&M, the freshman quarterback has decided to transfer.
The Aggies announced the news Thursday in one of the shortest press released you will see:
Murray, who was a highly-touted recruit and shared time with Kyle Allen this season, sent this statement via Twitter:
Allen, a sophomore, declared last week that he is transferring from A&M. Even though the starting quarterback job appeared to be all his, Murray wanted out as well. Reports say neither player trusts Sumlin, which has led to their departures.
There is a lot of drama in College Station where top quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray have decided to transfer out of Texas A&M a week apart.
Allen, a sophomore who saw the bulk of the action this season, announced plans last week to transfer. On Thursday, Murray, a stud freshman recruit who started the season but was later benched, announced he would be transferring. A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin tried to talk him into staying, but Murray decided to leave.
So why the unhappiness among A&M’s QBs? Scout’s Taylor Gaspar says Murray and Allen both have trust issues with Sumlin.
A significant factor behind his potential transfer is Murray and his family have lost trust in Sumlin and the Aggies coaching staff, according to sources.
Sources indicated that a lack of trust in Sumlin played a role in Allen’s decision to transfer from Texas A&M. Murray and Allen had discussed these trust issues weeks before Allen made his decision final, according to sources.
Gaspar’s reporting seems to be on the money, at least with Allen. Check out this tweet he sent Wednesday when news of Murray’s unhappiness was circulating:
Why did Allen not trust Sumlin? It could have to do with the coach not telling the media that Allen was playing with a shoulder injury in a loss to Ole Miss that was suffered the week before against Alabama.
Gaspar says Murray may have lost trust with Sumlin over playing time matters. You figure that would be resolved by Allen’s transfer, but apparently that’s not the case. It really makes you wonder about what’s going on there.
Did Sumlin bring in two top QBs and then overplay his hand by making grand promises to both, and now he’s left with two unhappy players? It sounds like that might be the case.
Things appear to be falling apart in College Station for the Texas A&M football team.
In the span of a week, it appears that the Aggies may be losing their top two quarterbacks.
Last week Kyle Allen announced he would be transferring from the program. A former top recruit from Arizona, Allen passed for 2,210 yards, 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions this season. He threw for 16 touchdowns and 7 interceptions as a freshman.
Then this week, five-star freshman QB Kyler Murray indicated some unhappiness with the program, and reports now say his father wants him to transfer.
With two quarterbacks unhappy with the program, the recruits took notice. Wide receiver commit Quartney Davis tweeted Wednesday that he was decommitting from the Aggies.
There is no final word yet about whether Murray will leave A&M — Coach Kevin Sumlin told him to take some time to think about his decision and gave him practice off — but the exodus movement has to make people wonder what is going on.
Nick Saban thinks Alabama fans should make Bryant-Denny Stadium more like Texas A&M’s Kyle Field.
Saban made the remarks on his radio show Thursday, complimenting the Aggies fans on the atmosphere they created, and suggesting that Alabama fans take notes.
“You talk about loud. You talk about affecting the game,” Saban said, according to the Austin American Statesman. “I mean, their fans really did affect the game, and it says a lot about our players to keep their poise and focus.”
“You know, this is the first place we’ve played for a long, long time, that we never got booed when we came out,” Saban continued. “First place. I’m telling ya. It’s a really nice facility. They had 105,000 people. And they cheered their tail off for their team. And they made it hard for us to play. I hope our fans can hear this, because this is the kind of place we should be.”
It’s almost certainly easier for Saban to say this considering his team scored three times on interception returns and won handily, 41-23. Still, it’s interesting to hear Saban speak so favorably of an opposing environment, even going as far to say the Crimson Tide fans should be more like them. The reaction of Alabama fans should be interesting.
H/T Sporting News
The Texas-Texas A&M football rivalry is one that goes back to the 1890s. However, the two schools last played in 2011 as the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012. Texas A&M regent Tony Buzbee would like to see the series renewed, but not necessarily because of its storied history.
Buzbee took to his Facebook page on Wednesday to advocate Texas A&M playing Texas again because the Aggies need some relief due to the gauntlet that is the SEC schedule.
After a run of sustained success during the early 2000s, the Longhorns haven’t reached double-digit victories since 2010 and it’s clear the perception of the program from outsiders isn’t the same as it once was. Texas is off to a 1-3 start this season after finishing 6-7 a year ago, Charlie Strong’s first as head coach. Once the premier college football program in the state, the Longhorns have seen TCU, Baylor, and Texas A&M pass them with each in the top 15 of this week’s Coaches Poll.
I’m pretty sure Tony Buzbee isn’t the only one who wouldn’t mind seeing Texas on its school’s football schedule right about now.
H/T The Dallas Morning News
Charlie Strong and Kevin Sumlin both have a desire to renew the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry on the football field after taking the last three years off.
The schools first played against each other in football in 1894 and competed every year from 1915-2011, but they took a break after A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012. At the time, reps from both sides did not seem too concerned about not playing the game. Now things have changed.
“Now, moving into Year 4 and listening to our former students and our alumni base and knowing a lot of Texas alums, it’s important that we play again,” Sumlin said via ESPN.com. “I think it will happen somewhere down the road. The tough part for both parties, when we moved, was scheduling. The first two years we scrambled just to get anybody to play, and the SEC hadn’t solidified their schedule until last year. We were at the mercy of whoever would play us.”
Sumlin says that now they’ve figured out their scheduling in the new conference, he thinks the series will resume again.
Strong, who just completed his first season as head coach of the Longhorns, would like to play the series, too.
“That game is so much a part of this state,” said Strong. “Over 100 years, we’ve played that game. Why stop it now because we’re in different conferences? At some point, when it’s right for everybody with the different schedules, I would love to play Texas A&M again.”
It’s understandable why after moving to a more difficult conference A&M did not want to have another tough non-conference team on their schedule, but both sides probably have changed their viewpoints thanks in part to the playoff. With the playoff system, teams with one loss still have a chance of making the national championship game. That combined with the pride factor among both fanbases probably are the biggest reasons for the change. The only issue is because of scheduling, it might take a few years before they’re able to get the game going again.