Dennis Franchione was a dead fish. And Mike Sherman might have been a little too reserved. But wow… Kevin Sumlin is all energy. We all saw the YouTube clip of him flying around the locker room like a reckless linebacker after the Ole Miss comeback. And as we mentioned on Twitter on Saturday evening, it truly did give me the chills.
Kevin Sumlin brings the energy, and when a 48 year-old man (I honestly had no idea he was that old) brings that kind of energy, you can bet all of those 18-22 year-olds take notice. The guy has swagger, and what in the world do college students want more than swagger? (Swagger is the new cool.) I have no idea if Sumlin knew this when he accepted the gig (see what I did there), but he just happened to find one of the few quarterbacks in the nation that can match his own swagger, stride for stride. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Saturday’s game was a textbook example of a situation in which Aggie teams of old would fold like a lawn chair. SIX TURNOVERS ON THE ROAD! And that doesn’t even include the one turnover on downs early on. A&M literally handed them the ball seven times and said “naw, it’s cool, we want to shoot ourselves in the foot again.” But the Aggie defense capitalized when it needed to (the Stephen Jenkins interception, for one) and refused to break at the end. Out of all the notable plays from Saturday, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that Ole Miss was TWO INCHES from a first down late in the 4th quarter, and while a first down wouldn’t have ended it, it would have dramatically hindered our remaining opportunities. And then Ole Miss decides to go with a run play out of the shotgun. Thank you, Hugh Freeze, for that lovely gift. It was one of the few mistakes that Ole Miss made on Saturday.
Another thing: Ole Miss is a solid team this year.
Did you know that through six games last year, Ole Miss was 117th in total offense and 106th in total defense? This year, through six games, they are 42nd in total offense and 56th in total defense. Pretty interesting stuff right there. As they almost did with us, they could very well play the role of spoiler at some point later this season.
Johnny Manziel looked like a freshman for most of that game. But with about 7 minutes left in the game, he decided to turn it up a notch. Backed up against your own goal line? Why not go to your 6-5, behemoth of a wide receiver deep down the right sideline? That play may not work every time, but it is a calculated risk that lends you some decent odds. And you know what? The odds were in our favor Saturday night in Oxford.
Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention that West Virginia gave us a nice little dessert (after our tumultuous main course) when they knocked off the perennially overrated Longhorns (in Austin) not but fifteen minutes after our game ended. As they say in golf, the scorecard does not paint the whole picture. I think that applies to the Aggies’ win in Oxford and the Longhorns’ loss in Austin. But at the end of the day, wins are wins and losses are losses.
It is Monday morning and I still feel great. I just had a conversation with a fellow Aggie co-worker that consisted mainly of, “can you believe that” and “that was incredible”. The Aggies are pulling on my heart strings again. And now with a trendy little #22 next to their name, the nation (and the SEC) will begin to take notice of the new kid on the block. The masses said Missouri would be able to compete immediately, but Texas A&M would suffer from a steep learning curve. The season is only six weeks old, but 4–1 feels good.
The Aggies are getting their Swagger back.