It's that magical time of year when people thoughts turn to spending time with loved ones, overeating and telling everyone you know why your team shouldn't have been left out of the college football playoff. Unfortunately, it's also the time of year where massive coaching changes and player transfers seem to suck the life out of a program. We've seen the craziness down at College Station with Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen transferring and unconfirmed rumors about how the A&M chancellor is trying to fire Kevin Sumlin.
We've also had our own batch of concerns with over half the coaching staff either leaving for other jobs or released outright. Mike Smith, Trey Haverty and Kevin Curtis all "fired", with Mike Jinks leaving for Bowling Green and Darrin Chiaverini leaving for his alma mater, Colorado. Leaving just David Gibbs, Zac Spavital, and Eric Morris remaining. We also heard news last week of Derrick Dixon, Jalen Barnes and Mike Mitchell all transferring. We of course wish them all well, but most Red Raider fans have had at least a fleeting feeling of panic. Oh, not to mention my piece on Davis Webb needing to transfer.. haha.
I think everyone in the Texas Tech fan base have become jaded through the Tuberville attrition during his era and with the still ongoing Mayfield drama and the way he left and transferred to Oklahoma. The idea that if a player transfers, it comes as a shock to the coaching staff that is left scrambling to recover or something that points to a larger issue within the program itself. It is easy for us to point at A&M and say it's going downhill fast for them, yet try to remain optimistic about our own issues with coaching staff turnover and defensive player transfers.
I'll admit. It doesn't look good at first glance. Three of four defensive assistants let go and 3 defensive players transfer for a program that hasn't had back to back years of good defense since 2008-2009. However, I'm not worried in the least and you shouldn't be either. And here's why...
Often times, player transfers don't come as a shock to the coaching staff. These are players that have made their feelings known in private to coaches and in many cases, in public as well. Once a player has made their feelings of discontent public, it's all but certain that those players are on their way out. They just burned a bridge that the coach won't forget easily and more than likely, at that point is ready to move on anyway. As was the case with recent transfer Derrick Dixon. Where on Twitter, he started posting about his unhappiness in early November.
Bro I want to play football again this school taking me for granted— Derrick Dixon (@_2DDD2_) November 14, 2015
Say what you want to say but I'm not happy here— Derrick Dixon (@_2DDD2_) November 14, 2015
Derrick went on to tweet his displeasure over the next several weeks leading up to his announcement he was transferring. I really like Derrick as a Freshman, but with the emergence of Jah'Shawn Johnson and the group of redshirts, that we fans tend to forget about each year, it may have been the best for both. Tech may have allowed him to realize he needed to transfer because they just didn't see a starting role for him with how recruiting went. Who knows? When you recruit someone, you never know how the next class will affect the previous. Look at Webb and Mahomes. As far as Jalen Barnes goes, he didn't record a tackle since Week 2. And come to think about it, I don't remember he being in the secondary all that much this year.
Mike Mitchell is the real conundrum. 5-star transfer from Ohio State, with expectations, based on potential and athleticism, to rival Kingsbury's arrival in Lubbock 3 years ago. He was supposed to be a defensive force and become a 3 year anchor to the defense. Not only to the players on the field, but help in future recruiting and draw other high profile talent to the program. Obviously, it didn't work out. After sitting out last year due to transfer rules, he was mixed in here and there the first few games of the year, before becoming injured for the majority of the season. He game back the last few weeks to play mainly on special teams coverage. There were reports that he chose to transfer to Tech to be closer to his family, and talk among VTM writers that his family may have moved, causing him to seek a transfer again.
Again, 3 players transferred out of the program, none had any meaningful impact on the program this year. That's not to say they aren't' good players or couldn't cut it, but the factors surrounding playing time are numerous and points to why fans get nervous about coaching turnover and how it will affect recruits signing at that school. We wish them the best, there is no real cause of alarm.
Jamile Johnson Jr, was redshirted this year. He's a DB, 4-star recruit and an ESPN Top 300 recruit. Oh yeah!
Dakota Allen wasn't originally supposed to have the year he did, but everyone knows he's a star and along with Kris Williams' play during Mitchell's injury may have affected Mitchell's ability to get back on the field.
And Christian Taylor. Also redshirted this year. Safety. 3-star recruit by ESPN with a rating of 78.
There is help coming. And when you build a monster... you play long term.
We wish the best to Derrick, Jalen and Mike and will probably be cheering for them wherever they end up. But fans should understand that no matter how much we want it to be, college athletics is not static. There is player turnover, coach turnover and an ever changing landscape of falling powerhouses (Texas), rising nobodies (Baylor) and an the exciting anticipation of recruiting visits and rankings.
With Kolin Hill and Ondre Pipkins transfering in, you just gotta role with it. That's why I learned to stop worrying and to love transfers.