Texas A&M football: Time is running out for Fisher at A&M
Where do you go from here if you are Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher? What should his plans be for the future of the program after being totally outclassed by Mississippi State in the Aggies’ 1st true road game of the season? What are we to make of the 42-24 defeat in Starkville on Saturday?
Technically, the Aggies still control their own destiny. Don’t laugh, but another shocking upset of Alabama, this time in Tuscaloosa, next week and Texas A&M is right back in the SEC West picture. Saturday was only Texas A&M’s 1st loss in SEC play.
Based on the Aggies’ performance Saturday, the prospect of beating the No. 2 team in the country at its home field seems more than farfetched, especially when you consider that A&M will be without playmaker Ainias Smith for the rest of the season. Where is the production going to come from in his absence?
The Aggies piled up some impressive statistics on Saturday, primarily against Mississippi State’s prevent defense at a time when the outcome was a forgone conclusion. Max Johnson threw for 201 yards and 1 touchdown. He didn’t throw an interception, but he lost a fumble.
Kudos to WR Moose Muhammad III on his 6-catch, 119-yard, 1-TD day. Again, it was mostly against the Bulldogs’ prevent defense. He was targeted 5 times in the 4th quarter when the Aggies were in desperation mode.
Muhammad’s contribution aside, it was an afternoon to forget.
The Aggies are 3-2 and will no doubt be heavy underdogs in Tuscaloosa next week, with the very real prospect of falling to .500 (3-3) by this time next Saturday. With the meat of the SEC schedule still ahead, it would take a monumental effort for Texas A&M just to reach its customary 8-4 record. And just how many more of those can Aggieland stomach?
The problems are many at this point, but the most glaring is more than clear. And that is that Fisher, the celebrated quarterback whisperer, doesn’t have one. Johnson, the veteran transfer from LSU, may be the savviest in the Aggies’ QB room, but he can’t consistently complete a pass for more than 10 yards. And without Smith, the passing game is suffering. Defenses can comfortably load the box without fear of getting beaten over the top. It’s a major problem.
Haynes King, who 2 years in a row won the starting quarterback job, hasn’t done enough in that role to keep it this year, although depending on the severity of Johnson’s throwing-hand injury, he may win it back by default.
In Fisher’s 5th season as head coach at Texas A&M, this should not be a problem; and yet it is, a big one. We’ve heard all year from Fisher just how young this team is. Again, in his 5th year, that should not be an issue, and yet it is.
The signs become clearer with every game this season that the 2022 class could very well be Fisher’s last stand at Texas A&M. Rated by more than a few as the best since recruiting classes have been rated, the 2022 group is Fisher’s best chance to make a run at the SEC West, or perhaps his last chance.
If that’s true and this is indeed a rebuild season, with the 2022 class leading the way to the program’s future, then Fisher might want to take a long hard look at going all in with it.
Conner Weigman is the 5-star future for Texas A&M; everyone says so. Another loss next week that moves Texas A&M to 3-3 should be the final clue in Fisher’s plans for the future of the program. Lose to Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and there’s no reason not to turn the 2022 class loose, full steam, starting with Weigman as the new starting quarterback.