Defensive Coaching Shuffle for Texas A&M Football Yields Big Dividends
One of the most scurrilous and scorned names among Texas A&M football faithful in recent years has been that of the former Aggie LB coach, Tyler Santucci. Santucci, while a favorite among the players and a plus recruiter, nevertheless oversaw what many Aggie fans to be the most underperforming unit on the defense for Texas A&M football. It should be said, of course, that the defense overall has been excellent and the linebackers have had their moments, but overall, many of the Maroon and White faithful feel that the unit had underperformed their talent level.
Additionally, Santucci had the misfortune of being the lead recruiter in both the Harold Perkins and Anthony Hill sagas—which, if you’re unfamiliar, was back-to-back years of having the top linebacker in the country committed to Texas A&M football only to see them flip to each of your chief geographical rivals (LSU and then texas university at Austin). As I said, though Santucci was by all accounts an asset to Texas A&M football in both of those recruitments, he was to a degree the unfortunate victim of happenstance. All the same, when Mike Elko hired Santucci away to be his defensive coordinator this past offseason, Aggie fans—whether justified or not—weren’t exactly sad to see him go.
Following this minor shakeup, the head man for Texas A&M football decided, rather than hiring a new linebackers coach, to move DC DJ Durkin over linebackers, as he had a background coaching the position. This also allowed the Aggies to promote defensive assistant Bryant Gross-Armiento—a plus recruiter himself—as another secondary coach. Due to Durkin’s defensive issues last year (namely the rush defense), many Aggie fans were skeptical that this would pan out.
Cooper and York are playing absolutely amazing football for this Aggie team. They are the two leading tacklers on the defense, which is always a positive sign—the last time the Aggies had two linebackers as their leading tacklers was 2020 with Buddy Johnson and Aaron Hansford. Hopefully, this level of play will continue against some high-level offenses that the Aggies will be facing down the stretch. Also hopefully, PFF will figure out what Edgerrin Cooper looks like.