Texas A&M's defense, which has already struggled to the tune of 477 yards and 31 points allowed per game, will officially be without the services of defensive tackle Kirby Ennis, perhaps its best player, for the rest of the season.
According to Sam Khan Jr. of ESPN, head coach Kevin Sumlin confirmed the news of Ennis' ACL tear:
A&M starting DT Kirby Ennis is having knee surgery and is out for the season. Torn ACL per Kevin Sumlin.— Sam Khan Jr. (@skhanjr) October 8, 2013
On starting at frosh at DT as a result of Kirby Ennis injury, Sumlin said "This isn't the NFL. I can't call Bob Stoops and trade for a guy."— ESPN Texas A&M (@ESPNTAMU) October 8, 2013
Ennis limped off the field with a knee injury against Arkansas two weeks ago, but at first the wound didn't seem that serious. According to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com, he simply put on a brace and returned to the game.
Only later on in the week did people realize the severity of his tear.
Though he's only made six tackles this season, Ennis was an invaluable force in the middle of A&M's defense. He occupied blockers at the point of attack and freed up tackling lanes for the Aggies' underwhelming cast of linebackers.
Without him plugging up the A-gap, Texas A&M's defense might unthinkably get worse. It's already ceded an SEC-worst 215 yards per game on the ground, and that number could now stand to grow.
By controlling the line of scrimmage and moving the ball on the ground, opponents are able to keep Johnny Manziel and the high-powered A&M offense off the field for as long as possible.
Not only do they drive down for points of their own, they're able to neutralize how many points the opposing offense can score.
If Isaiah Golden, the true freshman who will start in Ennis' place, and whomever is worked in behind him, don't step up big, this injury could have catastrophic effects.