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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

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It’s time to support Calzada

Calzada+Mental+Health
Photo by via Instagram @joshbankhead
Calzada Mental Health

Though the 12th Man seemingly cares about mental health, their treatment of Zach Calzada hasn’t demonstrated it.
Since being thrown onto the field in the first few minutes against Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 11, the redshirt sophomore quarterback has made his impression as a starter for the Aggies. Obviously it hasn’t been good enough. But that’s no reason for A&M fans to call him “p*nis face” and say they will “steal his girl” on his Instagram.
The Aggies will have to get used to Calzada in the driver’s seat, though, as Texas A&M football’s remedy for redshirt freshman Haynes King’s tibia injury no longer appears temporary. King was originally expected to return sometime around the Alabama game, but on Monday, Oct. 4, A&M head coach Fisher said that “it’ll be a long time” before King sees the field again.
Meaning Calzada will not only be the Aggies’ QB1 against Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 9, but likely for the rest of the season. With two losses already, further losses to Alabama and Missouri could cause the Aggies to miss a top-tier bowl game.
In fairness, Calzada does not come without his faults. Originally the backup, he appeared as QB2 in the final drive against Kent State and attempted one pass that was intercepted. Clearly, this was not the best first impression for him to make in the 2021 season. He also has the lowest completion percentage in the SEC and had a safety against Mississippi State that was inexcusable.
But here’s the thing: People don’t need to tell Calzada that. He already beat himself up over the safety, and he doesn’t need others to do that for him.
However, that hasn’t stopped Aggie Twitter from primarily focusing on only Calzada’s negatives. It is important for Aggies to keep in mind that, while he’s lost both SEC contests, Calzada has won just as many games for A&M as he’s lost.
Junior tight end Jalen Wydermyer said the key to Calzada showing his full skillset on the field is making the quarterback feel comfortable with his mental health.
“If we can get the offensive line’s confidence up and keep [Calzada’s] confidence up, you’ll see what kind of player he can be,” Wydermyer said.
Freshman offensive lineman Josh Bankhead said on Instagram on Oct. 6 the team members are at their breaking point when it comes to their mental health.
“Anything we do is never enough … Just remember that we are more than players, this game doesn’t define who we are as people, we are human beings first,” Bankhead said. “Our QB, I can easily say that out of all things that Zach [Calzada] is one of the best human beings I’ve ever met. All he does is break his back to represent this program and university and takes care of business in the classroom. 95% of y’all who are talking crap have never played the game and don’t know the first thing about him.”
And yet Aggies aren’t inclined to listen to those who know Calzada best. It is no secret that Calzada has received hate on social media. There is a reason why the signal caller had to limit who can post comments on his Instagram. And this is just what’s seen publicly. Imagine what his direct messages are like.
According to the NCAA, performance related anxiety disorders are among the “most common psychiatric disorders” in collegiate athletes and “the pressure associated with student-athletes’ daily routine can create intense emotional responses.”
Fisher said he is going to start who is best for the team overall and social media should respect that decision.
“That’s just the world we live in today,” Fisher said. “We think we all have to tell everybody what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I think [mental health and social media] is a very big part of our world and what goes on today and our kids. That’s a big part of our commitment to those kids, to help them deal with all the issues.”
It is time for the Aggies to put trust in that sentiment. All Calzada needs is a chance with proper backing, and it’s time for the Aggies to give that to him.

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  • Redshirt sophomore quarterback, Zach Calzada looks down the field for an open receiver. 

    Photo by Photo by Ryan Hartfiel

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