#parent | #kids | Aggies Hold Press Conference in Advance of Saturday Showdown at Ole Miss – Texas A&M Athletics

Press Conference Quotes: Jimbo Fisher

Very proud of our team. That was a very hard fought, competitive, physical football game. And I thought our kids stepped up to plate in both lines of scrimmage as the game went on, the whole way across the board.

Defensively I thought we were outstanding in the game. Our front four caused pressure in the passing game. Blitz packages, I thought we tackled well, fit gaps well, tackled in space well, kept leverage on the football, played good coverage. I thought (Tyreek) Chappell and Jaylon Jones played two outstanding games back there. Leon (O’Neal) and Demani (Richardson) played well. 27 (Antonio Johnson) and 45 (Edgerrin Cooper) were all over the field. (Andre) White, all over the field. (Aaron) Hansford. And the guys up front were, I mean, Tyree (Johnson) and just everybody up front. We just controlled…they were outstanding. Listen, Bigsby’s as good a back as there is. That guy’s good. The other backs are good. They got a big line. Quarterback’s athletic, can make plays. I thought we did a really good job of pressuring but staying disciplined in the pocket and not letting (big) rushes. A couple, they did, but they were seven, eight yard runs, it wasn’t 20 or 25 or the scrambling and somebody come off a guy. I thought we stayed disciplined in the secondary, not coming off our guys when he did scramble to give up plays, that’s very easy to do. That was outstanding.

Seth (Small) made four out of five, I wish he could have made five out of five. I’m not criticizing, I mean, he made four field goals, could have made that one. Return game, actually they got us on a punt return, a kickoff return. We’ve been having good ones, but they pinned us inside the 10 which cost us a little bit. Got to get a couple of blocks on that. We got to get cleaned up. Punting game was really good. We had some punts out there. I thought we should have had a roughing the punter. He punted the ball well. Outkicked a few coverages. Otherwise, kickoffs were really good, out of the end zone, didn’t give the guy a chance. 

Offensively, I thought we started well in the game. Red zone chances we just didn’t execute. Had plays down there to be made. A couple of runs we broke out, I wish we could have scored. I thought we could have scored on some of those runs and got in the end zone but got tackled. The first time all we got to do is hand the ball off on an RPO, hand it off or dump it to the inside guy, and we had touchdown right off the bat. And then we broke a protection on third down. And then next time down…at the end of the day, you can’t jump. We cost ourselves there. And then we get a holding penalty on the screen, should’ve scored too. We had chances, we just didn’t execute down there in those situations. Had a third-down throw, just didn’t get the read right on that one and we had to kick a field goal. But moved the ball well.

I thought we ran the ball well. I thought as the game went on, we kept putting our will upon them, kept running the ball effectively, making the good runs. And unfortunately, (Devon) Achane did fumble the one when he had the long run where he was kind of going to put the game away. But you saw our team camaraderie, rallied right behind him and got the stops and came right back and scored again. I thought (Isaiah) Spiller and Achane ran the ball very well.  Had some critical drops in the game, four or five drops. It really cost us some yardage in some situations. 

But you know, hey. We won and I can be upset and we can practice hard and get better. That’s a good thing. We’re still playing and beating good football teams, but we’ve still got a lot to improve on. They talk about skill, that’s one thing. But the will of our football team, no matter what happened in all those situations, we kept competing in the game. Kept playing the next play. And I never felt the game got away from us and the momentum changed on us. I never felt that in the game at all, which is very good, and momentum swings are huge in a game. But very proud of the team. The way they competed, they got better and better with some things we did. 

Zach (Calzada), tough son of a gun. Got back in there. I tell you what, the team responds to that. They love it. And that’s the way that your leader of your team’s got to be, the guy taking those snaps. When he does that, it’s tough. And they played really well when he got back in there. He made deep throws and then hit those deep balls and made big third down throws, took us on the drive, made the right checks. I mean, just stood in the pocket. Right after that, two plays after, he stood in the pocket was taking a shot, hitting that third down completion to Ainias right in the middle of the field, man. Didn’t flinch. Did a great job. Wish Chap (Caleb Chapman) would’ve stayed up on his post route. Dadgum. He went to Dusty Baker school, and I didn’t…I need 10 to go to the Dusty Baker School and the other one to stay up and keep running.

