Pride, Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Offense: Part One

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 17: Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies walks off the field during the second half of the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Kyle Field on September 17, 2022 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Jack Gorman/Getty Images)
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 17: Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies walks off the field during the second half of the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Kyle Field on September 17, 2022 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Jack Gorman/Getty Images) /

There comes a point in every successful coaches career, where humility is the deciding factor between your team progressing, or staying where they’re at. Adapt or die, words to live by.

Nick Saban has had to humble himself and adapt his coaching styles and schemes several times over the years. Hiring Lane Kiffin and going forward with a more modern spread offense, eight years later it certainly turned out to be the right move.

That hire was followed by bringing on Mike Locksley and Steve Sarkisian as OC’s, transforming Alabama into a wide receiver factory college football hadn’t seen before. The decision to change his offense, is one of the reasons why Saban is the greatest coach ever.

If Coach Saban didn’t change along with the always-evolving game of football, does Alabama win three more national championships after 2014? Do the Crimson Tide, not only continue to win, but win in a way that has made them even more dominant? More so than any other program in history?

I say no.

Jimbo Fisher is facing a similar decision right now.

Pride, Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Offense: Part One

Texas A&M is currently limping their way through October, holding a 3-3 record this year for a team that was #6 in the preseason polls. This was supposed to be the team, led by Fisher, where they take that next step, in becoming real contenders not only in the SEC West, but the SEC as a whole and the College Football Playoff.

2022 is Fisher’s 5th year in College Station, and after receiving a massive extension in the off-season, fans and boosters were expecting results.

Instead? A dismal 3-3 record, 1-2 in SEC play, and a patient fanbase that has become annoyed, confused, and hurt.

Fisher, as we all know, is his own offensive mind, he calls his own plays, and his scheme has not changed over the last decade, dating back to Florida State. Sure he hires offensive coordinators, who sit up in the press box, offering Fisher ideas, only to see those ideas go unused and the offense stall.

Fisher’s offense has been wildly disappointing. Yes, I know that they’ve had QB problems and injuries, but surely they can produce more than what we’ve seen. The offense has been boring, and looks even more outdated than in previous years. Fisher hasn’t even attempted to adjust his scheme to his personnel, or the injuries they’re facing.

Given the fact Fisher is expected to make $94 million over the next 9 seasons in College Station, it’s frustrating for me to look at this program, which has an abundance of talent, and yet they’re underachieving. And this is coming from a Miami fan, who flew to Texas less than a month ago, only to see my Canes lose 17-9.

Pridefulness is something I can’t stand, especially when it’s the head coach that is the one whose pride is holding back a team, and a program.

So far this year, Texas A&M’s offense is averaging 21.5 points per game, 333 yards of total offense, 213.3 passing yards and 119.7 rushing yards a game.

In the four full years he’s had at A&M, his offense has finished worse than 55th nationally twice in points scored per game. Only once, did his quarterback throw for over 3,000 yards, no wide receiver has eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards.

While other programs in the SEC are seeing their offenses reach new heights with exciting schemes and their electric offensive coordinators, Fisher is sticking with his guns, because if it ain’t broke…..he can afford to fix it.

Let me say this, the problems in Texas A&M’s program are NOT just limited to the offensive issues, but the inability to adapt, the stubbornness of Fisher, represents a lot of what’s wrong.

Yes I know, Ainias Smith is out for the year. That hurts, a lot. But an offense shouldn’t need a Heisman type quarterback like Jameis Winston, or receivers like Rashad Greene and Kelvin Benjamin, in order to have success throwing the football.

If you follow college football, you’ve probably heard of offenses running an up-tempo attack, plays ran per game is a stat that has become popular in the last five years. And it sounds like Jimbo, “ideally,” would want this type of up-tempo offense.

Tennessee’s offense is averaging 76 offensive plays per game, Mississippi State is at 73.2, Georgia at 71.7 and Ole Miss at 71. Texas A&M is averaging 59 plays per game, 127th in the nation.

But don’t think for a second, that A&M doesn’t have the players to run a more modern, fast-paced and creative offense. The great thing about recruiting at the level Fisher has done so, you have the players, talent and the speed to run almost any type of offense you want. A&M currently has 56 4-and-5 star players on the roster, and yet they scored only 14 points against App State, who has just one 4-star player.

And yet, Fisher won’t turn over play-calling duties, won’t bring in an OC with an innovative system. No, instead of adapting to the talent he does have, he’s trying to run an offense that worked in 2013, one that has to be executed perfectly, even with no injuries and players that fit the system, in order to see any progress. Fisher’s offense is far more complex than the results the Aggies are seeing from running it.

But hey, this is the offense that led him to his first head coaching job in 2010, surely it’ll work in 2022, even if it hasn’t for the last few years.

Bottom line, this is going to be one of the bigger hurdles Fisher has to overcome. Blue chip ratio is important, but if you don’t use them right, what’s the point? You have the talent to be a top-10 offense on a yearly basis, but you’d rather stick with the system that was effective back when they were making NCAA Football games.

Fisher has to humble himself, adapt or die, one of my favorite sayings, especially when it comes to football.

Next. 3 names to watch for in potential SEC coaching searches. dark

Part two of this article will be following.