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Texas A&M Football

No sugarcoating Aggies' struggles in sloppy win over Commodores

September 27, 2020
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Sugar was scattered in vast supplies in Kyle Field’s postgame press conferences on Saturday night.

All of it was needed to sugarcoat Texas A&M’s showing in a 17-12 football season-opening victory over lowly Vanderbilt.

The typical buzzwords from lackluster victories over weak opponents were repeated.

Any win is a good win. The Aggies made the plays they needed to make. They rose up when it mattered most.

“I give credit to our kids. (They) battled, found ways to do what we had to do at the end of the game to come out to a victory,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Again, a victory is a victory.”

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M struggled to put the Commodores away even though true freshman QB Ken Seals was leading Vanderbilt’s offense.

“I think every win is a good win,” quarterback Kellen Mond echoed.

Added senior linebacker Buddy Johnson: “You know, I think guys fought to the end. You know, we never gave up.”

That sugar could be spun into cotton candy all night, but it wouldn’t change the hard fact that A&M struggled to pull out a victory over what many in Nashville feel could be one of the worst Vanderbilt teams of all time.

Just when you wanted to laugh at Oklahoma for losing to Kansas State and Texas for narrowly escaping Texas Tech, the Aggies plodded along to perhaps the least impressive victory of the college football weekend. Vanderbilt was a 30.5-point underdog.

2020 is the season the tenth-ranked Aggies are supposed to emerge as bona fide championship contenders in the treacherous Southeastern Conference West Division.

Yet, two meager touchdowns on a Vanderbilt defense that last season routinely surrendered 30 points or more is hardly encouraging. Especially when A&M’s next three opponents — Alabama, Florida and Mississippi State — combined for 133 points in impressive victories on Saturday.

The 25 percent capacity Kyle Field crowd saw the Aggies play at 25 percent efficiency.

The offensive line struggled to control the line of scrimmage. Receivers managed minimal big plays. The special teams made a trio of major blunders.

Chase Lane picked up a kickoff that rolled deep into the end zone and opted to return it. He only made it to the 7-yard line.

“I give credit to our kids. (They) battled, found ways to do what we had to do at the end of the game to come out to a victory. Again, a victory is a victory.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

Smith topped that. He committed a cardinal sin of fielding a punt in the end zone. To make matters worse, Brian George was called for a personal foul for trying to make a block for Smith in the end zone.

That resulted in Vanderbilt being awarded a safety.

“Catching a punt in the end zone and trying to run out. I mean, I never get a penalty in there,” Fisher said. “I mean, that’s coaching, and that’s my fault as a head football coach. Can’t happen. Got to get that fixed. I’ll make sure it gets fixed, I promise.“

Then there was quarterback Kellen Mond. Fisher profusely praised the progress he’d shown in fall camp. Yet, he was perhaps more inconsistent than ever.

He threw a touchdown pass and executed a nice option pitch that led to an Ainias Smith touchdown run. Too often, though, his throws were inaccurate. And as been a recurring problem throughout his career, he was careless with the football — fumbling three times and losing two.

The other fumble was on a fourth down-and-1 play. Mond was able to recover but did not get the distance needed for a first down.

To be fair, the first fumble wasn’t Mond’s fault. The ball was slapped out of his hand via a blindside rush before he could deliver a pass. That was on embattled senior left tackle Dan Moore.

However, another came at the end of a 12-yard run that gave Vanderbilt the football at A&M’s 43-yard line midway through the third quarter. That led to a Vanderbilt touchdown, which enabled to Commodores to pull cut the score to 14-12 late in the third quarter.

Boosted by an Isaiah Spiller 30-yard run, the Aggies responded by driving for a Seth Small 24-yard field goal that gave A&M a precarious 17-12 lead with 14 minutes remaining.

Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics
DeMarvin Leal recorded four tackles on the night.

The A&M defense was able to protect the lead, but not without some drama.

Following a fumble by A&M receiver Jalen Preston, Vanderbilt drove to the A&M 20-yard line. But there, Micheal Clemons, DeMarvin Leal and McKinnley Jackson converged to sack Vanderbilt freshman quarterback Ken Seals for a 10-yard loss.

