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The Coach Behind the A&M Defense

By: John Harris

When the coaching carousel hits annually in early December, it’s atypical for many to spend time talking about assistant coaches. In the media, all of the discussion points to head coaches getting fired, moving on and, in some cases, moving up to the NFL. This past winter, though, it was a little different in Aggieland as there was no head coach movement with Kevin Sumlin still entrenched as Texas A&M’s head coach. Yet, there was still PLENTY of chatter.

The Aggies needed a defensive coordinator and the search was taking a lot longer than most Aggie fans wanted. They were getting antsy. They wanted Will Muschamp. They wanted Bill Belichick. They wanted the next coming of Buddy Ryan. It’s not unusual for fan bases across the nation to want what they can’t have.

Word leaked of a potential John Chavis hire at Texas A&M around New Year’s Eve and it threw many in the college football world for a loop. It didn’t seem possible for Sumlin to convince Chavis to leave LSU and come to College Station to right the Aggies’ wrong, so to speak. But, he did and after last Saturday, that’s looking like one of the best hires Sumlin’s ever made.

All the Aggie defense did, under Chavis’ guidance, was hold Arizona State under 300 yards total offense, under 100 yards rushing and under 200 yards passing. Chavis’ defense registered nine sacks, five forced fumbles and 14 total tackles for a loss. It held the Sun Devils to 17 points, the lowest total for a Power 5 conference opponent since Oklahoma’s 13 points in the 2013 Cotton Bowl.

Remember when I said we didn’t talk about assistant coaches much? Well, Chavis has been the talk of college football after that performance and his defense could be the difference in the Aggies playing in late December or early January at the conclusion of this season.


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