Why the Texas A&M Football Coach Should Not Be Retained
I’m going to try to summarize both sides of this issue—whether or not the head man of Texas A&M football should be fired—as fairly as possible in this and the companion article. I can’t do point/counterpoint super easily in a non-dialogue format, but I’ll do what I can to fairly represent the best version of each side’s argument. That said, I consider it more than likely that some readers will be able to tell what my actual opinion is upon close reading, even if I don’t state it outright—which I won’t be, at least in either of these two articles.
That said, why should Jimbo be fired as head coach of Texas A&M football?
In a lot of ways, it feels like the time has come for this decision to be made. After all, Fisher used up all his goodwill after that disaster last season. Whether or not injuries played a part, all that matters is the bottom line: did you win or did you lose? More often than not, Jimbo’s squad lost, often in what felt like new and creative ways. The closeness of those games made it even more agonizing and threw his poor decisions in-game into even sharper relief upon review. Poor clock management, bad 4th down decisions, and more littered the 2022 season.
Plus, his favorite refrain—”we’ve got to execute”—is something that ultimately falls on his shoulders. If your players aren’t playing the way they should be, and there is a pattern of this happening, then that comes down to coaching. There’s a reason they can’t execute this offense, and it’s not because they’re not good enough; it’s because the offense is overly complicated and poorly communicated. That’s why you have execution issues.
There was hope when, this past offseason, Jimbo hired an OC to take the reins of the offense. Bobby Petrino looked like a great hire at first, but the past two weeks have exposed that the offense is just more of the same. More of the same hesitation at QB, more of the same offensive line issues, et cetera. It’s gotten to the point where it has several Texas A&M football fans questioning whether Jimbo has taken control back of the offense. While it doesn’t appear that way to me (and that line of thinking seems to be a result of effect-to-cause reasoning framing a fair amount of confirmation bias), I think that’s even worse: Jimbo hired someone that is just running the same thing he did. The change was never real.
Yes, Weigman went down with injury, and yes, that matters. But when you lose your starting QB to a season-ending injury three years in a row, that’s more than just bad luck—that’s a pattern. I don’t think it’s a result so much of coaching—the best argument is that lack of variety in play calling with regard to motion and blocking schemes allows opposing defensive lines to tee off against straight-up drop backs down-in and down-out. Given the nature of the injuries that occurred—Haynes breaking his ankle on a run in 2021, Max hitting his finger on a helmet in 2022, and Conner’s foot getting caught in the turf—really only one at most can be pinned on the offensive line. This is not to absolve the offensive line play, but only to say that it is not coaching that should be blamed for that aspect of things.
What coaching can be blamed for, though, is the poor play of the offensive line in general. Outside of one year—2020—this eminently important position group has played far below their talent level. Texas A&M football has brought in studs from tackle to tackle, but they more often than not seem to regress rather than progress after they flash early on—look no further than Bryce Foster and Reuben Fatheree. Both played at a freshman all-American level in 2021, but now fans are calling for Foster to be replaced, and Fatheree is MIA so far this year following a disappointing 2022. Success starts up front, and that is one place on the field that has been consistently inconsistent under this regime.
Now, the defense has been good more times than not. Elko was a star, and Durkin has more often than not been great as well, despite what people say about the three-man front. But if you’re an offensive-minded coach like the head man of Texas A&M football happens to be, and the program you run has a stout defense that just barely manages to keep its anemic offense in games, something is seriously wrong. And yet, that is the position in which the Aggies find themselves.
That anemic offense has already and will soon further have deleterious effects on what has undoubtedly been Fisher’s top strength since arriving at Texas A&M football: recruiting. As the losses pile up, the recruits lose interest in what you’re selling. You can no longer reliably pitch a vision to guys who have seen that vision fail to manifest for six years now, especially when you have the benefit of the top recruiting class of all time already under your belt. It’s starting to seem like it will just never happen. What reason have you given them to believe you? An Orange Bowl win three years ago?
Not only will that affect recruiting for future years, it is not out of the question to consider that the guys who are already in the building—yes, including your star QB who you hope to be your savior—might have had their fill of the Jimbo experience as well. Some have said that if you fire Jimbo, you’re guaranteeing a down few years ahead; well what if you don’t fire him and you have those down years anyway? The stars can file out the door more easily than ever at this point in the transfer portal era. At least you get a head start on rebuilding, this way. And if you hire a big enough name, maybe that gives you an even better chance at retaining the talent anyway!
I don’t know of a clearer sign that the tenure has run its course than what we’ve seen these last two weeks. We were sold hope in the offseason, but when it came down to brass tacks, all we’ve gotten is more of the same. It’s time to make a change for Texas A&M football.