On the next play, Demani Richardson broke up Seals’ pass, and Leon O’Neal snatched up the deflected ball. He returned the interception 35 yards to the Vanderbilt 44-yard line.

Four plays later, Mond’s fumble on fourth-and-1 prevented him from picking up a key first down.

It didn’t matter, though. On third-and-11, Clemons again swooped in to sack Seals. It was the Commodores’ last offensive play and A&M’s last big defensive stop.

“They did one hell of a job and made big plays when they had to make him,” Fisher said in praise of his defense.

It was just one last sprinkle of sugar.

Discussion from...

No sugarcoating Aggies' struggles in sloppy win over Commodores

13,449 Views | 27 Replies | Last: 19 days ago by lkg
OXDL45
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AG
Tough game to watch.
Gilligan
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OXDL45 said:

Tough game to watch.


QB play was as indecisive and erratic as it was at UCLA. I'm not paid $75M to evaluate talent, but I think a blind squirrel could recognize that by now.
Bread8-Ag92
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There's a cancer in the locker room and it's Kellen Mond. Personally, I don't know the kid, but watching FOUR LONG YEARS of his ZERO emotion and lack of leadership on the field is frustrating. He looks like a cow staring at a new gate, when after one of his many mistakes, he trots over to the sideline and gets chewed on by Fisher. It looks like the rest of team wants nothing to do with him. Winners feed winners and creat opportunities on the field, Mond is NOT a winner. Do us all a favor and quit the team, there's a kid behind you we ALL want to see play. May we we could move Sully to the goal line, he seems to not have a problem finding him.
Coryhub
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I'm no tu guy - but reading Ellinger went to Mensa down 15 with 3 minutes and said "they left us too much time we're going to score twice and win in OT"... that's a leader and why I'm scared with this crazy a** season tu might actually make the CFP since the BDF is worse than sun belt
gtb123
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Listening to the postgame interviews explains it all. From top to bottom there is no fire -excepting Spiller and Smith. Mond has made NO progress and Jimbo seems lost. The team is big on celebrating small positives and completely ignores when they look like fools. They have no shame when they screw up. After watching a few of the QB's playing for other teams, I feel like I would take almost any of the others. Hell, Vandy's was better than ours! In fact, was there a worse QB on display yesterday?
Reno Hightower
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A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The team last night looked a lot like the team that slogged through an unimpressive Texas Bowl win versus Okie lite. This IS what the Texas Aggie football program is under Jimbo Fisher with Kellen as the qb.
Agsone
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Why expect different results from the same staff?
A&M Give Us Room!
greg.w.h
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A loss would have been a lot harder to sugarcoat. But when you have followed a schedule for 5-7 years and everything was different this year, you can expect some flatness. This has been a weird year and we definitely played a much better prepped team than our typical opening game.

Without adding more sugarcoating: the next game is gonna expose who we really are.
Bigsexxy96
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The qb and oline play was eerily similar to last year. Mond is mond, period. He is a mediocre, 50-55% passer who is very inconsistent. He may practice lights out but it doesn't carry over to games. Could be a long season Ags.
nu awlins ag
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What do you really expect? He's getting paid $75 million, win or lose. He has a racist QB who said, "Any win is a good win." Seriously? A&M finishes 5-5 or 4-6. No way they even come close against the next 3 opponents. Good, Fisher and Mind deserve each other.
TAMUallen
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This is a good write up.

Heard your question to Mond at the post game presser, don't let him off the hook next time. Keep pushing him. He seemed to be in a different world than every other person who was at or watched that game. It was the sloppiest, worst performed, and disappointing game I've seen in a long time yet he thought he played a fairly clean game? What?! Dude you had 3 fumbles. You STILL overthrew receivers for TDs. YOU SLOW JOGGED TO GO WATCH VANDY RECOVER YOUR FUMBLE
ctag76
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The first fumble ... Mond is a senior, shouldn't he develop a feel for the pass rush by now? Jimbo needs to either start another qb or use a short leash on Kellen. We cannot afford to have a starter who consistently plays one solid quarter of football out of four. How much longer do we give him to mature? I guess he could return next year.
"But there's a spirit can ne'er be told ... It's the spirit of Aggieland."
BQDrummer85
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Olin, you never disappoint! Excellent, once again.

