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Jimbo Fisher
Isaiah Spiller
DeMarvin Leal
Kenyon Green
Texas A&M Football

Despite a shutout victory, Fisher not content with A&M's performance

September 18, 2021
23,513

Angst and frustration fell upon Kyle Field like rain on Saturday.

Wait… that actually was rain that pelted the crowd of 84,748 in No. 7 Texas A&M’s 34-0 victory over New Mexico.

That second-half downpour was an apt metaphor for the Aggies’ day. It started with an extremely bright outlook and finished with clouds of uncertainty hovering overhead.

“I thought (New Mexico) played harder than we did. I thought they were physical. I thought they banged us around. ...They kept getting after us. We need to learn to grow up and play a lot more physical.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

The clash with the outclassed visiting Lobos (2-1) featured Devon, Demond, defense and a deluge of distress.

Devon Achane caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Zach Calzada on the Aggies’ third play of the game. Demond Demas caught a 70-yard touchdown pass on their fourth. The defense posted its first shutout in five years and extended a streak of seven consecutive scoreless quarters.

Yet, in the aftermath, there was as much consternation as celebration.

Perhaps that’s a good thing.

A&M (3-0) has come so far in Jimbo Fisher’s tenure that even in shut-outs, there were shout-outs of discontent. 

Fisher, appropriately wearing a white shirt, was leading the yells.

“Up front, we didn’t play very well,” said Fisher. “I thought (New Mexico) played harder than we did. I thought they were physical. I thought they banged us around.

“They kept getting after us. We need to learn to grow up and play a lot more physical.”

Exactly what that means could be left up to interpretation.

Maybe it meant the offensive line cannot allow three sacks and struggle to maintain a consistent running game. Maybe it meant the Aggies cannot fall into a slump after a fast start. Maybe it meant better decisions must be made.

Fisher was more than willing to translate.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Achane took a short pass 26 yards to the endzone for the game’s opening score.

“You can get in somebody’s way and block people. I don’t want that,” Fisher snarled. “I want people moved, and (A&M’s offensive line) they can do that. I watch us do it on our guys.

“You’ve got to want to be nasty. That’s grown man ball in there, man. That’s big boy ball. That ain't for the faint of heart. You’ve got to put your nose in there and like it.” 

At halftime, the Aggies had managed just 34 rushing yards against a New Mexico defense that last week allowed 109 rushing yards to New Mexico State.

The line came on in the second half to spring running back Isaiah Spiller for 117 yards and a touchdown. Also, the Aggies were without starting right guard Layden Robinson, who was resting an injured right leg.

But if A&M couldn’t mount a consistent running game against New Mexico, how can they expect to run against upcoming SEC rivals Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss?

“That team (Arkansas) we’re about to play is very physical,” Fisher said. “And the rest of them down the line in this league… that’s big boy ball. You better grow up.”

At first, the Aggies were celebrating Calzada’s growth. He was perilously erratic replacing injured starting quarterback Haynes King in last week’s 10-7 escape of Colorado.

This time, he passed for 275 yards and three touchdowns. The first two quick strikes to Achane and Demas staked A&M to an early 14-0 lead.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Zach Calzada was solid in his first career start, throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.

Missed opportunities followed.

A long Ainias Smith punt return was squandered when Achane was thrown for a five-yard loss on first down, and Calzada took a nine-yard sack on second. After an incomplete pass, the Aggies punted.

Later in the second quarter, A&M reached New Mexico’s 21-yard line but settled for a Seth Small field goal and a 24-0 halftime lead.

A&M opened the third quarter with Calzada again connecting with Demas for 30 yards, but the Aggies also ended that series with a Small field goal.

“Sometimes, when you play really good, you keep thinking everything is a home run,” Fisher said of Calzada. “Just hit the baseball. It ain’t about throwing touchdowns. It’s about throwing to the right guy.

“The game is bigger than everybody who’s ever played it or coached it. It will bite you right in the tail when you think you’re going to just go out there and do this and that. He has ability, but you’ve got to continue to make the right decisions on every plays.”

To his credit, late in the third quarter, Calzada made a good decision and a better pass to Muhsin Muhammad III, who made an acrobatic one-handed catch in the back of the end zone to close out the 34-point victory.

Despite the blowout win, Fisher rated the Aggies as merely average.

“We’re much more capable with what we can do,” he said. “Potential is the worst thing you can have. That means you haven’t done it.

“We’ve got to get better in all those aspects. We’ve got to grow up across the board in everything we do and play with much more consistency.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

“I hate the word potential. Somebody says you have the potential to have a good team. That drives me nuts. That means I’m not coaching right, and they’re not playing right. We’ve got to get better in all those aspects. We’ve got to grow up across the board in everything we do and play with much more consistency.”

All-American Kenyon Green, who shifted from tackle to guard to replace Robinson, agreed that the Aggies are only average.

But he offered a list of requirements for the Aggies line to get better fast.

“Intensity throughout practice the whole time,” Green said. “Staying focused. Staying intense. Staying locked in. Making sure we’re paying attention to everything that we need to so we can play as fast and as powerful as we can.”

In short, proving that they’re willing to put their nose in there and like it.

Discussion from...

Despite a shutout victory, Fisher not content with A&M's performance

16,287 Views | 9 Replies | Last: 27 days ago by MaroonStain
jim 78
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AG
Going to be a rough week of football practice in Aggieland!
dcg4403
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AG
Improvement for sure. But Razors are immensely under ranked IMO and the 2nd best team we will see this season in the SEC West. Zach better grow up quick! Not entirely on him but if we expect to do anything special this year...we need a QB far better than what he displayed today from kickoff to the final whistle.
The Agly Duckling
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Great write up, Olin. You captured with words the frustration of Jimbo (and a lot of fans) very well.

It also struck me that after a 34-0 win many coaches unleash the beast. Not likely to see that after a squeaky win over Colorado. Parcells did that a lot, too.

EDIT: Also, if this team takes on the personality of their head coach, they'll become vicious dawgs here before too long.
TheWoodsAg
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AG
The line just doesn't know who to block. It doesn't always take stars to be a good line, it takes coordination and experience between the players.
merch
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Hard to believe that OL can whip our DL in practice like Jimbo said.
S.A. Aggie
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AG
OL issues go back to coaching. The coaches own this.
Maroon Flash
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AG
I expect Jimbo is exhorting them vigorously in the closed practices.
MaroonStain
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AG
Jimbo is not happy nor content. Go get 'em, Coach.
MaroonStain
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AG
MOOOOOSE, Price and Demas are going to play more going forward.

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