Is it almost time for Texas A&M to move on from Kellen Mond?
Kellen Mond had an opportunity to keep Texas A&M in the game Saturday.
Alabama had just scored to go up 21-14 with 9:07 left in the first half, and Mond was set to lead the Aggies offense on its next drive. He picked up a quick first down before throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Daniel Wright. Just like that, all the momentum was sapped.
It’s something that Aggies fans have become all too familiar with while watching Mond the past three seasons. The offense lost all life and was only revived in garbage time. Texas A&M was held without a touchdown from 14:14 in the second quarter until 7:25 in the fourth. Not exactly a recipe for victory.
Mond’s stat line looks decent enough on the surface. He threw for 318 yards (though he completed only 56.8% of his passes), 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. But the late 4th-quarter touchdown can be discounted. And his second score of the game came after taking over at the Alabama 17.
He was even outshined on his other touchdown throw when Ainias Smith danced along the sideline to stay inbounds on a 47-yard reception.
It all resulted in a 52-24 loss, making Mond 0-4 against the Crimson Tide in his career and 2-10 against ranked opponents.
Plenty of quarterbacks have failed to beat Alabama. It’s no easy feat. But it goes to prove Mond is exactly the player we’ve known him to be all along: a good quarterback, but not an elite one.
Yes, it’s still early in the season. But how high is the confidence that Mond can lead A&M to an upset of No. 3 Florida next week after Saturday? I’d estimate not very. With him at quarterback, the Aggies have shown a ceiling of 8-4 or 9-3. That is a solid season, but it’s nowhere close to championship material.
It just feels like we’ve seen this story before. Why repeat the same thing?
Not all of the blame can be placed on Mond. The defense was atrocious, getting burned for 3 touchdowns of 60-plus yards. The running game was nonexistent, with backup quarterback Haynes King finishing as the leading rusher with 5 carries for 43 yards. Receivers dropped passes on many occasions. Really, it was a game to forget all around.
But Mond’s failure to get anything going in clutch time was perhaps the most frustrating. And it was as unsurprising as it was concerning. He played worse against Vanderbilt last week, fumbling twice and making other crucial mistakes.
It might not be time to pull the trigger yet, but the Aggies surely have to be thinking about starting a new era, especially if Mond has a similarly disappointing performance against the Gators. Wouldn’t they be better served by letting King — or even redshirt freshman Zach Calzada — gain starting experience this season?
I doubt Jimbo Fisher is ready to declare the season over after one loss. At this point, he’s still going to go with the quarterback he feels gives the Aggies the best chance to compete with the best teams they face. Due simply to the inexperience of the other two candidates, that may still be Mond.
But King showed potential in his lone drive leading the offense. He took the Aggies 60 yards before throwing an interception in the end zone in his first college football game. It was late in a blowout, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. But aside from his last throw, he looked solid for a true freshman.
King was ranked the No. 3 quarterback in the state of Texas for the 2020 class, according to 247Sports. He led his team to a state championship in high school and has a lifelong background in football as a coach’s son. Could he be Mond’s successor?
Calzada is the other option. He got limited playing time in 2019, but he did throw a touchdown against Lamar.
Either one could certainly provide hope of a brighter future for an Aggies team that needs it.
Mond might deserve a couple more chances to prove himself before the Aggies go to a new signal-caller, but his time is running out.