Can you QB?
Mule
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There is a cultural problem with this team. After the game the players were smiling and celebrating.
Their expectations and standards for themselves are simply not high enough to compete for championships in the SEC.
Texas Aggies
oldfart79
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it wil lbe interesting to see if the sugar daddy s gade and lucci have any suger to add , hope they to will tell it as it is
Macy
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Op was pretty much dead on. Don't think for a moment that Jimbo isn't aware of the problems. No need for me to pile on here.
National merit dad
rdougherty
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So when Johnny was at A&M he was on the sideline with the rest of his team mates and he was visibly involved with all of them...pushing them to do their best...Mond sits on the bench like a bump on a log! He is not overly involved in team mate camadre...we need some one who is involved as a leader...not someone who has "that proverbial deer in the head light look". Bring out Calzada and send Mond packing! A true leader can rally his troops to extreme heights! Mond can't rally a herd of toad frogs!
mickey644
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I guess the most important part of Mond was "making a statement".well, he made it and should sit down and let's see who can play ball rather than some C grade quarterback who has an ego larger than his accomplishments. Game over, sit down. Mickey '66

Yell Leader Class of 1968:
OK, I tried to understand just how much we thought the pursuit of a national title was worth, and $7.5 million a year seemed like a fairly large sum to this old country boy. I didn't expect miracles from the man, but I did expect competency. What I got instead was the obstinate "sticking with" a mediocre quarterback who, regardless of all the university- and sportscaster-generated hype about his "improvement" and "leadership" remains the same player that he was 3 years ago---even though he dubbed himself "the best quarterback in the SEC". All this while the young man was getting in the faces of old Aggies who were standing guard around Sully, and attempting to "stare them down" (while one teammate offered to "beat yo' butt, man" to the septuagenarian guy standing next to me), and while tweeting #defundthecorps ---apparently not understanding just who the 12th Man is or who is doing the yelling in Kyle Field. And Jimbo, that paragon of coaching wisdom, stating that he is beginning to "learn how to talk to these young people"---I thought communication was a coach's bread and butter, but apparently I missed something.

So we're paying $7.5 million per year to a coach who is "learning how to communicate" to his players (but apparently not how to discipline them) and who refuses to replace a mediocre quarterback with any of the others on his roster (are they worse than Mond? If so, why are they scholarshipped?). And we're expected to support a quarterback who STILL makes poor decisions, overthrows receivers, and disrespects the people from whom his scholarship money emanates and from whom his gameday support springs. I've heard jokes about dumb Aggies ever since I became an Aggie, and if we continue to put up with this crap, I guess we really ARE dumb. My opinion; yours probably will differ.
Mike "68
Stone44
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Why do we pay a special teams coach several hundred thousand dollars a year when our special team players know nothing about the simple rules of special teams? There are middle school players that understand the basics of returning kickoffs and punts yet our guys are clueless. This is all coaching and nothing else. Jimbo hired someone who is killing our team. One would think that for that kind of money you could get someone who could get 11 guys on the field 8 to 10 times a game that know their job. I know I could do it for a lot less.


Bread8-Ag92
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Mike / Mickey, you're not dumb, you're spot on. If our other options at QB are worse than the fiasco under center now, I honestly question the recruiting ability of Jimbo and his staff. We can't be the only ones who sit here and watch the cluster $&?! on the field and wonder what the hell is going on??? Why is Demas not in then game?? This kid is supposed to be the GREATEST and most talented football player to ever walk on Kyle Field and he never saw a down. This is getting really old and tiresome. It's the same ole same ole every year....wait till next year. I'm tired of waiting till next year, I've been waiting since 1988. I'm only counting since the day I stepped foot on campus....I was waiting before that also.
Bread8-Ag92
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Stone44 said:

Why do we pay a special teams coach several hundred thousand dollars a year when our special team players know nothing about the simple rules of special teams? There are middle school players that understand the basics of returning kickoffs and punts yet our guys are clueless. This is all coaching and nothing else. Jimbo hired someone who is killing our team. One would think that for that kind of money you could get someone who could get 11 guys on the field 8 to 10 times a game that know their job. I know I could do it for a lot less.


