Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher says there’s no added pressure for Aggies after disappointing season

Texas A&M started the 2022 season ranked in the Top 10, but didn’t even reach a bowling game.

The Aggies finished 5-7 with just a 2-6 mark in SEC play. That probably wasn’t what Texas A&M executives envisioned for Jimbo Fisher’s fifth year as head coach when he signed a fully guaranteed, 10-year, $95 million deal ahead of the 2021 season.

Expectations for the program were very high after the Aggies went 9-1 in 2020. Since then, Texas A&M has lost 10 of its last 16 SEC games. In fact, the COVID-shortened 2020 season is the only time the Aggies have finished above .500 in the conference in Fisher’s five seasons at College Station.

Texas A&M spends big on its efforts to compete for nationals, but the Aggies barely sniffed that conversation during Fisher’s time as head coach. Despite his underperformance in 2022, Fisher said he doesn’t feel any added pressure to enter the 2023 campaign, even with questions about his upcoming professional status.

“We live under pressure every day. We put more pressure on ourselves than anyone out there ever puts on us, so there’s no extra pressure because what’s the point? Does Worry Make You Better? No,” Fisher said at SEC Media Days in Nashville.

“What you have to do is find solutions. You have to line up and understand what went right, what went wrong, what kind of team you have now, and that every team changes from year to year.

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks during NCAA College Football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Monday, July 17, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.  (AP Photo/George Walker IV)
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks during NCAA College Football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Monday, July 17, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Will Bobby Petrino call the games? Fisher won’t say

Fisher’s attack is one of the big culprits in Texas A&M’s struggles. The Aggies averaged just 22.8 points per game last year, which ranked them 13th out of 14 SEC teams. It’s a multi-season problem. And before A&M ended last season with an upset against LSU, the Aggies had gone 13 straight games against competitive FBS without going over 30 points.

Fisher, who designs offense and calls plays, fired offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey after the season and hired Bobby Petrino to fill that role. It was a rental that raised a few eyebrows. Not only does Petrino have a tumultuous history as a head coach, he’s an offensive-minded coach who has called plays wherever he’s been.

Does that mean Petrino will have full control of the Aggies offense this fall, including calling plays? Fisher wouldn’t say, continuing a pattern of deflecting offense-related questions throughout the offseason.

“I’m not going to get into what we do, how we do it. Again, I’m not trying to avoid anything. I just don’t want to create — you create benefits and narratives there for what’s going on,” Fisher said. “Bobby was hired for a reason. He’s a great coach and a great guy and a great football spirit.

Later, Fisher seemed to hint that it would be more of a collaborative approach to calling the offense with Petrino heavily involved.

“Hopefully he calls the game. We’ll have suggestions on the things we do whether it’s attacking or defending. Every coach is always involved,” Fisher said. “It’s a more collective thing that people don’t want to give him room, but when you get to call and get going, you gotta have a guy who can do it. I think Bobby can definitely do it and does it as well as anyone in college football.

Aggies wide receiver Ainias Smith said the offense was playing with more pace, but Fisher was reluctant to provide details on what the offense might look like.

“I’m not going to go into patterns,” he said.

Fisher also dismissed a question about how his personality connected with Petrino. Petrino, who is known to be quite pungent, fitted in “very well,” Fisher said.

“Every coaching team in America has an argument or a disagreement. That’s part of it,” Fisher said. “You listen to everybody’s opinion. I want guys with opinions. I want guys who have knowledge. I want guys that make you think. We all have great respect for each other. We had no problems.”

Fisher was quick to note how many underclassmen played big snaps last season, including quarterback Conner Weigman. Fisher hopes the experience these young guys gained last season can pay off this coming season.

“We played a lot of young players. Now you bring back a lot of these guys with experience, and I think our double probably has as much experience as we’ve had since we’ve been here. I feel very confident in this group. Some of your issues a year ago can be your strengths this year,” Fisher said.

“I think they’re a team with a chip on their shoulder. I think they’re a team that has something to prove, and we know that. There’s nothing to hide about it, how we have to play.

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