Kyle Allen spoke to 24/7 for the first in depth interview as to why he left the program and Allen's answers were very interesting.
When asked why he left A&M, Allen blamed part of the transfer on the culture around the program. “I think the culture was a big part of it, and I think that stems from Johnny's era there -- the way that they let Johnny and [others] act there,” said Allen, in the 247Sports Composite for 2014. “They [could] do that and still win games because they had Johnny … and five offensive linemen playing in the NFL right now.”
Allen went on “A lot of people were riding off that, ‘I can do whatever the hell I want and win on Saturday."
“When you don't have players like Johnny and [others] there anymore, you have to really come together as a team and scrap for wins,” Allen said.
“We had a lot of people who were talking about the same goal but weren't all committed and on the same page to get to that goal," Allen said. “For you to win in the SEC -- especially the SEC West -- 10 games a year and be a controlling powerhouse in that conference, you can't have a bunch of people going different ways. Everyone wasn't in a straight line. Everyone was going this way, this way, this way. We had a ton of talent there. I think that, once you get all the right coaches there and get the vision right, you can do a lot of things.”
Allen thought A&M's new facilities added to the culture problem at A&M “At the end of the day, football is still football,” Allen said. “It helps recruiting a lot [at a Power Five program]. Our big player lounge [at A&M], our big scoreboard -- it's a recruiting tool. But when it comes down to it, at some level, it can hurt a team. Having all of that at such a young age, we didn't do much to deserve that. I don't think I realized it until I got here.”
Allen also maybe, kind of took a shot his former coach “Usually, you see Houston as a stepping stone for most coaches, just like Coach Sumlin was from Houston to A&M,” Allen said. “I think the university is trying to change that.”
Interesting stuff, regardless of the truth the perception is being used against A&M on the recruiting trail. Rumor has it Bob Stoops had Kyler Murray talk to recruits considering OU and A&M to let them know about the culture at A&M. There were bits and pieces of this same tactic used by Texas in their recruitment of Malik Jefferson last year. The way the Longhorns finished 2016's recruiting class, it's hard to argue that the Horns are winning the culture war on some level.
Personally, I think it's very easy for a player who transfers to blame things like culture or work ethic to justify why he's totally happy at his new place. I doubt Sumlin or A&M will have any official response. Former players like Sean Porter have already come out criticizing Allen and his comments.
The Johnny Manziel stuff is really interesting in terms of timing and substance. Manziel is obviously going through some serious issues that could effect his future not only as a football player but also criminally. Manziel's time at A&M was historic, in particular in recent history. The Aggies were cool, popular, relevant, and, most importantly, winning. Sumlin was the hip, cool coach who let the players play. DJ's at practice, a barber shop in the football building, a true players coach.
Two seasons later, and a number of off field issues later, Sumlin was running an undisciplined program. Players were committing crimes, serious crimes, getting popped for pot, and transferring. And Johnny football was partying on swans and missing meetings in the NFL. Perception grew. At the same time, A&M was getting blown out by conference elites. That may be the bigger problem.
The best responses to these accusations and the perceptions are wins. The Aggies can overcome what the Kyle Allen's and Kyler Murray's are saying by winning. It cures everything. Until then the perceptions will continue to become reality.