But that’s part of it, we’ll learn. We’re getting better, and we better, because we play a heck of a team of Saturday. Ole Miss, playing up there, it’s tough. That night game’s tough. They’re playing really well. Offensively, they’re outstanding. Quarterback’s a great player. Offensive line does a really good job. Their skill guys, getting Early and those guys back…I mean they can run the ball. You think of them throwing the ball, but their run numbers are through the roof. They can run the football up front and they do it with scheme, they do it with tempo. They throw the balls out. Had new receivers play last week, both of them had 100 yards. So they’ve got players everywhere. Defensively, 7’s leading the league with 10 ½ sacks on the season. Bunch of tackles for loss. They had 9 sacks last game. Pressures, different blitzes, 3-3 personnel, 3-4 personnel, different fronts, different coverages, it’s a different setup defensively. you really got to study and examine how they do it and what they do. Been very opportunistic. They’ve got 17 turnovers total, seven interceptions and recovered 10 fumbles, but forced 23. I mean, they’re getting their hands on the ball and being very opportunistic. Giving up some yards, but playing red zone tight-zone defense very well, keeping those scores out of there, and their special teams do a good job. We’re playing a really good team, so it’s going to be a heck of a game. Lane does a good job coaching them. They’ll be ready to play. And we need to be.

What is it about your team that it plays better as the game goes on and as the season rolls on?

Well, I do think it’s a lot of the way we practice and we set practice up. We give a lot to them preseason, then we kind of grind down to what we are and who we are. And I think we always practice good on good. We practice good on good on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the game weeks. You only get better playing good people, and we got good people on the other side for us to block, to run the gaps, and then our O-line against our defensive line. Those are battles that we talked about last week. Man, Tuesday and Wednesday last week? Practice? Oof. It was loud. I mean, them guys getting after each other. They make each other better and they know it. I think they’re learning to compete, too. I think you’re learning to play the next play and not dwell on the scoreboard, not dwell on circumstances, not dwell on anything but what I can control? And that’s how I play in my mindset for the next play. I think we’re learning that and we preach that and we try to practice that way, start fast and how we finish practice and the things we do. And the kids are buying into it and it’s paying off not just because of what we’re saying, but what they’re doing. And our assistant coaches are doing a good job. 

The pass rush in general and Tyree Johnson in particular, what’s going on there? 

They’re learning and getting confident. I think our guys are getting better in their technique and Tyree is one of those guys I talk about who can get to that edge and bend. He can sink those hips and he can turn that corner. He can turn speed to power and he can keep good leverage and balance. And that’s a talent, now. Lower body flexibility. I mean, we talk about all these muscles and all this big stuff, those big guys. But you’ve got to have lower body flexibility to play, through your ankles and your hips, and be able to sink and play with power. Football is a low to high game. You can draw it up 100 different ways, but it’s low to high power. You can bench press all you want, but you can’t create those legs and hips? Doesn’t matter.

We saw a clip of the guys helping Devon up after his fumble and embracing him. That mindset, ‘we got you’, is that something that you can coach?

Well, that’s something we try to develop here, the family atmosphere. What I try to make our guys understand, I don’t care how great you play defense, how great the offense is, you don’t play it together? You don’t complement each other? And special teams? It doesn’t work. You’ve got to be one family. There’s too much that divides in the world today. You’ve got to unify and be part of it and understand and appreciate your teammates. And hey, there’s days he picked you up. All them days where he’s running for 100 yards, 150 yards, 160 yards. Each guy knows in football, you know, I’m not playing as well today. That guy’s playing great, and I appreciate him. So when I see him have a down day and I’m having a good day…that’s the part of being part of a team that I can’t…that’s the thing about sports that people just don’t understand if you don’t ever play it. It’s being part of something bigger than you. And being part of being a support system, being an example, being the guy that takes the role when somebody else is not…that feeling, there’s nothing in this world provides a feeling of a team except being part of your own family. That’s the only thing that’s like it. Being part of your little individual family, like your kids and your wife and your cousin and all that. But then being really tight. Those teams? Sometimes teams can become tighter than families, if it’s done right and they believe in each other. That’s the thing about sports that I think people truly miss. 

