Up or Down for the Aggies without Manziel?

News came out this past weekend that Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin named a starter at quarterback:

Coach Kevin Sumlin announced Saturday that sophomore Kenny Hill will be the starter when the Aggies take the field at South Carolina on Aug. 28 at Williams Brice Stadium.

Hill beat out true freshman Kyle Allen in an offseason competition to become the heir apparent to Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Hill, a product of Southlake (Texas) Carroll High, played four games in a reserve role last season, completing 16-of-22 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. His start on Aug. 28 will be his first as an Aggie.

First off, I’m very, very happy that Johnny Manziel now plays for the Cleveland Browns.  Johnny Football is a polarizing figure for sure, especially off of the field, but the guy could flat out play football.  He gave Alabama fits and I’m glad he’s moved on to greener pastures.

So from that perspective, it’ll be interesting to see who gets the honor of taking the place of a legend.

But there’s also another reason to watch this position change:  this will continue to tell us how good of a coach Kevin Sumlin is.

Sumlin is, in my humble opinion, already a good coach, so here’s the rub.  He has been a head coach for six seasons (Houston and Texas A&M) and for five of those six seasons he’s teams have been successful.  In those five successful seasons, he’s had two incredibly prolific quarterbacks for his teams, Case Keenum at Houston and Manziel at A&M.  The lone season that wasn’t so successful was a 5-7 year at Houston in 2010 when Keenum suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game of the year.

Keenum finished his career in 2011 as college football’s all-time leader in total offense and touchdown passes.  Manziel won the 2012 Heisman trophy as a redshirt freshman.

Again, Sumlin is a good coach.  He’s proven he can successfully run a program and he’s proven he can recruit very well.  He’s also known as an offensive guru.  We’ll find out in 2014 how his team plays without the likes of Keenum or Manziel.  Will this season turn out like 2010’s 5-7 mark or will Sumlin uncover another once-in-a-generation type player?

 

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