The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Some international students at Texas A&M have been struggling to pick up groceries because of limited transportation options from campus to H-E-B and Walmart on Texas Avenue.
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My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

A&M’s future: Kyler Murray

Photo by Photo by: Lawrence Smelser
Kyler Murray

It may be blowing it out of proportion to set high expectations and instill all faith into Kyler Murray this early, but one thing is for sure: He is ready to run the Aggie offense.

The freshman played conductor to the best A&M offensive performance on paper with Kyle Allen at the helm. Last Saturday, the Aggies amassed 544 total yards — the most since last year’s SMU game.

In the games he played backup, Murray came in with three objectives: Run, run and run. The coaches handcuffed the freshman, which wasn’t a bad idea considering how the starter was playing at the time. The offense just needed a spark every now and then, and Murray served his purpose.

Since he was restricted, Murray’s lack of passing initially created doubts in his throwing ability. That is nothing short of ridiculous, and he proved he was capable against South Carolina by completing over 70 percent of his passes for more than 200 yards.

Now, we’ve seen Murray with a game plan and an offense revolved around him. In his starting debut, Murray gave life to a recently abysmal offense.

To put it bluntly, a dual-threat quarterback is the best way to run this offense at the moment under Kevin Sumlin. Every college football season, there are only a handful of remarkable pocket passers. A&M has not found one yet. Most programs do not.

Many similar offenses around the country thrive with a dual-threat quarterback. Just ask Gary Patterson how Trevone Boykin is doing in his system at TCU.

Kenny Hill and Allen loaded the stat sheet but came out with a loss multiple times in their careers. Murray, on the other hand, did his part while also keeping everyone involved. Primary receivers Josh Reynolds, Ricky Seals-Jones and Christian Kirk stayed active by generating at least five catches individually.

Tra Carson recorded the third best rushing performance of his career with 122 yards, and James White saw his second most carries in an Aggie uniform with 10 for an effective 44 yards and one touchdown. 

Don’t get things jaded; pro-style quarterbacks are more than capable with handling an offense like this. But A&M lacks the proper personnel to better suit such a player.

The Aggies run out one of their worst offensive lines in recent years. But as he did with every other position, Murray and his style made the offensive line better and they pieced together their best game of the season. 

Contrasting with A&M’s offense beforehand, Murray is unpredictable. With Allen, teams didn’t have to worry much about his feet. The freshman helps the offensive line, because instead of attacking the defense is more concerned with containing. In the end, like it did with Johnny Manziel, the opposition plays on its heels and holds back on the aggression.

The offense, though, still needs some work. There were still many three-and-outs and consecutive usages of Drew Kaser. But do we expect every quarterback to play like Manziel his freshman year? Murray is making strides.

It is easy to forget this is a quarterback that has not lost when starting a football game since before his sophomore year in high school. This is a player that won three state championships in the highest division of high school football.

The only caution should stem from the coaching. Hill and Allen are solid quarterbacks but looked horrendous in their final games. Both were on Sumlin and Spavital. The two are still good and will get their shot.

To prevent further issues, the game plan should remain the same: Keep everything simplified and don’t get fancy, especially with the untimely deep ball. The intermediate routes carved into the South Carolina defense and allowed the Aggie playmakers to get open in space, something that has not happened as of late.

The perfect situation is set out for Kyler Murray. Ahead of him is the worst SEC defense in Auburn, then Western Carolina and Vanderbilt. We won’t truly know what he is made of until LSU, but these next few games offer a chance at building confidence and chemistry with his teammates.

Allen and Jake Hubenak are top-notch quarterbacks when the game plan and coaching is right. Like Murray, their futures are unknown, but if the freshman continues to improve his surrounding cast and put up big numbers, Sumlin will have no choice but to stick with him.

Not even Murray knows where he will take this Texas A&M team the rest of the season and onward. Keeping the Alabama and Ole Miss game in mind, he’s a massive step in the right direction.

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