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Texas A&M Football

Not for the timid: Jimbo Fisher uncompromising in his drive to beat the best

May 14, 2021

The timid say don’t poke the bear. Let sleeping dogs lie. Don’t write checks you cannot cash. Fly under the radar. Don’t stick your neck out.

The faint-hearted have several expressions to validate a cautious nature.

Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher isn’t timid.

He’s intrepid, not intimidated.

That was made crystal clear last week when announcing his intentions to defeating Alabama.

Poke the bear? He said he’d kick the Tide coach Nick Saban’s ass.

Fisher stuck his neck out. Fisher intends to fly high, and we all know there is not a check Fisher cannot cash.

Yet, that statement made the awakened dogs howl.

Saban worshipers cried blasphemy. An ESPN talking head laughingly predicted a “massacre” when Alabama visits Kyle Field on Oct. 9.

DeMarvin Leal, A&M’s star defensive end, responded by simply tweeting: “Bet.”

A week later, Fisher didn’t back off from his prediction.

“Heck yes, I think we’re going to beat them,” the coach said. “That’s why we’re here. They’re the standard right now, but we have to learn to beat them.”

The media largely ignored the fact Fisher actually said that Texas A&M would defeat Alabama before Saban retired. He never specified that a victory would come this year.

He didn’t say it wouldn’t be this year, either.

Alabama will be favored on Oct. 9. Alabama should be favored, but anyone discounting the Aggies in 2021 is only trumpeting their own ignorance.

Defeating Alabama is a rare and difficult task. It is not impossible.

“Heck yes, I think we’re going to beat them. That’s why we’re here. They’re the standard right now, but we have to learn to beat them.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

Just two seasons ago, Alabama lost Southeastern Conference games to LSU and Auburn. The Tide also lost to Auburn in 2017. It lost to Ole Miss in 2015 and 2014.

As defending national champion, Alabama lost to South Carolina, LSU and Auburn in 2010, A&M in 2012 and Auburn in 2013.

Of course, it takes an ultra-talented team to beat Alabama.

South Carolina in 2010 had two eventual first-round picks, Stephone Gilmore and Melvin Ingram, as well as second-round wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, third-round defensive back Chris Culver and running back Marcus Lattimore, who might have been a first-rounder if not for a horrific knee injury.

Auburn’s lineup featured multiple eventual first-round draft choices when defeating Alabama in 2010, 2013 and 2019. Ole Miss had four eventual first-round picks when beating Alabama in 2014 and 2015. LSU’s 2019 team had six eventual first-round picks and about 20 draft selections.

A&M had five eventual first-round picks — quarterback Johnny Manziel, offensive linemen Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews and Cedric Ogbuehi and receiver Mike Evans — when beating the Tide in 2012.

The Aggies could have even more talent this season.

Early 2022 mock drafts have listed defensive end DeMarvin Leal, tackle Kenyon Green, running back Isaiah Spiller, tight end Jalen Wydermyer and receiver Ainias Smith as potential first-round picks. Safeties Demani Richardson, Leon O’Neal and cornerback Myles Jones also could be high picks.

That’s just the guys who will be draft-eligible next year.

Defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson, cornerback Jaylon Jones, safety Antonio Johnson and running back Devon Achane could be high selections in later drafts.

Jason McConnell, Aggieland Illustrated
Texas A&M has not beaten Alabama since Johnny Manziel & Co. shocked the Crimson Tide in 2012. That could change in 2021.

As usual, Alabama also will be loaded with talent, but the Tide must replace 10 players that were taken in the NFL draft, including six in the first round.

Though no team reloads as easily as Alabama, that’s still an inordinate amount of high-level talent to replace.

Still, the talent gap between the two teams isn’t that wide.

The primary difference in Alabama’s 52-24 victory over A&M last season was the Tide’s big-play weapons in the passing game.

Heisman Trophy-winning receiver DeVonta Smith, receiver Jaylen Waddle and quarterback Mac Jones were first-round picks. Alabama’s passing game doesn’t figure to be as dominant.

Also, Fisher expects his secondary, which returns intact, to be improved.

“Our secondary group is really emerging,” Fisher said. “We have some great corners and safeties who are ready to go to the next level, and we have enough of them.”

Further, the games at Kyle Field typically have been reasonably competitive. The Aggies lost by a touchdown in 2013 and 2017. They were in contention midway through the fourth quarter in 2015.

That all seems to suggest there will be no massacre on Oct. 9. Anticipate a close, hard-fought game in which A&M will have a legitimate chance to win that game.

The timid might rather let sleeping does lie, but the bold don’t mind facing a poked bear.

Discussion from...

Not for the timid: Jimbo Fisher uncompromising in his drive to beat the best

11,794 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by Stone44
West Point Aggie
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At $7.5M a season this kind of drive should be expectedand anything less than a 10 win season and NY6 bowl a failure!

2020: was a "10 win season" and the kind of year we should expect all the time.
Let’s Go Brandon!
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Hey Stephan. Poop slap?
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That's a really interesting note about draft picks... looks like the threshold for victory is around 3 to 5 first rounders? Very good news for 2021.
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Smith is just another big mouth who's wrong most of the time. Gig'em Jimbo!
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