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Texas A&M Football

'Win, place & show' still up for grabs in Texas A&M's coaching search

November 22, 2023
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Down the stretch, here they come in the Texas A&M football coach sweepstakes...

Elko has the inside track. Robinson is running strong. Fisch appears to be making a move. Smith is in contention, but DeBoer may be boxed in. Day remains on the extreme outside. Traylor has faded. Lanning and Campbell never left the gate.

It’s a wide-open race. The ultimate tipster, Billy Liucci suggested Wednesday on TexAgs Radio that it’s a three-horse race, but even he couldn’t guess who’d win, place and show.

Actually, the racehorse in this metaphor is Texas A&M’s football program as a whole.

Everyone knows A&M provides the money, infrastructure, fan support and geographical recruiting base to make a run for the Rose … or whatever bowl hosts the national championship game in a given season.

The A&M sweepstakes is about hiring the right jockey.

Unfortunately, the Aggies always seem to have a sumo wrestler on Secretariat.

Too often, the Aggies’ vast potential has been weighed down by coaching arrogance, obstinance, opulence and incompetence.

Texas A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork seemingly acknowledged as much the day after dismissing Jimbo Fisher a couple of weeks ago.

“We should be relevant on the national scene. Something is not clicking. Something is not working. And therefore, something had to give for Aggie football to reach its full potential.”
- A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork

“We should be relevant on the national scene,” Bjork said. “Something is not clicking. Something is not working. And therefore, something had to give for Aggie football to reach its full potential.

“Based on my experience, the best programs have confidence. The program has an established identity. The program maximizes the talent. The leadership is fully integrated in the university, the athletics program and its culture.

“I did not feel like we were meeting those standards of excellence and leadership.”

Bjork’s appraisal was spot on.

A&M football hasn’t been relevant on the national scene since 2020. The Aggies could’ve been relevant this season. But a lack of leadership — and some curious coaching moves — cost A&M losses to Miami, Alabama, Tennessee and Ole Miss.

Maybe more leadership and shrewder coaching moves will boost the Aggies to an upset victory over No. 14 LSU on Saturday.

In that event, interim coach Elijah Robinson’s case to get the head position would be greatly enhanced. He’s already adored by the players, so having him on board seemingly would give A&M the best chance to retain the championship-caliber talent on the roster.

Of course, Duke head coach Mike Elko could, too. He recruited a lot of that talent when he was A&M’s defensive coordinator two years ago.

It’s widely acknowledged the talent at A&M is sufficient to seriously contend for the Southeastern Conference championship as early as next year. That was apparent in a six-point loss to Alabama, a seven-point loss at Tennessee and a three-point loss at Ole Miss.

The next coach must be able to continue to recruit high-level talent.

However, the next coach should also hire a special teams coach.

Fisher refused to do so. Consequently, A&M’s special teams failed spectacularly in each of those four losses.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Elijah Robinson earned his first career head coaching victory vs. ACU last week.

Miami returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Alabama and Ole Miss each blocked a key field goal attempt. Tennessee returned a punt for a touchdown.

Indeed, A&M is one of just three teams to allow two touchdowns on kickoff returns this season. The others are Tulsa and Southern Miss. That’s not the company A&M wants to keep.

Of course, the next coach must update A&M’s offense.

Back in August, Fisher (in)famously — and erroneously — stated “scheme don’t matter.” Instead, he harped on execution and the need to “find the inches.”

They were never found. The pursuit of those elusive inches invoked thoughts of Miles … Les Miles, who, of course, several years ago was fired when LSU gave up on his stone-age offensive philosophy.

A&M is ranked eighth in the SEC in total offense this season. Last season, the Aggies were 12th. The year before that, they were 11th.

The A&M sweepstakes candidates lead much more effective offenses.

Kalen DeBoer’s offense at Washington is ranked eighth in the nation. The Huskies are national championship contenders, and DeBoer reportedly isn’t the type to bail with so much at stake. Do you want a coach that would?

Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith directs an offense that is ranked 25th in the nation, while Arizona has climbed to 28th nationally in total offense under Jedd Fisch.

Ryan Day’s Ohio State Buckeyes are 35th offensively. But there are major doubts as to whether he’s truly interested in leaving Columbus for A&M.

Traylor’s UTSA Roadrunners are 36th in total offense. But he has reportedly already been eliminated as a candidate.

The next coach should also understand clock management and excel under pressure.

An old saying states that close games are won and lost on the sideline. Over the last two seasons, A&M has lost eight games by a touchdown or less.

Bjork said the next coach must also be involved in the community and on campus, have a strong personality, be a “recruiting machine,” be active in the transfer portal and embrace NIL.

Is there a coach who fits the criteria and can make A&M relevant on the national scene?

The Aggies are betting on it.

Discussion from...

'Win, place & show' still up for grabs in Texas A&M's coaching search

24,486 Views | 9 Replies | Last: 6 mo ago by philevans
Thunderstormr
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AG
Did OB say anything here? Or did he just respond to Billy's directive to write something about the coaching search?
cs69ag
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AG
the line " like a sumo wrestler on Secretariat" is worth the read!

Best line I have heard since Peter Burns said "Denver Harris is like the Loch Ness Monster....nobody
knows where he is"
redjalapeno-87
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cs69ag said:

the line " like a sumo wrestler on Secretariat" is worth the read!

Best line I have heard since Peter Burns said "Denver Harris is like the Loch Ness Monster....nobody
knows where he is"
Denver sure ain't on the LSU roster. He gone! 0.0 GPA is hard to qualify.
JPK89
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AG
This first I've heard Traylor eliminated.

That doesn't upset me.
agINbj2000
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Written so badly…what are the three horses?
Fanatic15...Drs2B!
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I think it is DeBoer's to turn down (suspect offer is on the table - but clock is ticking). Either Fisch, Smith and/or Elko are the other likely "horses" (some say Billy downplayed Fisch - but there is alot of smoke there).
TAMU74
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AG
If you watch the 50th episode of Follow The Money podcast posted above Dr. Lofton stated that the Arizona athletic department is in serious trouble financially.
If that is truly the case, and I'm not suggesting that it is not because I don't know, Fisch might be a serious contender.
Houstonag
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AG

My exact words for many coaches we have had except Jackie.


"Too often, the Aggies' vast potential has been weighed down by coaching arrogance, obstinance, opulence and incompetence."
philevans
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AG
give Robinson a year to coalesce.
if talent stays few portal jumpers then do some real $ figuring.
keep the naysayers in the high O2 deprived seats.
TXlic GIGM61
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