Things can move really fast in college football, and we’re not talking about the widespread takeover of no-huddle offenses.
Look at Texas A&M, for instance. It entered 2015 with offensive coordinator Jake Spavital designing plays for a couple of former five-star, sky-is-the-limit quarterback recruits, Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray. Excitement reached a fever-pitch for an Aggies ambush of the SEC West.
It never happened. There was reported discord, apparently between Spavital and offense line coach Dave Christensen, and coaches and quarterbacks. An 8-5 season after a 5-0 start happened. And just like that, Spavital, Christensen, Allen and Murray are all gone.
A&M’s newest offensive coordinator, Noel Mazzone, fresh off a stint with UCLA and some 30 years removed from his days as TCU’s quarterbacks coach, has arrived to revive the Ags. Mazzone, in meeting with the media this week as the Aggies ramp up spring practices, has helped a lot of Aggies fans back away from the ledge.
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He said he’s at A&M strictly because he and coach Kevin Sumlin – or “Summy” as Mazzone called him – share similar offensive principles. He said he’s already getting along great with new offensive line coach Jim Turner – “J.T.? Got to like him, huh? If he’d get rid of those dang high-top Adidas, I’d really like him.” – and he’s expressed confidence in Oklahoma transfer quarterback Trevor Knight, who lost his job last year to Baker Mayfield.
Knight, who was once so hot as the Sooners’ QB that pop star Katy Perry on national TV requested the QB call her, will compete for the starting job at A&M with Jake Hubenak. Hubenak was the Aggies’ third-stringer last year, and mostly watched the Spavital-Allen-Murray freefall from the sideline, and behind his keyboard from where he tweeted a cryptic message or two during the whole ordeal. Oh, Hubenak also tweeted his vote for Mayfield for the Heisman.
Maybe Knight will have a good sense of humor about that one. The two do seem to be getting along fine since Knight’s arrival in College Station in January.
Mazzone, a former quarterback at New Mexico, certainly doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously – and the Aggies could use some lightheartedness – while getting the most out of his quarterbacks.
In his most recent stops, he’s produced results with his version of the “spread” offense, one Mazzone says will use the run game more, but still obviously revolves around a QB who can throw it.
Each of Mazzone’s last three quarterbacks, Josh Rosen and Brett Hundley at UCLA, and Brock Osweiler (perhaps you’ve heard of him recently) at Arizona State all threw for more than 3,000 yards and more than 20 touchdowns in each season under Mazzone.
“In this system, I’ve had Brock Osweiler and I went from Osweiler to Brett Hundley and then from Brett Hundley to Josh Rosen – three completely different types of talents,” Mazzone said. “I think there’s enough, hopefully enough, in this offense that it kind of fits the talent of the guy at quarterback without us having to do a lot of major changes. Both of them have had success in the last few days in the things we do.”