King for a night? Haynes Football? The hype and fun are just beginning for Texas A&M
I guess it was inevitable. Highly-touted quarterback excels in his first collegiate start, scrambles to extend plays with his legs, puts up big passing yardage stats, it’s only natural that Aggies fans would harken back to the days of Johnny Football, romanticizing about what might be with a new, updated version.
Yes, Haynes King had a big night. He completed 63.6% (21-for-33) of his passes and was 8 yards shy of 300 yards and ran for another 22. The “Haynes Football” tweets were prevalent throughout the game. And why not, the kid had a big day. But his 14-yard scramble in the second quarter set the Twitterverse on fire.
“I tell you what, he was electric with his legs for the most part,” coach Jimbo Fisher said, himself seemingly caught up in the wave of “Haynes Football” fever. “And he did a good job, making plays, keeping his eyes up, scrambling. It’s fun. You can say coaching all you want, but those guys separate the game and make things really fun.
“When you can do things like that, that’s what you’ve got to do to get to the next level and play in those big games and win big games because things break down sometimes. Those guys can ad lib. Every time he did it, something really good came out of it.”
King led an offense that rolled up 595 total yards, most by an Aggies team since the 2019 Lamar game. Heck, Texas A&M didn’t have to punt a single time.
And those of you, well, maybe just me, who thought Fisher might keep King under wraps in his first game, that really wasn’t the case at all.
“We’re coming slinging,” Fisher said. “We aren’t coming here to run it. We’re going to make big plays. We got guys that can get it down the field. And we’ve got to be able to throw the football, and we’ve got to be able to run the football. I was very proud.
“Like I said, what I was happy about with him in the game, we had some mistakes right there and the ball turned over, his mentality didn’t change. He stayed right in the game, making decisions, making calls, going right at it. For a young guy, sometimes that gets very tough, especially in your first start. Really made some nice plays. Look, we’re going to sling the ball.”
OK, so it was a big night for King, but before we anoint him the, well, king of college football, let’s take a step back and take a look at his performance with our heads and not our hearts.
King threw 3 interceptions, against Kent State.
“Some of them just tips and things, tipped the lineman,” Fisher said. “Not bad decisions, really not bad decisions. But we’ve got to get those cleaned up.”
Yes, that most assuredly needs to be cleaned up. And while we’re making comparisons I’ll add this: in his first collegiate start, Manziel tossed it up 30 times and didn’t throw an interception. And that was against Florida, not Kent State.
Yes, King was a bit sloppy at times, but as Fisher noted, he didn’t let it get to him and that’s where the optimism stems from with the redshirt freshman.
“I thought he handled the adversity extremely well,” Fisher said. “Demeanor didn’t change, kept calling the plays. And he’s still throwing that ball right between them hashes. A lot of times, young guys, when they throw picks, they don’t want to go back to the middle of the field. They don’t want to go back in that maze. It doesn’t bother him. He’s a competitor, man. He’s a competitor.”
So let’s hold off right now on the Johnny Manziel comparisons. There will be plenty of time for that. For now, let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride that this talent is about to take us on and see where it leads.
“There’s a lot of things to clean up, without a doubt,” Fisher said. “We’ll clean those up. But there’s still a lot of big plays there, a lot of creativity, a lot of big plays, and a lot of potential to be right there.”
That’s the key word – potential. He’s not Johnny Football just yet. But the potential is certainly there to become the next King of College Football.