Twitter gaffe puts even more pressure on Aggies, Kevin Sumlin in 2016 – Sporting News

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Do you remember when it looked like Texas A&M would make the easy transition to life after Johnny Football? 

In that first game, Kenny Hill passed for 511 yards in a 52-28 blowout of No. 9 South Carolina in the Thursday night. Hill wore a big smile afterward. He achieved “Trill” status. 

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Texas A&M, a program that looked to be building a rivalry with big, bad Alabama. The Aggies were the “it” program in Texas, the Oregon of the SEC. Sumlin smiled, too, a few hours after putting one on the Gamecocks and Steve Spurrier.  

“What we did tonight kinda showed we’re not a one-trick pony,” Sumlin said in the bowels Williams-Brice Stadium afterward. “We’re not anywhere where we want to be, but we’re not going away anytime soon.”

Texas A&M isn’t going away. Where they are going is another question. The latest gaffe — wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead subtweeted a recruit and did more harm than good — is just the latest headline that places more pressure on Sumlin and the Aggies in 2016. 

The on-field reasons are obvious. Texas A&M is 15-10 since beating South Carolina that night, and that includes lukewarm marks of 4-5 against Top 25 teams and 7-9 in SEC play.

That rivalry with Alabama? The Crimson Tide have outscored the Aggies 100-23 in the last two meetings, including a 59-0 rout in Tuscaloosa in 2014. 

The quarterback play doesn’t help. Hill transferred to TCU in 2014. Kyle Allen transferred to Houston after last season. Those don’t hurt as much as Kyler Murray, considered by some the best Texas high school player of all time. He transferred to Oklahoma, the same school Manziel routed 51-13 in the Cotton Bowl Classic in 2013 (that seems like forever ago). Now, former Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight is the starter for the Aggies. 

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Changes on the coaching staff and administration always create uneasiness. Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital mutually parted ways with the university and headed for Cal. Noel Mazzone takes over after leaving from UCLA. Texas A&M also has a new athletic director in Scott Woodward is the new athletic director. 

All of this puts more heat on Sumlin to fix the post-Manziel era in College Station. Manziel’s antics started in college, and Allen already called the program out for it. Manziel could get away with it. He won a Heisman Trophy, beat Alabama and won a Cotton Bowl. 

They can’t get away with it now, not with a 2016 schedule that features UCLA, Auburn and Arkansas in September. We’ll know enough about the Aggies by Oct. 1 when they go back to South Carolina, and we’ll know more when they play Tennessee and Alabama the next two games. That’s a brutal schedule, and Texas A&M has the talent to win now. Keep in mind they were a popular playoff pick last year. 

Receivers Christian Kirk, Josh Reynolds, Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones give A&M its top four receivers back. Hey, Knight beat Alabama once (that also seems like forever ago). The defense is led by Myles Garrett, who could challenge be the top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. There’s talent, the same talent the Aggies a trendy playoff pick last season. 

Sumlin, meanwhile, spent Wednesday answering questions about — who else? He’s still trying to reach out to Manziel, whose career has spiraled into an uncharted place that also isn’t going away. That’s a non-football conversation Sumlin and Manziel need to have. 

The football conversations will probably start with an assistant coach today. Sumlin is a good coach. He’s 71-33 for his career and has averaged nine wins over four seasons with the Aggies. That’s in the toughest division in college football. Still, there’s always pressure for more, especially for a program that wants to be the “it” program in Texas. 

It’s on Sumlin — who faces that pressure head-on in Year 3 without Johnny Football — to take them there. 

Twitter gaffe puts even more pressure on Aggies, Kevin Sumlin in 2016 – Sporting News