Texas A&M football has mostly been a program based on hope and possibility. We’re a sleeping giant, we’ve got everything we need, the future is bright etc. In my 42 years on this planet we are an 8-4 program...and 8-4 is like the absolute worst record because it could be worse (as we’re seeing right now) but it’s not all that far from being better. We know that and we’re arrogant in how hopeful we are as to how soon it’s going to be our turn. We’re next.
Jimbo Fisher is outstanding at selling and capitalizing on that hope. And to be fair, he’s done some things to actually make us believe that he could be the one to get us to that promised land we’ve been dreaming of for generations. 9 wins in year 1 including a dramatic finish over LSU, a top 4 finish in year 3, the improbable Bama win last year, the #1 recruiting class of all time...like all of those are tangible things that Jimbo has done to feed into this narrative of hope and potential, and he deserves credit for that.
But given where we are right now that narrative seems to fall flat. You are what your record says you are and in year 6 we are 3-5 and 1-4 in conference play.
But here’s the most f-ed up thing of it all. I woke up hopeful...not because of Jimbo. But because of this roster being full of young upperclassmen who are incredibly talented and showed it on the dang field last night. I woke up hopeful because we saw a QB in his first-ever start put together a really solid performance. We saw 17-year-old kids (LT Overton) making plays all over the field. I’m hopeful right now because of this roster.
The best thing Jimbo can do to facilitate hope in his program is to realize that his job isn't to be the focal point of this team. Rather it’s to set this program up to succeed and success means him getting out of the way a little bit. We need him to give up the playsheet not because his offensive play calling is hurting the team but because his adamant vise tight grasp on that play sheet is making him miss the bigger picture of in-game management.
I talked about the fourth and short last week. This week it’s about that fake punt. They were in a bunched formation and if we were paying attention to what was going on alarm bells should have been signaling in our brains. That’s either a timeout situation or a yell at the special teams coach (which is whom exactly?) to play safe or something. Similarly game on the line a QB who’s playing well...and somehow we end up with a personnel grouping that includes a never-used (but talented!) TE who lets a catchable ball go through his fingers.
I’ve said this before but this program is hugely Jimbo-centric. And Jimbo deserves credit for putting this roster together-he’s elite at recruiting, but in the same way that simplifying the offense and giving Conner simple one-read concepts allowed for us to play faster and made the entire offense look better...Jimbo needs to step back from the small picture and direct all of his attention to the big picture. Roster building, recruiting, making up for the bad hires he made last season...managing the dang program.
The contract we have with Jimbo is both a blessing and a curse. A curse because perhaps there’s a coach out there who won't be as Jimbo as Jimbo is. But a blessing in that Jimbo staying likely keeps the core of this roster together and that this contract and guaranteed longevity of Jimbo in this position makes our OC position an attractive job—provided that Jimbo can step back and make the roster the focal point of the hope for this program.
Like a total sucker, I woke up hopeful for this team and this program based on the performance I saw from our young players last night. Discipline is one of the mottos for this program, and discipline, to me, means effective use of restraint. Right now we need Jimbo to show restraint in how he manages himself in relation to his current job.
My hope is that leader of this program recognizes that the best thing he can do for this program is to get out of the way a bit and focus on facilitating the process by which potential is realized.