Texas A&M Football: Aggies have to stick with Murray even if Allen heals


Texas A&M freshman quarterback Kyler Murray needs to remain the starter when Kyle Allen returns from injury because Murray makes the Aggie offense more explosive. 

The Texas A&M football team has to be Kyler Murray’s team from here on out. The freshman quarterback needs to remain the starter even if Kyle Allen returns from his injury and is in good health before the season ends.

The Aggies defeated South Carolina 35-28 in Murray’s first career start. Murray completed 20 of 28 pass attempts for 223 yards with a touchdowns and no interceptions against the Gamecocks. His 71 percent completion percentage was a huge improvement over the 43 percent rate of completions that Allen had in the nine quarters since landing on his shoulder while he was sacked against Mississippi State.

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It is not Murray’s arm nor accuracy that necessitates he start the rest of the season under center. His speed offers the offense an endless number of options for moving the football, and these options are the reason that Murray has to start at quarterback.

The Aggies have an average offensive line and do not have a home run threat in the offensive backfield. Injuries have forced senior running back Tra Carson to take the majority of the rush attempts. He is a solid, powerful runner who leads the team with 646 rushing yards on the season.

Carson is not a threat to score from 60 yards out and the Aggies do not have anyone healthy with that kind of speed at the running back position. Murray possesses that kind of breakaway speed.

He can turn a small crease, or a defender leaning the wrong way into a 20-yard gain in the blink of an eye. The reality of the situation is that head coach Kevin Sumlin’s spread offense is much more effective with a dual-threat quarterback than only a passing threat.

What Aggies fans and Sumlin witnessed when Johnny Manziel was under center was that the spread offense can border on unstoppable when defenses have to account for all 11 players on the field. Like Manziel, Murray possesses the kind of running ability that can keep defensive coordinators awake at night.

You cannot send an all-out blitz after Murray because if you flush him out of the pocket he can kill you with his feet. If you try to keep him in the pocket, Murray is accurate enough to pick your secondary apart. It is a quandary that defensive coaches have not solved yet. They simply need to hope the offense makes enough mistakes to stop themselves.

Murray is nowhere near the player Manziel was when he was a redshirt freshman in 2012. Manziel will always be a bigger gambler by nature who would take risks that are not part of Murray’s game. Murray is a more polished passer and is faster than Manziel ever was. Manziel wanted to enforce his will on a defense. Murray is more apt to slowly pick it apart. As he gains more experience in the offense, Murray approach some of the numbers than Manziel put up. Aggie fans are going to have to be patient while he works his way through some inevitable freshman mistakes.

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Allen has a tremendous arm and is mobile in his own right. He just does not possess the game-breaking ability that Manziel did and Murray does when it comes to running with the football.

When the Texas A&M offensive line gets beat the result with Allen under center was often a sack. With Murray under center, there is always the possibility that he will extend the play with his feet, or simply tuck it and run for the first down.

The zone read and option are viable weapons in the running game with Murray under center. When Allen was under center they defense did not have to respect the quarterback keep. Allen is a tremendous quarterback prospect with an NFL arm, but that does not mean he is the right quarterback for Texas A&M right now.

It is not fair for a player to lose his starting job due to injury. However, life is not fair. The Aggie offense is much more explosive with a dual-threat quarterback under center. Murray has to be the starting quarterback for the Aggies for the rest of 2015 and going forward.