Aggies report Wednesday for first camp under new coach Jimbo Fisher
The Jimbo Fisher regime heats up Wednesday with players reporting for fall camp. Fisher has spent 239 days providing optimism to a program that had grown stagnant until his introductory press conference as Texas A&M’s football coach. The excitement should spike with the season opener less than a month away.
“I’m going to say that my impression of him haven’t really changed,” junior offensive lineman Erik McCoy said at Southeastern Conference Media Days last month. “I was excited when he got hired, and I’m still excited he is here. We are getting ready for the season. He is an intense guy, and I love that.”
Fisher replaces Kevin Sumlin, who had a riveting 20-6 start that coincided with A&M’s move into the SEC. But the Aggies are 31-21 since and haven’t won more than eight games in a season. Fisher won less than eight games only once in eight seasons at Florida State, going 83-23 highlighted by a national championship in 2013.
At his introductory press conference on Dec. 4, Fisher joked that “yesterday” would be a reasonable time frame for him to turn a good college football program an elite one. Many laughed, but he was as serious as his 10-year, $75 million contract.
“People are never going to put more pressure on me than I put on myself in this business,” Fisher said at the SEC Media Days.
A&M is picked to finish fourth behind Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State in the SEC Western Division. The Aggies went 7-6 last season, including a 4-4 league record for a fourth-place tie in the SEC West with MSU.
“I don’t have any personal goals set aside,” A&M junior running back Trayveon Williams said. “I’m focused on winning. We need a 10-plus win season, a bowl-game win, the SEC West and the SEC. Those personal goals will come, but I just want to win. My teammates are grinders, and we deserve it. We’ve been through so much, and we’re ready.”
The team had a whirlwind spring with the offense learning Fisher’s pro-style attack, a sharp departure from Sumlin’s spread offense, and the defense adjusting to coordinator Mike Elko replacing John Chavis, who had been at A&M three years.
“I thought the spring went very well,” Fisher said. “We got a lot of things established. You never have enough time in the spring, especially your first one. The second half of spring, I thought we did things in a much more efficient manner, and [I] wish we had about 15 more days, but that’s just the way it goes.”
Becoming mentally and physically tougher was one of Fisher’s goals.
“We get caught up because of all of the spread stuff and going fast and all of this,” Fisher said. “You still have pads on. You still have to tackle. You still have to block. You still have to be physical in how you run routes and how you catch balls and how you just do everything. I think there’s a toughness factor that you have to have and a level that we have to get to.”
The players got the message.
“His four key words are toughness, effort, discipline and pride,” McCoy said. “He emphasizes that in everything we do.”
Wednesday will be the team’s first fall practice in preparation for the season opener Aug. 30 against Northwestern State
NOTES — Fan Appreciation Day will be Aug. 12 from noon-2 p.m. at the Gilliam Indoor Track Complex. There will be an open scrimmage that day at 4:30 p.m. at Kyle Field.