9 Takeaways from Texas A&M Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher's Talk in San Angelo
SAN ANGELO, TX — Texas A&M Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher visited San Angelo yesterday. For those who are uninitiated, being the Head Coach of Texas A&M Football is like being the head of a religious cult, and the Kool-Aid is maroon. Please indulge me while I inform you on what was said “behind the scenes” when Jimbo Fisher met with a room full of Aggies from San Angelo.
- Texas A&M isn’t a national brand. But I’ll make it one, Fisher promised. It should be just like Notre Dame or Florida State. While Texas is the most fertile football player recruiting ground for high school seniors, it will help to be able to recruit east coast and west coast players attracted to a national NCAA brand where their chances of being noticed enough to be “playing on Sunday” for the NFL after college are greatest.
- Texas A&M has the necessary ingredients to support a national brand, and national brands are good, because football is the front porch of the university. Instead of 430,000 or so graduates following Texas A&M, wouldn’t it be better to have 20 million watching Texas A&M on TV? The key ingredient A&M has is that everywhere Coach Fisher has gone, all he sees are campus organizations striving for excellence. He wants to replicate that pride and honor with a long-term, winning football program. “When you’re good at athletics, everyone wants to know what’s going on at that university, what’s going on at Texas A&M?” he said. Later he emphasized, “I believe now we have to go national, get a national brand out there.”
- Fisher is impressed with the reverence students and graduates have of the Aggie ring. But, he said, it is up to the players on the football team to be one of the most visible means of promotion of the pride all Aggies have of their ring. Pointing to a helmet sitting on the podium at Zentner’s Daughter Steakhouse, 1901 Knickerbocker Rd., where the speech was made, he said he asked his players to decide what that helmet means to them. A mission, or slogan statement, is being honed for the program’s motto based upon his players’ answers to that question. “Every time they put that helmet on, every time they put their cleats on, I want them (the players) to understand their responsibility.”
- “I’m not here to build just a season, I’m here to build a program.” Fisher said he had a 3, 5 and 10-year plan for building the program, something he and A&M athletic director Scott Woodward are onboard with.
- When Woodward called Fisher about the A&M job, Fisher told him “I’m not going to Washington!” Woodward’s previous assignment was Director of Athletics at the University of Washington. Fisher was kidding around saying that, and his entire presentation was made in a respectful, thoughtful, yet playful approach. He was well-received by the San Angelo Aggies.
- “I haven’t decided who the starting quarterback will be,” he said. The competition is between sophomore Nick Starkel and sophomore Kellen Mond. Fisher had great things to say about both, focusing on each quarterback’s performance during the Maroon and White game in May. Overheard at the coaches table, however, was that both quarterbacks will see play time during the 2018 season. The offense will be pro style, Fisher said.
- Fisher said his recruiting strategy worked very well this year. “The key to great recruiting isn’t how many 5-star players you get, it’s in the evaluation your team does of the potential recruits,” he said. Properly evaluating talent gets you better players, and better team players. But Fisher said he doesn’t necessarily disqualify a 5-star recruit, if his evaluation determines that player is a good fit for his program. “We’ll go out a recruit great talent, but it’s the intangibles that separates everybody.” One of the key intangibles is that he wants his players to have “grit.” “Football is all about repetition, doing it over and over again. You don’t do it until you can (just) do it right, you do it until you can’t do it wrong,” he said. “Do it until it becomes a habit. And when we develop championship habits, winning will take care of itself.”
- The spring training went well, but Fisher said he wished he had 15 more days. The last half of the spring practice, he said, the team began jelling and “figuring out how we’re going to do it.”
- Fisher assured the Aggies that he had a great group players to start his first season with, he was pleased with how well recruiting went this year, and he has a plan. “We’re getting the guys we want to get,” Fisher said about the 2019 recruiting class. About his plan for the program, pointing to his assistant coaches in the crowd, he quipped, “I have it all laid out in a plan. If these coaches screw it up it’s their own fault.”