Jimbo Fisher’s struggles at Texas A&M raise questions, overshadow beef with Alabama’s Nick Saban

The Beef may as effectively be plant-based this week. That is one other means of claiming the feud between Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher that lit up speaking season this summer time is about as meaty as Beyond Burger.

The two coaches have made peace … as a lot peace as could make between clenched tooth.

“That’s over with,” Fisher mentioned this week. “He and I are in nice form. We’ve moved on.”

We might be able to decide that by Alabama’s margin of victory Saturday. If Saban decides to put a quantity on the Aggies (24-point underdogs, based on Caesars Sportsbook) he seemingly can do it. Texas A&M is scuffling after an 18-point loss to Mississippi State that adopted an upset to Appalachian State a number of weeks in the past.

That alone distracts from what was initially anticipated to be the sport of the 12 months due to the simmering animosity alone. Add Jimbo breaking via as the primary Saban assistant to beat the grasp final season, and you have got appointment viewing.

Except the storylines have switched faster than an up-tempo offense. Texas A&M ranks close to the underside nationally in performs per recreation (56.2). That’s a part of the issue for a coach who was often called an offensive mastermind and quarterback developer.

Fisher has been neither recently. He’s additionally discovered a spot on the recent seat — or no matter you name underachieving in Year 5 with 9 years left on his prolonged 10-year monster contract.

The Aggies are out of the nationwide championship hunt and on the verge of being eradicated from the SEC race. There’s stress on Fisher to provide. There’s additionally stress on Texas A&M’s boosters and directors to determine the place the road is earlier than they produce — buyout cash.

There are some who will inform you that there isn’t any stress at all. As one FBS coach instructed CBS Sports, “There’s no in between at Texas A&M. If they’ll come up with the money for within the financial institution [to pay the coach]someone can write the examine [to fire him].”

Given that 10-year assured contract, these boosters and directors have loads to do with this case. They’re those who went all in. That’s what Texas A&M normally does. Actually, that is what big-time faculty soccer does lately. It simply turns into a measure of danger tolerance and the variety of zeroes on the contract.

Already within the final month, we have seen a grand experiment fail at Arizona State. Nebraska’s can’t-miss native son … missed, forcing the Cornhuskers into one other reboot. Wisconsin fired a coach with a .720 profitable fee.

Is Fisher about to grow to be the Bloody Sunday sufferer? Highly unlikely.

Still, it is value asking how a lot endurance is left after that Mississippi State loss. Fisher has but to discover a constant quarterback. Starter Haynes King was benched after a gradual begin. Backup Max Johnson is now injured and day-to-day for Alabama.

It’s difficult. Fisher inherited the Aggies’ profession passing chief, Kellen Mond, when he arrived in 2018. Backup Zach Calzada beat Alabama final 12 months and now could be on the bench at Auburn

Fisher left the door open to the fact of five-star freshman Connor Weigman taking part in Saturday.

“What would you like me to do, name Nick and inform him?” mentioned Fisher when pressed on the problem.

The reply is a part of Fisher’s trump card to critics. He can/should promote the longer term. That all-time No. 1 recruiting class from this previous cycle is a chip to be performed. The future just isn’t now, it is in 2023 and 2024 when that class is meant to mature and contribute. Given that, this 12 months all the time had the look of an eight-win season — a transition 12 months … if Aggie Nation can swallow exhausting sufficient.

It additionally may replicate what Fisher is lately: a grasp recruiter who has misplaced his offensive contact. That’s not essentially one thing of which he needs to be ashamed. There have been coaches who received championships as CEOs who purchase the groceries and let the assistants cook dinner the meal.

Meanwhile, Fisher most likely owes Bryce Young a “thanks” notice. Overshadowing this week’s recreation is the situation of Young’s shoulder. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner and Alabama beginning quarterback is day-to-day with an AC joint shoulder sprain suffered final Saturday towards Arkansas.

We’ve gotten this far earlier than mentioning that each groups could also be beginning backup quarterbacks. Both coaches will leverage their revelations proper up till kickoff. Will it make any distinction?

Regardless, the occasions of May are actually previous information. When they had been each out there at SEC Media Days, we requested Fisher how he might make up with a peer and former boss he referred to as a “narcissist.”

“You’re not from West Virginia, are you?” Fisher requested. (Fisher and Saban are each natives of the Mountain State.)

Jimbo then went on to explain how West Virginians will be at one another’s throats one minute and be associates 5 minutes later. Interesting take. This week, it’s relegated to the anecdote oldies bin.

The points are greater within the rivalry and the league. Georgia seems susceptible. Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss seems like a legit challenger within the SEC West. Tennessee is off to its greatest begin since 2016.

But a revenge motive sells higher than WrestleMania. So does quarterback uncertainty.

One program is on high. The different desperately desires to be there. Throw in hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, stir with impatience and serve scorching.

Is that meaty sufficient for you?

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