What Texas A&M should be looking for in its next defensive coordinator
Texas A&M is coming off its second-straight catastrophic defensive season, and now the Aggies are in the market for a new defensive coordinator. Kevin Sumlin let Mark Snyder go last week after the Aggies gave up 300 yards on the ground for the third straight week and finished dead-last in the SEC in total defense for the second consecutive season.
The Aggies have defensive talent on board, but need someone to pull it together. There are ample candidates out there, but what should Texas A&M be looking for in their next defensive coordinator?
It’s hard to recruit for a 3-4 scheme, and the Aggies already have the talent on hand that it wouldn’t make sense to switch. Myles Garrett is already one of the most talented defensive players in the conference, but his skill set makes him suited to be a 4-3 defensive end and not much else. The next defensive coordinator will have to find ways to maximize the talent on the roster, something Snyder wasn’t able to do, and it starts with running a scheme that fits the talent.
This isn’t as important as it might be at some other programs with older, more established coaches. Sumlin is a fantastic recruiter, a big part of the reason Texas A&M has brought in top-10 recruiting classes each year since he’s been in town. With the way the defense has performed recently, the Aggies will need someone to pitch change to the best defensive players, both in Texas and throughout the region. Other SEC teams have begun to encroach on A&M’s territory, and they’ll need the new DC to reverse that.
The SEC West is a wild and diverse place. On any given week, you can face a power running team (LSU or Arkansas), a spread, no-huddle team (Auburn or Mississippi State), or a team that can do a little of both (Alabama). The next coordinator needs to have an adaptable defense, not just one that specializes in stopping one type of offense. This year, A&M was really only equipped to rush the passer when they got ahead on the scoreboard. Next year, they’ll need more balance.