Q&A About Texas A&M Football vs. the Bulldogs
Being the diplomats we are here at Gig ‘Em Gazette, it’s time to reach across enemy lines and see what the foes make of this matchup between Texas A&M football and Mississippi State, as well as to learn a little more about the temperature of the fanbase in general. Thanks to Evan Ertel of Maroon and White Nation for answering my questions on this one! Also be sure to check out the Q&A that we did with them earlier in the week.
Gig ‘Em Gazette: How are State fans feeling about the decision to hand the reins to Zach Arnett?
Ertel: Not great, Bob! The circumstances of his hiring were difficult, to say the least, but I don’t think you would find many people who said it was the wrong move at the time. It kept some continuity in the program and familiarity in the building, which I think were both important at the time. But, I think after an uninspiring 4-5 record through some very winnable games, fans are ready to see if the new Athletic Director, Zack Selmon, can find someone to lead the program long-term. After a big decommitment this week by a Starkville native, I think the urgency levels have started to rise on finding a real direction for Mississippi State football.
Gig ‘Em Gazette: Do you think that the Bulldogs would have had greater offensive success if they had not switched schemes to what Barbay has been running?
Ertel: I think that is tough to say because no matter who they asked to call pays this year, the main thing to keep in mind is that it simply wasn’t going to be Mike Leach. There is not a mind on this planet that could even try to replicate what he did on the sidelines, so I think it is somewhat of an unfair assessment for whoever the play-caller for the Bulldogs was or will be this season. That said, I do think there has been an issue of the coaching staff not shifting their schemes to the talent that is on the roster. Will Rogers played a very specific type of football during his time with Leach, and getting him to shift in a single offseason was quite an ask. Then you remove him from the picture entirely for a few weeks due to injury, and you’re back at square one with a guy who plays a completely different style, in Mike Wright. Long story short, it is a mess, but it really was never not going to be a mess. Not sure that makes sense but we’re going to run with it.