Friday, December 2nd, 2011
Coach Sherman was fired via cell phone last night. The powers that be at Texas A&M, after leaking information that implied his termination, gave Bill Byrne the dubious task of letting Coach Sherman go, after his family and the rest of the world already knew. I don’t know what the Board of Regents, President Bowen Loftin, or the Big Cigar Maroon Jackets were thinking or why they decided to leak the decision to fire him to the media before notifying Coach Sherman, but they did and that’s the end of an era. In fact, I will go on record now, saying that in a few years down the road, be it 2,5 or 10 Aggie Fans will look back and say, “We really screwed the pooch on that one! I wish we never would’ve let him go.”
Before I go any further, I will also say, this was a very disappointing football season for Texas A&M; we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a style I’ve never seen before from a football squad. I will also say that I’m a big fan of Coach Sherman and was happy we were able to get him.
Coach Sherman did things the RIGHT WAY. He followed the rules, recruited quality student athletes that fit not only his system but also the Texas A&M environment. I have personally met many players over the years in my time in Aggieland. To a man, Coach Sherman’s players have been a lot like him: humble, intelligent, respectful, friendly, and genuine. I will name drop here, not to brag about who I’ve met, but to brag on them for being great representatives for Texas A&M University as a whole. Jerrod Johnson, Von Miller, Jordan Peterson, Jeff Fuller, Patrick Lewis, Trent Hunter, and Terrence Frederick all stand out in my mind, but every player I’ve met who’s played for Mike Sherman have exemplified the type of quality character student athlete we want representing Texas A&M. Win or Lose, that should mean a lot to the Aggie community.
Coach Sherman has worked to improve our football facilities so we can attract better athletes to our program, he impressed upon the players to be part of the student body not above it, his players weren’t getting arrested or making news for negative reasons, and regardless of record it was a football program to be proud of. Coach Sherman didn’t make excuses, shouldered the blame himself, and held himself and his staff accountable for his team on and OFF the field.
Do I think Coach Sherman was blameless for this season’s meltdowns? NO. That being said, I was never in the locker room, on the practice field, or on the sideline for a game, so this is all speculation on my part. I do think he needed to improve on a few things from a coaching standpoint. He never developed a killer instinct in his team or a true focus, had our players had the “foot on their throat” mentality when we were up by 2 touchdowns or more…well we might be undefeated and playing LSU again, this time in the national championship game. Our execution on offense was streaky, our defensive mentality was too timid and at times outsmarting itself, and I think a lot of it has to do with the “OH NO, here we go again” mentality. Also, I think the players quit having fun and I saw it in their body language. It’s a long season, the coaches have to motivate. Ryan Tannehill was not having any fun against Texas, even when we were ahead; he was gripping about dropped balls, missed audibles, and poor decisions. The starting QB has got to be the leader on the field and in the offensive huddle, and when the leader is beating himself up or questioning his abilities, he’s not having fun, therefore no one is having fun. Football is a fun game! That’s why kids play in vacant lots and back yards across America. It feels awesome to hit an opponent, driving a defense lineman into a linebacker, a good pancake block, ear holing some defensive back standing around the pile before the whistle blows*, or any of the other number of little pleasures players get from football. Football is FUN! Somewhere along the way in 2011 I think our team forgot that, and that led to our let downs…again and again.
So we fired a coach after a very short tenure, and we dismissed him in a despicably unprofessional manner. The Big Cigars better have a New Head Coach waiting in the background ready to step in, because if we go out looking for one after the way we treated Coach Sherman, it’s not going to bode well for Texas A&M.
Next year we are going to start SEC Play, with a NEW HEAD COACH, NEW COACHING STAFF, and NEW UNTESTED QUARTERBACK. We are going to be playing division games against this year’s top 3 or 4 defenses in the nation, the 2012 National Champs will be in our division, not to mention the 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 National Champs are all in our conference. I know it’s not a popular notion, because everyone with maroon glasses on likes to think we’re the good guys in white hats, but I am going to tell you now, THAT IN TODAY’S COLLEGIATE FOOTBALL ENVIRONMENT YOU CANNOT WIN WITHOUT CHEATING AND VIOLATING NCAA RULES. Aggies old enough will recollect back to the days of Jackie Sherrill, who brought Texas A&M back into football relevance, but at a cost. I honestly don’t think our fans or the BCS community will be able to stomach the type of INSITITUTIONAL CORRUPTION AND CHEATING NECESSARY TO WIN FOOTBALL GAMES IN THE SEC. Paying players, paying recruits, paying street agents, paying parents, paying public officials and so on and so on… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Also, remember we blew the whistle on SMU, and they are just now recovering. So when we go get a Jim Tressel, Pete Carroll, or someone else willing to “Cheat to Win”, don’t whine to me when we get busted and our football program can’t make ANY MONEY, because we just fired a coach with Character and Integrity.
Coach Sherman was great in his press conference today, and appeared to be in relatively good spirits despite the way he was treated. I have no doubts that after a short vacation with his wife, he will be on an NFL sideline in 2012, as either Offensive Coordinator or a position coach, and doing what he loves to do. I only hope that he can forgive the Aggie Family for what we’ve allowed the Big Cigars and Knee Jerk Fans to do to him. I look forward to seeing him come back to Aggieland when he retires from coaching, shaking hands at tailgates, and hanging out with RC and his letterman on game days in the near future.
To Coach Sherman: Thank you so much for what you’ve done for our program and for the way you represented Texas A&M University in your tenure here and beyond. The work you have done has not been taken for granted and I commend you and your staff’s efforts. Good luck in your future endeavors, and know that you will always be welcome in Aggieland. Take care of your family, and please don’t allow the actions of a few spoil your view and experiences here at Texas A&M. Be well.
-Adam Knight ‘98
*even when I played, back when helmet to helmet contact was still legal; I got flagged for at least three 15 yard personal fouls for this little hobby, during my Senior year, but they were all worth it, cause after that pop, those DB’s heads were always on a swivel looking for number 55.