No Joke But Texas, Texas A&M Have Issues

This image of a dumpster fire is probably the correct description of the football programs in Austin and College Station. Photo Courtesy: Brian Neumann
This image of a dumpster fire is probably the correct description of the current football programs in Austin and College Station. Photo Courtesy: Brian Neumann

By Wendell Barnhouse

Unless and until Texas and Texas A&M agree to resume hostilities on the gridiron, fans of the Longhorns and the Aggies must be content insulting each other about whatever’s available.

Right now, Texas has had all sorts of issues finding an offensive coordinator and Texas A&M can’t keep their quarterbacks.

Friday afternoon word came down that Tulsa co-offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert had turned down a reported three-year deal to be the Longhorns’ new play caller. Aggies fans would be LMFAO other than the fact that Thursday quarterback Kyle Allen announced he was transferring. (This was portrayed as shocking to the A&M fan base … but the rest of us just aren’t surprised.)

If Charlie Strong has an aisle on Flight Hot Seat, then A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is stuck next to him in a middle seat. The Aggies’ offense is trending in the wrong direction.

Allen was a five-star recruit took over the starter last season as a freshman when A&M coach Kevin Sumlin benched Kenny Hill – who went from Heisman Trophy candidate in September of 2014 to transferring to TCU. Hill sat out this season and will be a strong candidate to replace Trevone Boykin.

This season, Allen won the starting job. Five-star recruit Kyler Murray, who was undefeated as a starter at Texas high school power house Allen, took over as the starter when Allen threw three pick sixes in a home loss to Alabama. In their three losses after that, the Aggies scored a total of 20 points.

Soon after the Alabama loss there were reports that Murray had a sideline altercation with offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. That was after Murray’s relief appearance against the Tide was cut short. There were whispers that Murray – an A&M legacy whose father Kevin was an Aggies QB – had been promised playing time when he was recruited.

Texas is trying to juice an offense that averaged 26 points and 370 yards a game – numbers that will keep a team in the second division of the explosive Big 12. Strong shuffled his offensive staff early in the season and that’s never a good look.

So far, Strong has interviewed three candidates. The first was TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie. The fact he turned down a reported $1 million offer to remain in Fort Worth was seen as a sign of the apocalypse in Austin.

After Cumbie, Strong interviewed Gilbert and Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. Cumbie was considered a home run hire. On Saturday, Gilbert agreed to a three-year contract worth $850,000 annually.

Heading into his third season, Strong needs to show progress after going 6-7 and 5-7. He and Longhorns fans can only hope that UT’s new offensive coordinator will have the same impact that Lincoln Riley had at Oklahoma.

But right now, this is a public relations nightmare for UT and Strong.