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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M infielder Rylen Wiggins (2) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Aggies’ season ends with heartbreaking loss to Longhorns
Luke White, Sports Editor • May 27, 2024

Sharper play in the sixth innings of Texas A&M softball’s NCAA Super Regional series with No. 1 Texas may have been the difference between...

Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Column: New school, old school

 
 

Its hard not to love the dichotomy of the A&M football team between the new and the old.
The new pieces and the conference stomping grounds of this program have been discussed at length. The Aggies have an all-new coaching staff and their leading passer, rusher, kicker, receiver and kick returner are true redshirt freshmen.
This is the new A&M, right? Out with the old, as they say? Not so fast. If not for the wholesale buy-in from this crop of seniors, the Manziel-Kingsbury-Sumlin show would never have made it off the ground.
These players are Sumlins because he has made them his, but remember this roster was recruited by a different staff. Ryan Swope and Christine Michael may be the faces of this class, at least on the offensive side of the ball, and they had a great deal of success in former head coach Mike Shermans offenses. The modified air-raid offense Kingsbury adopted sits on the other side of the spectrum from Shermans pro-style offense. Thats not an easy transition for a player to make and there isnt a perfect success rate.
Michael serves as a useful case study in this conversation because he didnt seem to transition as smoothly as his counterparts. Swope, Sean Porter and Jonathon Stewart havent experienced a drop-off in production. Spencer Nealy has thrived in his new role. Had Michael stayed healthy the past two seasons, he would have seen playing time nearly equal to that of Cyrus Gray. So with Gray gone, this was Michaels backfield, right? Wrong.
Sumlin began stretching the field with five-wide sets and an upstart freshman quarterback started scrambling more than 15 times per game. Junior Ben Malena found himself as the starting back. Freshman Trey Williams began to filch carries. There were murmurs that Michael didnt buy in, the universal buzzword in situations like this. On paper, can you blame him? Hes a pro-caliber back who, if featured, may have been the Aggie to tie the school record of 19 running touchdowns in a season instead of Manziel (Michael has 12 through the end of the regular season on 94 fewer carries than Manziel). In all likelihood, Sumlins decisions hurt Michaels NFL draft status. So when Michael was ejected following an early touchdown against Sam Houston State for punching an opposing player this after much speculation that Michael has been in Sumlins doghouse much of the season the easy conclusion was that Michael was done, or at least close. The easy conclusion was the wrong one.
Thats what was so great about Senior Night, a 59-29 spanking of Missouri. Yes, Manziel put a nice little ribbon on his stellar season that is Heisman-worthy by any and all measures. Yes, A&M reached 10 wins in a season for the first time since 1998. Yes, there was some fitting symbolism in a 30-point thrashing of the other school to make the jump from the Big 12 to the SEC. And yes, Michael has been the third-best rusher on the team behind Manziel and Malena. Of the 17 seniors, its likely that 16 of them made a smoother transition to this new-look A&M than Michael did.
But on Saturday, the face of the new A&M went down with a twisted knee and the Heisman trophy. Of course we know that Manziel returned after missing just four plays to rack up five touchdowns. But in that scariest of moments, wasnt it fitting that the face of the old A&M Michael immediately ripped off a 38-yard touchdown to settle the crowd?
The present and the future shine equally bright for A&M but most seem blind to the contributions and flexibility of a senior class that made sure they left the program better than they found it.
I doubt the seniors would have it any other way.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *