Your Texas A&M Aggies face the Arkansas Razorbacks this Saturday, and one of the big talking points of the matchup is Chad Morris facing is alma mater. Morris graduated from A&M in 1992, and as you’d expect, was long-rumored to be extremely interested in becoming the Aggies’ head football coach. He took himself out of the running for the coaching vacancy at Baylor in 2016 by signing an extension at SMU, and many assumed it was because he was biding his time to take over in College Station if and when Kevin Sumlin was fired in 2017.
Obviously A&M went a different way, hiring a national championship coach in Jimbo Fisher in lieu of the hometown hero, and Morris went to Fayetteville to take over a Razorback program currently on a six-game losing streak to the Aggies. He hopes to end that streak on Saturday, but I’ll be damned if he’s gonna say the name of the school his team is playing.
SEC Media Days, July 17, 2018
Brent Zwerneman: “How special is it that you’re coaching in the same division as your alma mater, and do you like playing the Aggies in Arlington every year?”
Morris: “Well first of all, from just being a high school football coach and to sit here on this stage in the SEC, there’s a lot of high school coaches right now that are watching. They’re saying ‘if that guy can do it, I wanna do it.’ So for me to have the platform as a high school coach to represent the high school coaches all across the country, regardless of what state, because I’ve recruited across this entire country, and to see the phenomenal high school coaches, and to know that man, there’s an opportunity that one day I could be there. One day I could coach in the SEC, I could be on that stage as a head football coach. That excites me. Being from the state of Texas, and playing the teams that we play, we’ve got a lot of teams to play before we get to the one in Arlington. So we’re gonna focus first and foremost on the Arkansas Razorbacks and becoming the best we can be every day. I’m excited regardless of where we play. That’s just who I am. If you know me, and obviously you probably do from my high school background, I’m just excited about the opportunity to impact lives. And coaching football is what we do, but it’s not who I am.”
Well maybe he just didn’t like being asked an A&M question right out of the gate. He’s a new coach and wants to keep the focus on his new team. Surely he’s not just avoiding saying the school’s name out of bitterness.
Let’s fast-forward a couple of months. It’s now A&M game week, surely Coach Morris is up for talking about A&M now.
Weekly Press Conference, Sept. 24, 2018
From opening statement: “We’ve got a very tough opponent this week. Another tough one. I’ve played against Coach Fisher and his teams several times, and they’re battle-tested. They’ve played the number one and number two ranked teams, so they’re battle tested. They’ve got eight returning starters on both sides of the ball, a lot of guys that have played a lot of ball over the last couple of years. And this is a game that’s gone to the end each of the last several years down in Dallas. Arkansas has lost the last six meetings, and that’s an area that our players understand, and our fanbase. This is an offense that leads the league, they’re seventh in the country in total offense. They’ve got a strong rush defense, they’re third in the league. But if gives us a chance to go back to Texas, it’s a huge recruiting area for us, a lot of relationships. And I l know our guys will continue to get better every day, and that’s what we’re gonna continue to ask of em , and we’re gonna continue to focus on the Arkansas Razorbacks.”
Holy ambiguous pronoun reference, Batman!
Question: “I know you didn’t play ball there, but how’d you end up going to A&M and what are your feelings about playing your alma mater?”
Morris: “Well, it’s like playing anybody else. It’s an opponent. I’m focus on the Arkansas Razorbacks and getting us better. I chose to go there, I mean I grew up and that’s where I wanted to go to school, and that was just kinda a dream, and that’s kinda how I got there.”
I’m starting to wonder if Chad has some kind of word substitution macro uploaded into his brain.
Question: “You’ve never coached in AT&T Stadium. What do you anticipate that being like? It’s obviously one of the great stadiums around. And how do you feel about the game being played there every year at a neutral site? Some people would rather it be a home-and-home.”
Morris: “I’m extremely excited about going there. I’ve seen many games there, and I’m excited about it. It is the best stadium in the country, and I’m excited about being a part of it. I’m excited about being a part of this rivalry. This is something that we’ve talked about as part of our vision, is to, um, ya know, this is the Southwest, um, game, and um this is something we’ve talked about, and these players understand that. So I’m excited about that. I think that playing in Dallas, we’ve got a huge alumni, and a huge fanbase there in Dallas, and I’m excited to go see our fanbase show up and call the hogs and to be a very loud environment Saturday morning. Look I’m excited about playing at AT&T regardless of whoever wherever, it makes no difference.”
So would you say you’re excited?
Question: Obviously coach Chavis coached at A&M the last few years. Do you get a sense that this game means anything extra to him?
Morris: “Well every game means something to him. He’s a very passionate coach, and very experienced, and he’s be in this business a long time. I think he’s a professional and regardless of who we’re playing, he’s excited and he’s ready to go. I think we’re all a little extra excited. We get a little extra excited every week because we get to come back in here and get better, and come back in here to have another opportunity to get this program better and playing again.”
Not since Tom Herman had perhaps the greatest punter in collegiate history on his team have we seen this level of blatant disrespect.