Kenny "Trill" might become Kenny "Chill" soon.
As in, chilling on the bench.
Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital announced on Tuesday that the quarterback job that once belonged to sophomore Kenny Hill is now open, and true freshman Kyle Allen will compete to win the job this week as the Aggies prepare for Louisiana-Monroe (via: TexAgs.com):
Hill leads the SEC with 331.1 passing yards per game and 23 touchdown passes but has thrown seven interceptions against SEC competition—six of which have come in the last three games, all of which were losses.
Allen, the top pro-style passer in the class of 2014, is 23-of-38 for 264 yards, three touchdowns and two picks this year, primarily playing in mop-up duty for the Aggies. Spavital told TexAgs.com that Allen was in disbelief when he was told that the battle was open again.
It's the right time for Texas A&M to make a change. After all, ULM shouldn't present much of a challenge, and whoever wins the job this time around needs full first-team reps this week before the Aggies go on the road to Auburn on Nov. 8.
Is that really the problem, though?
Spavital and head coach Kevin Sumlin's play-calling has been wildly unbalanced this year. The Aggies have thrown 359 passes this season while running only 249 rushing plays. This despite having Tra Carson, Trey Williams and Brandon Williams lining up behind (or alongside) Hill in the Aggies backfield.
Are those numbers skewed due to Texas A&M being behind in games and forced to throw itself out of a hole? Not really. Sure, 102 of his passes have come when the Aggies are down by 15 or more points. That's not surprising.
|Kenny Hill's Situational Passing Stats|
|Winning by 15+||56||36||64.3||519||4||0|
|Winning by 8-14||20||14||70.0||237||3||0|
|Winning by 1-7||43||33||76.7||402||5||1|
|Losing by 1-7||26||15||57.7||193||2||1|
|Losing by 8-14||21||12||57.1||158||1||3|
|Losing by 15+||103||70||68.6||734||5||3|
Is there a good reason, though, for his second-most attempts to come when the Aggies are up by 15 or more?
Maybe it was the breakout performance in the season opener, maybe it was the small village of physically talented wide receivers, and maybe it was a desire by Sumlin and Spavital to go back to the air raid system that made Sumlin successful at Houston. But Hill clearly isn't ready to be Case Keenum.
He can be Kenny Hill, though, and a change in the way Texas A&M calls plays would certainly help. That would mean more structured zone read, more running responsibilities to the running backs and a more conservative approach.
Who knows? Maybe that would even help out an Aggies defense that's become more of a punchline than a power under Sumlin.
Whether it's Hill or Allen taking the snaps, Texas A&M needs a philosophical tweak to what it does offensively. It needs to be more conservative and run the football instead of trying to force an identity on its offense. If that coincides with a quarterback change to Allen, that's fine. If Hill wins the job again, that's fine, too.
The Aggies rank 11th in the SEC in rushing with 151.63 yards per game on the ground, and those 249 attempts are the third-fewest in the conference.
Change that, and the fortunes of the Aggies will also change.
Until that happens, either Hill or Allen will have to become Joe Montana down the stretch. Otherwise, this will be a lost season in College Station.
Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a co-host of the CFB Hangover on Bleacher Report Radio (Sundays, 9-11 a.m. ET) on Sirius 93, XM 208.