Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher has begun his offseason speaking circuit, and boy did it start with a bang. He was asked at a Touchdown Club of Houston gathering on Wednesday night, “What’s the key other than Saban retiring to finally beating Alabama?” And while the full answer was more nuanced, he did not mince words with his initial response:
“We’re gonna beat his ass even when he’s there.”
The internet has responded, mostly with other fanbases laughing at Fisher’s bravado, given both A&M’s haplessness against the Tide over the last eight seasons, and just the general stranglehold that Nick Saban’s program has had on the college football world since he arrived in Tuscaloosa. SB Nation’s very own Alabama team site Roll Bama Roll went so far as to call Fisher’s statement “locker room material.” This implies that Alabama players and coaches, or those at any elite program, derive their motivation from external forces, which I think is just wrong. Those who strive to be great, Nick Saban chiefly among them, are motivated by the internal drive to be great, and that drive will be there whether you choose to be deferential to them or not. Alabama isn’t going to prepare for you less or not play as hard on Saturday because you were nice to them in May.
It isn’t Jimbo Fisher’s job to bow to the greatness of Nick Saban (even if he deserves it). It’s Fisher’s job to do everything in his power to bring the A&M program to a level where they can compete with and even beat the Alabamas of the world. It’s why he was given the largest contract in college football history, and why we gave him that stupid dateless national championship plaque three years ago. Fisher knew what the expectations were when he arrived in College Station, and he is passing that same high standard on to his players.
Here’s a sampling of other quotes Jimbo has uttered this offseason:
- During the trophy presentation at the Orange Bowl, he finished his statement with, “We ain’t done yet.”
- During an SEC Network interview on Signing Day: “We want to be in the Playoff and we want to win a national championship....We feel like we can be there and we expect to be there.”
- When asked last night what he thought about A&M’s #4 finish in 2020, he said “It needs to be three spots higher.”
- “We’re in a two-ring world right now,” saying his players need to get an Aggie Ring and a national championship ring
Poke fun if you want, but the standard that Jimbo is setting is clear. He has set that standard for his players, and he’s making it publicly known what those standards are. In a world where we critique coaches and athletes for spouting benign coach-speak that doesn’t really tell us anything, I love Jimbo for actually answering questions with honesty and passion.
Might Alabama beat the Aggies this fall? Of course. Perhaps even convincingly, again. But the outcome of that game won’t be negatively affected by what he said on Wednesday night. Rather, Fisher’s words last night, and throughout the offseason, and over the course of his tenure in Aggieland, are about building a culture of success and demanding excellence, even when others think your expectations are absurd.
It would have seemed absurd to outsiders to predict that A&M would go 2-1 against LSU in Fisher’s first three years considering the Aggies were 0-6 against the Tigers since joining the SEC. It would have seemed absurd to predict A&M would have a top four finish in year three considering they hadn’t done so in more than 50 years. It would have seemed absurd to predict A&M would have three straight top 10 recruiting classes, since they had never done so in program history.
Most people who have ambitious goals look silly until they make them happen. Let’s make it happen.
What do you think of Jimbo’s comments?
This poll is closed
Love it. LFG!!!
I like the confidence but maybe we should beat them first
He shouldn’t poke the bear