Fisher on Saban comment, Texas/Oklahoma rumor
HOOVER, Ala. – Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher wasn’t going to let Alabama’s Nick Saban steal all the thunder during Day 3 of SEC Media Days.
The Aggies are expected to be Alabama’s biggest threat in the SEC, and Fisher was not short on confidence after his team just missed the playoffs last year.
Not only did Fisher have plenty to say about his own team; he also doubled down on a comment he made regarding Alabama and Nick Saban at a recent meeting of the Houston Touchdown Club.
Check out the highlights below.
You were asked about waiting for Nick Saban to retire to beat him, and—I'm paraphrasing: "We're going to beat him while he's there." Did you think that got blown out of proportion? Do you have any regrets about that? Or with some time passing, how do you feel about that how that played out?
Fisher: “I don't have any regrets. That's what we're here for, isn't it? Isn't that why everybody's here? That's what makes this league this league. That's what we expect to do at Texas A&M. In saying all that, Nick and I are friends. We've known each other a long time. We coached together. We're from the same world, if that makes any sense. I have the utmost respect for what he's done and what he's accomplished. He's the standard, and the standard is what you have to play to.
“Just like the standard at Florida State to take over the ACC and go win a National Championship. That's our standard here, and you have to play at that standard, and they have set that standard. That's what great teams do. You've got other teams that want to match it, accept that challenge, and go play at that level and go play him and beat him. We have to play him each and every year.
“We look forward to playing him. Understand we have the utmost respect. Understand me saying we're going to beat them doesn't beat them. We have to develop the skills, the right practice habits, coach the heck out of the players, and let them play, and be able to play those games and understand how to play those games.
“How you do that is that Kent State is Alabama. Colorado is Alabama. New Mexico is Alabama. You play at that standard all the time. Playing big games is how we had such success at Florida State. The bowl games, the National Championship games—that's the standard you play.
“Your opponent has nothing to do with how you play. You play to your standard. The standard is the standard of excellence, and you have to meet that standard. It doesn't matter who your opponent is. They have set a high standard. We have to play to that standard each and every week, so when we play them, it's like playing another game. You have respect for them. I have the utmost respect for Nick and his program and everything he's done. That's what we're here for, why we're here, and what we expect to be able to do.
“That's how we approach it every single week. We can't sit here and say we're going to do it. Everybody talks about winning. Everybody wants to win. Preparation wins games and not being able to worry about the results. Create the standards each and every day, and no matter who your opponent is, it's how you play, how you measure yourself, your sense of accomplishment, your sense of how you see yourself and what you want to achieve, and do you have the discipline and the self-discipline as a team, as a disciplined team, and the self-discipline as an individual player and coach to get where you need to go? That's what it's about.”
I don't know if you've heard this, but there's a report in the Houston Chronicle that Texas and Oklahoma are inquiring about joining the SEC.
Fisher: “I bet they would. (Laughter). I don't know. I'm just worried about A&M, you know what I mean? Listen, we've got the greatest league in ball. That's the choices they make or what they do, but I don't know how I feel about it. I'm just worried about A&M. I control what I want to control here.”
A lot of coaches have been asked, what are your thoughts about the proposed 12-team playoff expansion? Especially since you all came so close last year.
Fisher: “I'm all for it. I think it's necessary. I think it's needed. And not just because we finished fifth, but I think—here's the point I want you to ask. Name me a sport in any collegiate level that, except for the top five conferences, which are about 60 teams, where the other 60 teams have no chance to win the National Championship. There's not a sport in our world where that can't happen.
“It happens in college football. Those guys have never been in the playoffs from the other conferences if you're not a Power Five conference.
“From that standpoint, I think it's very important, but also, I think, because of the way conferences are and you're only picking four teams, I think certain teams in certain leagues have big advantages. And I will say this, playing in the SEC, the number of great teams that are there that can get in the playoff, and you see it in pro football all the time, where a wild card or the team that finished second ends up winning the Super Bowl.
“That can happen very, very easily. Some people don't think it can. I think it can. I think it's going to be great for the distribution of players in recruiting that you know you don't have to go to certain schools all the time. You can distribute the players out when you know your team's making the playoffs. I think the talent levels will balance out in different areas and different teams, and more guys will get great players, knowing that we can stay home, we can go in the playoff, and we can go win a National Championship. I think it's very important for it. I think it's needed. I'm all for it, 100 percent.”