In the middle of December, we were left wondering what exactly was wrong with Texas A&M following the transfers of two talented quarterbacks. Kyler Murray ended up hitching his wagon to the Oklahoma Sooners, and Kyle Allen landed with the Houston Cougars. In a recent interview, Allen shed some light on his feelings on the state of Texas A&M football, and it does nothing to paint a pretty picture for head coach Kevin Sumlin.
Texas A&M hit a football high during its first year in the SEC, as Johnny Manziel ran wild on his way to a Heisman Trophy. It was a landmark season for Texas A&M, and it seems the Aggies got caught up in the fun and have tried to keep that emotional high rolling with far less success. In this new age of Texas A&M football, Allen suggests the Aggies have struggled to tone things down in the post-Manziel era.
“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 to Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com. That statement alone should resonate given Manziel’s continued lifestyle after he has left Texas A&M for the NFL. As far as Texas A&M is concerned though, Allen suggests the program has struggled to move on.
“When you don’t have players like Johnny and [others] there anymore, you have to really come together as a team and scrap for wins,” Allen said.
“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.
“For you to win in the SEC — especially the SEC West — 10 games a year and be a controlling powerhouse in that conference, you can’t have a bunch of people going different ways.
“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.”
Those quotes do not paint a good picture for Sumlin, who received a vote of confidence from Texas A&M’s now former athletics director. “Sumlin has lost control of the Aggies” is the major takeaway you can gather from Allen, who opted to leave the madness behind for what he hopes will be a much more stable situation at Houston, a program that is coming off a 13-1 season with a New Years Six bowl victory under first-year head coach Tom Herman.
Allen could have been a starting quarterback in College Station in 2016, especially with Murray departing as well, but instead, he’ll willingly sit out the 2016 season due to NCAA transfer rules and hope to bounce back in 2017.
The 2016 season could be a pivotal one for Sumlin. The pressure for Texas A&M to take steps forward as a challenger in the SEC is rising after the school and donors have committed so much to the massive renovation of Kyle Field. Sumlin is paid a lot of money and really has had one really good season at Texas A&M. He has recruited well in the first few years in the SEC, but just lost a recruiting edge after being outranked by the Texas Longhorns in the past recruiting cycle.
Is momentum swinging in a way Sumlin can sway back in his favor, or will Sumlin be knocked off as criticisms rise and stories like Allen’s spread?
It is worth reminding readers there are always two sides of every story. Allen could simply be a hurt and/or angry former player who is spilling beans that may be more substantial in print than they may actually be in real life. Regardless of how much of what Allen says is true, Sumlin can ease some of the tension in College Station with a solid season in 2016.