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Kevin Sumlin's A&M offense has rapidly declined since Manziel left. Is 2016 his last chance?

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The Aggies head coach has put together plenty of good offenses in his career, but now finds himself in desperate need of one next year.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

When he came to Texas A&M from Houston, air raid disciple Kevin Sumlin promised a high-flying offense that would help the Aggies buck trends as they moved to the SEC. Sumlin delivered on that promise in his first season, thanks to Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, but this year's Texas A&M offense was nearly unrecognizable.

Despite having an offensive-minded coach with blue-chip players all over the roster, the Aggies went just 8-4, 4-4 in the SEC, and were a non-factor on the national radar. That was due in large part to the offense, still filled with talented players, now ranking 63rd in yards per play, 58th in S&P+, 59th in Success Rate (efficiency) and 60th in IsoPPP (explosiveness).

Texas A&M's offense is getting exponentially worse each season. That's no exaggeration. Take a look at what's happened since Manziel left after the 2013 season.

Year Yards per play rank S&P+ rank Record
2012 2 1 11-2 (6-2 SEC)
2013 4 4 9-4 (4-4)
2014 27 18 8-5 (3-5)
2015 63 58 8-4 (4-4)

The shaded region below shows the percentage of teams in the Power 5 conferences that have had better offenses than Texas A&M, according to S&P+, and it's gone from zero percent to 63 percent in just four years.

Clearly, the trend line is not looking good for the Aggies, and with year five just one game away, Sumlin is heading onto a warm-ish seat in College Station. And now it's becoming clear that the results of 2012 and 2013 might have been more due to Johnny Manziel's incredible improvising skills and the talent Sumlin inherited than Sumlin's offensive coaching genius.

Now, the future is right in front of Sumlin. With sophomore quarterback Kyle Allen electing to transfer, it's rising sophomore Kyler Murray or bust.

[Update: Since this was published, there was a report that Murray "intends to transfer" from Texas A&M.]

Player Year Position Yards per attempt Touchdowns/Interceptions QB Rating Recruiting Stars
Kyler Murray Sophomore QB 5.7 5/7 109.19 5
Player Year Position Receptions Yards Touchdowns Recruiting Stars
Christian Kirk Sophomore WR 70 925 6 5
Josh Reynolds Senior WR 40 730 5 3
Ricky Seals-Jones Junior WR 42 542 3 5
Speedy Noil Junior WR 21 226 2 5
Damion Ratley Junior WR 15 200 2 3
Player Year Position Rushing yards Yards per attempt Touchdowns Recruiting Stars
Kyler Murray Sophomore QB 335 6.32 1 5
Jay Bradford Freshman RB N/A N/A N/A 4
Kendall Bussey Freshman RB N/A N/A N/A 3

That's it — that's what Sumlin has to work with to save his job.

Update: Kyler Murray transferred and Jake Spavital is out as offensive coordinator.

The good news is there's a ton of potential there. Murray is a five-star, and he's run particularly well as a true freshman. Most true freshmen improve after their first seasons, and it's likely Murray will follow that same progression. To what extent is unknown, but he has a ton of receiving talent to help him out, including three five-stars with at least two years left in the program.

Then there's the bad news. Murray was not efficient as a passer this season, not even ranking in the top 100 in yards per attempt. Moreover, there is not a lot of clarity on who will coach Murray, as it is still unclear whether offensive coordinator Jake Spavital will be back next season. It would be best to get that figured out soon. The Aggies finally know their quarterback, but they don't know who will coach the quarterbacks and what the identity of the offense will be.


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