Let's just be thankful Mond isn't on that squad or the defense.
Fishwrangler11
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Olin, as a long time listener and first time poster (I say this to make a point of how important I felt this message of Aggies was heard), thank you for representing your team by not letting this Aggie program off the hook. There's no excuse for this abysmal performance, given the experience and talent. I feel like all we've been hearing since Jimbo's first year is excuses. If this is truly going to be a "things aren't the way they used to be culture", it's about time Jimbo listen to himself or confront him with his own advice on changing his approach, which isn't working and is taking us down the same road as before. Yes, we can continue to come up with excuses, but at what point, does the coach have to take responsibility? For example, we've been doing this for 3 years at the QB position and it's on the verge of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Not to mention, I was very disappointed to hear the delusional responses insinuating that the game was remotely good by players and coaches. If that is the standard, I don't think we can win another game.

Look, even the best coach in college football history, who we play next week, admitted to his own mistake...in the national title game! And why did he do it? Because he owed it to the rest of the players and coaches to eat his pride/stubbornness and position themselves to win.

So what am I saying with all of this? I'm encouraging you on behalf of the fan base to place forward this challenge to this team to admit to what their performance really was so that they can be live up to their full potential. If Nick Saban can do it, I'm sure the Ags can find a way. Otherwise, we're just going to continue to let this negative culture build.
Spyderman
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OL didn't to seem to improve one iota from last year. Or the year before..

77, 73 and 54 have no business playing in this league IMO.
"It Will Be The End Of Energy Companies"

UNACKNOWLEDGED: An Expose of the World's Greatest Secret -a documentary

Should the 70+ year truth embargo come to an end?

Sterling82
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Stone44 said:

Why do we pay a special teams coach several hundred thousand dollars a year when our special team players know nothing about the simple rules of special teams? There are middle school players that understand the basics of returning kickoffs and punts yet our guys are clueless. This is all coaching and nothing else. Jimbo hired someone who is killing our team. One would think that for that kind of money you could get someone who could get 11 guys on the field 8 to 10 times a game that know their job. I know I could do it for a lot less.




First of all thanks Olin for a great write up.

As for ST I believe I heard we don't have a ST coach but various position coaches contribute. Either way, the embarrassing special teams performance isn't new. I think Bama averaged about 50 yds per return last year and kept what could have been a competitive game from ever being close. No top end coach would ever disregard special teams play like we've done the last couple of years.
TX AG 88
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Quote:

He looks like a cow staring at a new gate
LOL. So true. His body language is the worst. He seems to/must take coaching well, but it never seems to sink in to where he "has it" for good. Seems he's always learning the same lessons over and over. And imparting wisdom/experience to others on the team? Forget it. He constantly exudes "blank slate" rather than "solid rock!"
cavscout96
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Bread8-Ag92 said:

There's a cancer in the locker room and it's Kellen Mond. Personally, I don't know the kid, but watching FOUR LONG YEARS of his ZERO emotion and lack of leadership on the field is frustrating. He looks like a cow staring at a new gate, when after one of his many mistakes, he trots over to the sideline and gets chewed on by Fisher. It looks like the rest of team wants nothing to do with him. Winners feed winners and creat opportunities on the field, Mond is NOT a winner. Do us all a favor and quit the team, there's a kid behind you we ALL want to see play. May we we could move Sully to the goal line, he seems to not have a problem finding him.
lkg
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MOND IS NOT A NATTY QB

I have said this before. Since I am not on the coaching staff, nobody listens to me. Mond is not a D1 QB. He should be moved to WR, TE, or RB where his speed and agility will help the team. His fumbles will still be a problem; but, at least he won't be involved in every offensive play. I live near Tyler, so I know a lot about King. I don't know much about Calzada. Surely, both of them are a lot better QB than Mond. Otherwise, why did they get scholarshipa and why are they on the roster? If the same Kelllen Mond shows up against Alabama, bench himm and put someone else in while we still have a chance.
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