Swag Copter Down.
OK, it doesn’t resonate like Blackhawk Down (great movie, better book). But Texas A&M and its “Swag Copter” – the chopper that coach Kevin Sumlin uses to fly around Texas to visit and impress recruits – is grounded for repairs.
A week ago, starting quarterback Kyle Allen announced he was transferring. That appeared to open the starter’s job for freshman Kyler Murray. But then this week reports emerged that Murray was planning to transfer.
Two quarterbacks who were five-star recruits, one is leaving, the other is considering leaving. Murray’s situation is particularly troubling for Sumlin and is program. Murray’s father Kevin is a former Aggie QB and Kyler was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year at Allen last season. An A&M legacy and the top prep player in Texas? Not a good look when he decides College Station isn’t right for him.
Here’s what we know:
Allen, who took over during his freshman year when Kenny Hill (who transferred to TCU) flamed out in 2014, beat out Murray for the starting job. The Aggies started 5-0 under Allen.
A&M started 5-0 but won just three of its last seven. The first loss of the season came at Kyle Field when Allen had three pick sixes. Murray came on in relief but had a sideline spat with offensive coordinator Jake Spavital.
Murray missed the Aggies’ first bowl practice Wednesday. Sumlin said Murray was excused to take care of “personal things” and the coach also said Murray would start the bowl game. It was reported that Murray and his family met with Sumlin Wednesday morning.
Murray didn’t play in A&M’s last two games.
Here are questions yet to be answered:
Did Sumlin promise Murray playing time in the recruiting process and if so was that promise broken this season?
Did Allen decide to transfer after hearing how Murray was unhappy? (It’s likely that, as teammates, they’re friendly enough to talk about what’s going on.) Allen posted this cryptic Tweet Wednesday afternoon: “Trust is the one thing that prevents any relationship from breaking”.
In trying to keep both Allen and Murray happy, did Sumlin lose the trust of both quarterbacks?
Were both quarterbacks unhappy with Spavital?
If Murray stays and starts in A&M’s bowl game, could he then decide to transfer?
With A&M’s offense struggling and Murray apparently the quarterback in waiting, how much does Murray’s desire to play baseball impact this situation? Not being a full participant in spring practice could impede Murray’s progress and put even more pressure on Sumlin heading into next season.
Who is on the hotter seat heading into 2016 – Kevin Sumlin or Charlie Strong? After the high of 2012 and Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman Trophy, the Aggies have lost traction. The offense has regressed and the won-loss record is stuck in neutral. Each of the last two seasons, A&M has faded after fast starts.