INDIANAPOLIS — Kyle Allen blamed his transfer from Texas A&M on the Aggies’ off-field culture earlier this month, but he also acknowledged a post-Johnny Manziel talent drought in College Station.
“When you don’t have players like Johnny and [others] there anymore, you have to really come together as a team and scrap for wins,” he told CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd.
Entering the fifth season of its SEC tenure, Texas A&M is fighting for relevance without the services of its former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. The Aggies have one season with 10-plus wins since the turn of the millennium, and Manziel was the quarterback on that team.
Playing in the SEC is tough enough, but challenging for a division title? Beating Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium? Those were real things that happened while Manziel was in town.
Since he left, the Aggies have only won twice in six tries against SEC foes in November games, and they’ve been outscored by the Crimson Tide, 100-23.
Former Manziel lineman Germain Ifedi said A&M can return to a high level of play without its prodigal son.
“I don’t think A&M needs a Johnny Manziel,” Ifedi said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I don’t think there will ever be another Johnny Manziel in college football again as far as that type of player. I think they need a solid quarterback like any team needs, but I don’t think they need a superhuman effort at quarterback to win games.”
Former running back Tra Carson was even less concerned about the position.
“I don’t think they need a star guy,” he said. “I just think they need someone who’s efficient and to do what coach (Kevin) Sumlin asks you to do, and they’ll win games.”
Allen was not the only quarterback from the 2015 roster to transfer after the season. Highly-touted freshman Kyler Murray shipped off to Oklahoma after one year on the roster.
The resulting media storm wanted an answer: What’s going on down there, exactly?
“Playing quarterback for coach Sumlin (has) got to be difficult,” Carson said. “He asks you to do a lot of things. So that’s definitely a tall task and you have to be a tough guy to do that.”
From afar, Manziel is still the golden standard on the field at A&M, but a huge distraction off it.
The quarterback is widely expected to be cut by the Cleveland Browns in the coming weeks after his involvement in allegations of kidnapping and murder-suicide threats.
“He was always a great teammate to a lot of us,” Ifedi said. “To watch what’s happened from afar, I just wish him the best and I hope if he does get released or whatever that he lands on his feet and is able to continue to put the thing on the field that we know he’s capable of.”