COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A little more than a month ago, the best way to describe Texas A&M’s quarterback situation was an embarrassment of riches.
Sophomore Kenny Hill had captured the national spotlight with a dazzling debut, had been dubbed with a nickname (Kenny Trill), and was a considerable part of any Heisman Trophy discussion. According to the A&M coaches, the most difficulty he had faced was beating out freshman quarterback Kyle Allen for the right to follow Heisman winner Johnny Manziel as the Aggies starting quarterback.
Then there was five-star Kyler Murray waiting in the wings with only another opportunity at leading Class 6A Allen High School to a state title standing between him and attending classes at Texas A&M.
Outside the program, a lot of the talk when it came to the quarterback position for A&M was about who, but mostly when would the Aggies be watching one of their highly-rated quarterbacks tire of not playing and transfer.
Oh, but that was back in September — times have changed.
Now, rather than believing the quarterback situation is set for three or four years, the Aggies are wondering where they are headed at quarterback for the next three or four games.
Hill threw as many interceptions as touchdown passes during a three-game losing streak, lost his job to Allen, and then was suspended — for a second time — for two games before the Louisiana-Monroe matchup. Although denied by A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, the timing of the suspension makes one wonder if what happened off the field didn’t play some part in Allen winning the job.
Allen, rated as a five-star recruit himself, directed the Aggies to a touchdown on his first drive as a starter, but failed to get a first down on six of the team’s 12 possessions. The Aggies managed just 21 points against the Warhawks, who had surrendered 48 and 31 points to other SEC opponents Kentucky and LSU.
But it was ULM — not Auburn or LSU — and Allen threw an interception, his third in less than 70 passes, fumbled and completed only 13 of 28 passes. He also did not have a completion longer than his longest run — 14 to 13 — until late in the second quarter when Speedy Noil made a catch for a 39-yard touchdown.
Allen looked best outside the pocket, scrambling for two double-digit runs and picking up two of A&M’s 16 first downs with his feet.
With no Hill at least until the Missouri game, and Allen’s backup Conner McQueen not having thrown a collegiate pass, Spavital admitted he was going to have to get more creative next week and have a package ready with Noil taking snaps. The freshman Noil was a quarterback at his high school in Louisiana, but as Spavital was quick to point out, was much more of a running threat.
That’s the short term dilemma. While the Aggies are one play away from having a former walk-on or a star receiver from taking snaps, Murray has visited Oklahoma and there are even rumors he may just play baseball.
It’s a three-ring circus, nothing new to Aggie faithful after two years of Johnny Football, only this time the magic on the field is not able to match the drama off the field.