The following is one fan's opinion. Nothing more and nothing less. If you're looking for the facts and nothing but the facts, a few mouse clicks will take you to any one of several fact filled message boards.
In this space several weeks ago I stated my opinion that the 2003 Texas Aggies would possibly be blown out several times. So far they've suffered that fate twice, assuming 59-28 and 48-12, fit your definition of blown out. With five games remaining I think I'm safe in my "several" prediction. Now that prediction wasn't a wish mind you. I'd much prefer the Aggies be on the long end of more 73-10 blowouts myself. But it was and remains my view of reality.
I thought then, and still do, that Aggie fans should be focusing on the forest rather than the trees in 2003. I think improvement, rather than results, are most important during this first year of the Coach Fran era.
Since the mistake filled performance in Lincoln I've pondered another question. What if the coaching change at Texas A&M had taken place a year earlier?
Last year's Aggie team featured current NFL players Ty Warren, Bethel Johnson, Sammy Davis, Terrance Kiel, Taylor Whitley and Billy Yates. Add to the play-for-pay group Brian Gamble, Jared Morris, Jarrod Penright, Randall Webb, Joe Webber and several other solid Division I college football players and what do you have? A talented, experienced football team with a schedule as favorable as it might get.
Save for the post-Thanksgiving trip to Austin, that team's most difficult challenges were contested on Kyle Field. Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri were the road teams. Four of those five left College Station winners.
When the 2002 season was done the Aggies were six and six and on the hotline looking for a hot property to become head coach.
All that got me to wondering - how many coaches could have taken the current talent (save for the first year players) and added to them Warren, Kiel, Davis, Gamble and on and on and on, played the hard part of the schedule at home and finished better than .500?
That question, of course, can never be answered, but that doesn't change the fact that the question should be asked. We know for a fact how the former staff fared with that seeming abundance of talent. I just wonder what Stoops, Stoops and Venables might have gotten from the '02 Ags. Or, for that matter what about Franchione, Torbush and Koenig? I also wonder how few top flight college staffs might have finished at six and six with that talent, experience and more favorable schedule?
Any misgivings about the staff change vanished at once.
Several paragraphs ago I named eleven players the Aggies lost through completion of eligibility, injury or dismissal. Eleven players - that's one half of your starting units. In their places are some fine young men, most of whom are learning the ropes of D-I football against people who've already been to school.
Justin Warren, Bryce Reed, Taylor Schuster, Ta Ta Thompson and many more show worlds of promise, but they can't match those that departed in savvy, experience and readiness to play.
With the Aggies at three wins and four losses and Oklahoma State up next, it's possible, maybe even likely, that things will get worse before they get better. At least as far as results and record are concerned.
At least when this season ends the line won't be long for those saying their good byes. Most of those who are playing now will be back, and very likely better for having played this season and fought through the adversity.
With the talent infusion from last year's recruiting class (thanks in large part to the former head coach and staff), A&M appears headed in the right direction. More good news appears on the way in this year's class. It will be interesting to see just how patient the faithful will be if that road isn't as straight and quickly traveled as they would like.
There's no point in thinking back to the good old days, because the good old days were fading fast as the Aggies failed to seriously challenge for the Big 12 South since the exciting 1998 season.
As I said in the beginning, this is nothing but one fan's opinion, so take it for just that.
The foundation is in place with an ever-growing Former Student population, facilities which are quickly over taking most of the competition and a fertile recruiting territory for Texas A&M to get back into the spotlight.
Sometimes change only breeds confusion, but more often than not when the foundation is solid, change is just one more of the building blocks to success.
A&M possesses building blocks for solid foundation
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