-- Texas A&M is on the hunt for a new defensive coordinator after Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin announced Friday that Mark Snyder has been relieved of his duties.
The defense struggled mightily throughout the second half of the season. The Aggies, who fell 23-17 to LSU on Thursday night, have allowed an average of 38.3 points and 502.5 yards in their final seven games.
This season, the Aggies rank 103rd nationally in yards allowed per game (449) and 111th in rushing defense (223.5 yards allowed per game). They yielded a season-high 384 rushing yards to LSU on Thursday.
"Mark is an outstanding coach and an even better person, but he understands the production needed to be better on the defensive side of the football," Sumlin said in a statement. "We wish he and his family all of the best moving forward."
Snyder's contract, which paid him an annual salary of $700,000, was scheduled to run through March 31, 2016. He joined Texas A&M's staff prior to the 2012 season, when Sumlin was hired.
"I appreciate the opportunity Kevin Sumlin gave me to come to Texas A&M and to work on his staff," Snyder said in a statement. "I have been in the business a while now and understand it is a production-based business."
Texas A&M went 11-2 in Snyder's first season, with the defense ranking 26th nationally in scoring and 16th nationally in third-down conversion rate. In 2013, possessing a defense littered with young and inexperienced talent, the Aggies finished last in the SEC in scoring defense, yards per game, yards per play, rushing yards per game, yards per carry, sack percentage and red zone efficiency.
This season, Texas A&M (7-5, 3-5 SEC) didn't show significant improvement. The Aggies ranked last in the league when playing other SEC teams, allowing 512.1 yards and 38.6 points per game. They were 13th in SEC play in rushing yards allowed per game (208.9).
Sumlin said linebackers coach Mark Hagen will serve as the interim defensive coordinator for the Aggies' bowl game.