Adjustments Kyle Allen Must Make to Land Texas A&M's Starting QB Job in 2014

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJanuary 9, 2014

Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain) QB Kyle Allen
Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain) QB Kyle AllenSoobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The new era of college football in College Station began on Wednesday, when quarterback Johnny Manziel officially left Texas A&M in favor of greener pastures in the NFL.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and 2013 Heisman Trophy finalist closed the book on his college career after writing chapter upon chapter littered with eye-popping statistics, mind-boggling highlights and, yes, quite a few parties.

So who's the next man up?

Matt Joeckel is the veteran, Kenny Hill—who I wrote should get the job—is the electrifying dual threat who's as much of a Manziel clone as there is on the roster and incoming freshman Kyle Allen is the new kid on the block.

According to, Allen is a 5-star prospect in the class of 2014 and ranked as the top pro-style quarterback prospect in the country. He signed a financial aid agreement with the program, will enroll this semester and participate in spring practice.

What will it take for Allen to win the job?


He Doesn't Need to Be Fast, Just Quick

Head coach Kevin Sumlin has already has that he is willing and able to adjust his system to his personnel.

The wide-open, air raid attack he utilized with Case Keenum at Houston isn't the same as what he employed with Manziel over the last two seasons, even though they do share similarities. Sumlin adjusts to his personnel and his personnel is used to having a quarterback that can move.

Texas A&M QB commit Kyle Allen
Texas A&M QB commit Kyle AllenSoobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Allen won't be breaking any records in the 40-yard dash, but can move enough to buy himself some time. He does have to work on his footwork, though.

When he gets moved off of his launch point, sometimes he takes a while to get going. That doesn't hurt him at the high school level all that much because his first option is usually open and he gets the ball there on time.

At the college level, however that will change. Defenses are faster and more creative, which means that he is going to have to react quickly when the heat gets dialed up. Consistently recognizing and reacting to that is job No. 1.


Familiarize Himself with the Playbook and Personnel...and Vice Versa

Sumlin has already proven that he can adjust to his quarterback, but can his players?

After two seasons with the most dynamic player in college football, the onus is also on them to get to know how each of the new quarterback contenders think and throw.

Texas A&M QB commit Kyle Allen
Texas A&M QB commit Kyle

That's on them as much as it is on Allen, and despite having the luxury of going through spring, he'll be fighting an uphill battle against Hill and Joeckel, who are already relatively known commodities to the rest of the Aggie roster.

The door is open, and the one thing Allen—or any contender—doesn't want to do is have it shut with him standing on the outside. 

Manziel was great during his Heisman Trophy year of 2012, but progressed as a passer in 2013 due to his ability to go through his progressions quickly, without panicking, and find the open targeteven if it was his third or fourth option. 

Allen doesn't have Manziel's wheels, so making sure he has this aspect of his game down during spring practice is imperative.


Jan 4, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; West quarterback Kyle Allen (10) tries to escape from pressure during U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football game at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Find a Go-To Receiver

Manziel had his ultimate insurance policy in wide receiver Mike Evans, but the 6'5", 225-pounder will join Johnny Football at the next level.

Different quarterbacks click with different wide receivers and Allen can make up for the fact that he's the new kid on the block by developing that chemistry with a wide receiver early when coaches aren't around so that he has confidence once he hits the practice field.

If Allen can find one guy he has confidence in, it will provide him with a solid foundation to work off of once the battle begins.

He doesn't need to win the job this spring, he just has to be within shouting distance. If he can do that, he'll have a shot.