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Texas A&M Football

Fisher focused on player development, what he can control in early spring drills

March 2, 2020

Developing college football players isn’t easy. Keeping them might be just as hard. And it’s getting more difficult.

Those were the messages from Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher following Fourth Quarter Drills on Monday night.

Looking as fit and physically imposing as players on a contending Southeastern Conference team should, the Aggies focused on changes of direction, speed, mental toughness and discipline during the afternoon agility drills.

“Football is a lower-body game. You’ve got to bend and change direction,” Fisher said. “That’s what we’re trying to keep developing in our players. We’re trying to develop speed, change of direction, deceleration, acceleration and lower-body flexibility.

“The flexibility, the way we’re running and the way the guys are going about the drills. They know what to do, the techniques. They’re just becoming better and better at them.”

Fisher said he was especially impressed with the progress seen from the 13 early enrollees from his sixth-ranked 2020 recruiting class.

The early enrollees include defensive backs Jaylon Jones, Antonio Johnson and Joshuah Moten, receivers Muhsin Muhammad and Devin Price, quarterback Haynes King, offensive linemen Chris Morris, Josh Bankhead and Jordan Jefferson, defensive linemen Fadil Diggs, Isaiah Raikes and Braedon Mowry and tight end Blake Smith.

“It’s amazing how the young guys have adapted, but I think that has to do with the older guys having made adjustments and really bringing them along very quickly,” Fisher said.

“Those 13 guys have fit in and done a great job. Fit in very quickly, very easily, worked their tails off. Academically, they’re doing well. They’ve acclimated themselves very well.”
- Fisher on the team’s early enrollees

He later added: “Those 13 guys have fit in and done a great job. Fit in very quickly, very easily, worked their tails off. Academically, they’re doing well. They’ve acclimated themselves very well.”

However, safety Leon O’Neal did not participate in practice. He recently posted on his personal Twitter profile his intention of entering the NCAA transfer portal.

He has not yet entered the transfer portal. Fisher did not give any indication whether or not O’Neal might remain in the program.

“He’s still in school here with us right now,” Fisher said. “We’ll handle that internally.”

Ten A&M players reportedly have entered the transfer portal. Tight end Glenn Beal had entered the portal, but changed his mind and remained with the team.

“He came down, sat and had a conversation with his coach and different people in his family,” Fisher said. “We talked about why he did it. We had a great conversation.

“You can’t stop them. They can do whatever they want to do. You’d like to meet with them and talk to them if you can. Some guys want to do it. You try to ask them if you have a plan of where you want to go and what you want to do.”

Fisher said that was going to become the new normal in college football.

“That’s going to be the way of the world,” he said. “That’s going to be the new way of doing things. That change and that constant turnover. If things don’t go well sometimes that’s what kids are going to do.

“It has to do with how they handle decisions. Some guys are going to be more impulsive, go do it and maybe come back, maybe not.  Then some guys are going to think it through and be patient and decide not to do it.”

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