Like, I always ask our guys, what are they going to say about you when you come to the reunion 20 years later? You walk up to your reunion, 20 years later. What the players going to say? Hey, man, you remember him? That guy right there was tough as nails and he gave everything he had. He was a great guy, a great teammate. Or they’ll say he was lazy, not a good guy, couldn’t count on him. Seriously. To me, at the end of the day, that means more to me, to my old teammates, than anything we won or accomplished or any all-American team I made or any national player of the year I won. All that stuff. It matters what my teammates said about me more than anything. and I think you get that feeling being part of a team and a successful team. You’ve got to have each other. 

When you saw Zach and were recruiting him out of Georgia, you saw his arm strength, of course. Did you realize how tough he was at that time? 

He was very competitive, I know when he was banged up his senior year he took a team that didn’t have a lot of great players to the state semifinals, on his back a lot, and getting banged up and knocked around. He did some things there and you saw a competitor. But you don’t really realize a guy’s toughness until you get a hold of him and are coaching him yourself. But we saw a great competitor with great arm talent. 

How do you approach this with your guys being still very much in the division race with a couple of weeks left? 

Don’t worry about it. Got one thing to do. Worry about practice today and get better fundamentals and practice each day solely focused on Ole Miss. You’ve got three one-game seasons. When you get to November and you’re relevant, it’s a playoff. So you forget about everything else. One week at a time, one day at a time, one practice at a time, one play at a time. And it’s that simple. Don’t worry about nothing. 

You mentioned how well the defense contained a scrambler like Bo Nix on Saturday. How much of that game plan do you expect to carry over to another mobile quarterback? 

Well, you’re going to have to do the same thing. This guy can beat you with his legs, he’s athletic. Now, they probably have as many called or planned runs as anybody when they really do it. Was it at Tennessee, ran it 30, 31 times or…it was something like that. It was astronomical number of runs, I think it was that game. So I mean, they do it. But he keeps plays alive and I’m gonna tell you what, he can shoot the ball down the field, too when he’s scrambling. So it’s going to have to be a lot of the same principles, no doubt.

Everyone wants to talk about Matt Corral and his arm and his ability to throw the ball downfield, but they have three running backs who are averaging over five yards a play.

That’s what’s deceiving about that run game. You better…I mean, they pound you in that run game. and getting Ealy back in right now? He can fly. I mean, he had that 75-yarder on the second play. He’s got big-time track speed too. They’re very well-balanced. And that the scheme and schematics from their coaches, they know how to call it. They do a great job. 

Understanding you have your priorities, but how much attention do you pay to what’s going on with other teams in the SEC and in the around the nation right now? In regard of where you could end up?

I mean, you’d look at it and you say it, and you put it out of my mind. Because none of that matters if we don’t play well at Ole Miss. Doesn’t matter if we don’t play well against Prairie View, and it doesn’t matter if we don’t go to LSU and play well. So, all those things…I can’t control that. Say, do you worry about it? Will it help if I worried about it? It will help nothing. What’s going to help me is getting focused on what I’ve got to do today to get Monday’s practice the best it can be and the players ready. Then Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday, then play well on Saturday and go the next week. It’s that simple. And that’s where my sole focus is. I look at it and go, hey, that’s good. That’s dumb. That’s good, that’s dumb. Now that’s about all I give it time for.

Your thoughts on Veteran’s Day, which is coming up Thursday.

Listen…that, to me, that’s as important a day as there is in this year. I mean, what people have done for us to have the freedoms and the things that we have in this country, I mean, my grandfather fought in wars, my dad was in wars. My great grandfathers, both my grandmas…it’s been all through my family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, everybody. And I know what it means to this school and the people that have put their lives on the line have not come home and some that have come home for the freedoms we have. Freedom is not free.  That’s why this is the greatest country in the world. For us to remember our veterans, honor our veterans…there’s not a greater day to me that should be celebrated throughout this world, each and every year for what we do. And again, I don’t feel we do enough for our veterans. We need to find ways to do more for them. We’ve got a lot of things we’re taking care of in this world. We need to take better care of our veterans who allowed us to have these freedoms which we’ve had.

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