Texas A&M can look at the 2020 season as one where it took a major step forward en route to a 9-1 record, its only blemish coming to eventual national champion Alabama.

And while the Aggies weren’t able to break into the College Football Playoff’s top 4 when it was all said and done, Jimbo Fisher’s group hopes that 2021 will be much different, especially with the players projected to return.

“Each team has a one-year life expectancy,” Fisher said on Wednesday, according to The Eagle newspaper in Bryan-College Station, Tex. “No team is ever together greater than one year. It has to develop its identity, its work ethics, its goals, its desires and its work habits and day-to-day habits very quickly. That’s going to be a challenge, but that’s always a challenge. I feel very confident in our guys to do it, because they know how to do it and I think we still have a very strong nucleus of leadership coming back.”

One thing to watch is a major quarterback battle for the Aggies with senior Kellen Mond having declared for the NFL Draft. Haynes King served as the backup to Mond in 2020, with Zach Calzada—who did not see playing time this season—entering the fray along with a true freshman 4-star dual-threat Eli Stowers.

“We’ll find out who the better player is and who fits our scheme and our system and who our players respond to best,” Fisher said. “They are three outstanding guys who we are confident in.”

As far as seeing players depart the program with an eye toward a professional career, Fisher noted that it was certainly something to be expected considering the talent on the team.

“When you have good teams, you’re always going to lose good players,” he remarked. “I think they set a standard for how things are going to be done and the next group that watched them will be able to step up and hopefully do those things that they do. I feel very confident in the guys that are coming back.”

However, there are returnees that will take advantage of the NCAA’s “bonus year” of eligibility, with one in particular, linebacker Aaron Hansford, mentioned by Fisher.

“I think it’s a very smart decision,” he said. “You get a great special teams player. You get a drop guy. He can rush the passer. He can play inside. You get three or four players in one, who has already been there and has tremendous experience.”