Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne will have a tough decision to make in the offseason. The Aggies will be joining the SEC, which is college football’s elite conference. At the same time, Texas A&M has had one epic second half collapse after another under current head coach Mike Sherman.
Going into today’s game versus Oklahoma, the Aggies had led in all three of their losses on the season. Coming into this season, Texas A&M was improving each season under Sherman. However, this season could lead to another step backwards.
Entering the SEC will heighten any flaws that the Aggies have, and failure to adjust to these changes could lead to them being bottom feeders of their new division.
The first decision that Byrne must decide is not if Sherman is the right coach to lead A&M into the SEC. It is how much money they are willing to invest in the Aggies coaching staff.
If the head coaching salaries remain the same next season, Sherman will rank eighth out of 14 head coaches. Can Sherman lead them to be the eighth best team in the SEC? Without a doubt.
If you are willing to spend more money on the coaching staff, the question then becomes: Who could you get to coach at A&M for the price you are willing to pay? You are not going to get a better coach than Sherman for less than $3.5 million. Perhaps more because most coaches do not want to play second fiddle to the Texas Long Horns.
This is the decision so many schools fail to answer before they fire their current coach. Is the person you want to bring in a better coach than the one you have? Moreover, is the risk of falling further behind under a new head coach worth the potential reward of improving?
Look at the University of Tennessee and the University of Florida. Both schools are Top 15 coaching jobs. However, both had trouble finding coaches with worthy credentials. As a result, both schools appear to be on the decline. Will Muschamp and Derek Dooley could turn their programs around, but there is no guarantee and very few signs that they will.
Once the Texas A&M administration reviews all of its options, I believe they are going to find that the best option is to keep Mike Sherman but give him more money to spend on his coaching staff. The Aggies need to bring in an elite level defensive coordinator if they are going to compete in the SEC.
Under Sherman, the Aggies are scoring enough points, but they will need a strong defense to win in the SEC. The reason they are folding in the second half is because they do not have a defense that is able to help the team sit on a lead.
The Aggies have the talent and recruiting base to compete in the SEC. They have a head coach who is talented enough to win games. What they do not have is a defense that will help them compete with the top-tier SEC teams year in and year out.
The answer is spending the money to get a new coach but it needs to be a defensive coordinator.