Kyle Allen transfer means A&M can jumpstart the Kyler Murray era
When Kyle Allen announced last week he was leaving Texas A&M it marked the second time in as many years the quarterback started the season No. 1 on the Aggies’ depth chart wound up transferring at the end of the season. The perception that A&M can’t settle on a quarterback and continue to drive away talented players isn’t necessarily great for the program, but there could be a benefit to the situation for coach Kevin Sumlin and his program.
It’s now clearly time to hand the job to Kyler Murray and see where he can take the Aggies.
Murray came to Texas A&M as the top-rated dual threat quarterback prospect in the country and from the very beginning of this, his true freshman season, the Aggies were working to get him some playing time even though Allen won the starting job coming out of training camp.
But the situation made it difficult for either quarterback to ever settle in and Allen couldn’t hang onto the job midway through the season. Murray finished the regular season having played in nine games, completing 59.5 percent of his passes for 686 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 335 yards, second on the team to running back Tra Carson, and had a touchdown on the ground to help earn a spot on the SEC’s All-Freshman team.
Murray’s stats were not as good as Allen, himself a top quarterback recruit a few years ago, but his ability to make plays with both his arm and his feet when healthy was at times invigorating for a Texas A&M offense the stagnated in the middle of the season.
Murray isn’t there yet, but he’s the closest thing in skill set to Johnny Manziel the Aggies have had since the former Heisman Trophy winner left for the NFL. Losing Allen has its drawbacks, but it allows the A&M coaching staff the opportunity to go all in on Murray at quarterback, which looks like the best bet going forward.
The true freshman can be the sole focus and the Aggies can begin to tailor game plans to his abilities, starting with the Music City Bowl against Louisville.
Of course, it’s up to the Aggies coaches to make the right call and turn the offense over to Murray. Junior college transfer Jake Hubenak has also gotten playing time in the second half of the season and could become more of a focus going forward.
But if the Aggies are smart they will use this as an opportunity to let Murray, who could be the man for the next three seasons, get accustomed to life as the starting quarterback. Murray needs to stay healthy and improve his decision making a bit, but the second part is something that can come with more playing time.
Nothing against Hubenak, but if there is a quarterback currently on the Texas A&M roster capable of getting the Aggies back to where they were early on in Sumlin’s tenure, it’s Murray. Murray can keep plays alive with his feet and also has a strong arm that will only get more accurate with time.
Coaches love bowl season for the simple reason it gives them extra practice time and an opportunity to start preparing certain players for their role heading into the spring. That’s especially true for Murray, who should see his profile in the A&M program go for back-up to face of the program.