Just Win, Jimbo

A famous Aggie once said this about an unfortunate situation – “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”

I don’t know a better way to describe Aggie Football between now and October 14th of this year.  Like it or not we’re in a terrible situation with Aggie Football.

Let me summarize a few of the issues:

  • Bobby Petrino is our offensive coordinator.
  • We were 5-7 in 2022.
  • We have no recruiting momentum.
  • Jimbo has never been just a head coach.
  • Jimbo still has that big contract and no real results.
  • We have roughly 10 open scholarships after national signing day and the first portal window being closed.

I can keep listing issues but you get the idea.

Now there are certainly some positives as we have some young talent in certain areas. 

We also have some big holes at a few key starting positions and depth.  The key positions for starters are linebacker and left tackle.  We have depth concerns at linebacker, offensive line, and receiver.

While I think this is a good team this team isn’t nearly as loaded as most people think.  It’s a far cry from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State who are the flagbearers in college football for roster talent.  I think A&M may be in the second tier of current programs from a talent standpoint which would be a solid Top 10 team. 

If the coaching doesn’t improve from last year this roster could be in the fourth tier which means you’re just hoping to get 6 wins and a bowl game invite.

Make no mistake the current roster is a far cry from what Alabama and Georgia have been over the past few years.  We certainly have some key talent but we’re not loaded with talent across the board and top to bottom.

We certainly could catch lightning in a bottle and win the SEC West in 2023 as LSU did in 2022.  However, this roster isn’t going 15-0 in 2023.  Considering we play Alabama and Tennessee in back-to-back weeks I think winning the SEC West is a massive challenge in 2023.

I say all this to help you not worry or get too caught up in Aggie Football until October 14, 2023.  Until we’re done with Tennessee we won’t have any idea where this team is headed.  Any speculation before that is just a wild-ass guess and a complete waste of effort to even worry about.

Sure, it can be fun to kill some time thinking about Aggie Football.  It’s not fun to get worked up only to be let down.  If Aggie Football has taught us anything it’s that.

Results on the field matter more than anything else.  People can pump up or dump on this program over the next 9 months and it won’t mean anything.  Nobody has any real idea where Aggie Football is headed.

If I was forced to wager, I’d say this is a 7-5 to 10-2 football program over the next 3 years.  If that happens Jimbo Fisher will be replaced after the 2025 football season.  I hope I’m wrong as I want nothing but success for Aggie Football.

As of right now, I don’t think Jimbo Fisher is whom we hoped he was during his first three seasons.

I think we’ll look back at the 2022 football season as a colossal failure that was too much for Jimbo to overcome.

So for the next 9 months just relax and enjoy it.

Here are some musings if you’re interested.

The Petrino Hire:

Perceptually I hate this hire.  I don’t think Bobby Petrino is the scourge of the earth that people make him out to be.  Sure, I’m not going to defend a guy who cheated on his wife but that’s between him and his family more than anyone else.  Besides, there’s been another prominent coach in Aggieland’s past who’s still adored today and is rumored to have cheated on his wife.

People act like Bobby Petrino is human scum.  Once again, not defending a man who cheated on his wife but people act like Bobby Petrino is some heinous person.  He may be an asshole but I don’t think he has super questionable character other than the affair for which I’d say he was justly punished.  People just like to blow things out of proportion.

As far as I know, Bobby Petrino hasn’t been involved in or associated with covering up actual criminal acts.  The worst thing he did was hire the person he was having the affair with which violated state hiring laws.  That’s why he got fired.  He put his employer in a difficult situation by bringing his affair onto his direct payroll.

I don’t know which is dumber – cheating on your spouse or hiring your mistress as your direct report while skirting hiring laws.  They’re both stupid but it did bring us the sweet picture of Bobby P with his bruised face in a neck brace.  Who in the hell thought that was a good idea to meet the media that way?  He should have gone into hiding for a couple of weeks.  Letting that picture exist was the dumbest decision.

I hate the hire perceptually not because of his supposed questionable character but more because Bobby Petrino hasn’t been college football relevant since 2017.  His 2018 Louisville team was a complete disaster and he’s been hanging out at Missouri State after not coaching in 2019.  To make matters worse he left the head coaching job at Missouri State to become the offensive coordinator of UNLV for a month.

Head Coach at Missouri State to Offensive Coordinator at UNLV.  Neither of those are football powerhouses but that’s where Bobby P has been hanging out.

The best offensive coordinator the Aggies could hire hasn’t been college football relevant in five seasons.  Perceptually this sucks.

Football-wise I don’t mind it for two simple reasons:

  1. Bobby Petrino at one point had one of the best offensive minds in college football.  Seriously.  I’ve seen Bobby Petrino’s offenses run defenses ragged.  This guy has as much ability in calling plays as anyone in college football if he’s truly motivated.  This is a chance for him to put his name back on the college football map.  If he’s motivated for redemption in Aggieland it’s going to be good.
  2. If Petrino fails then Jimbo Fisher fails with him.  Jimbo won’t get a do-over to hire another offensive coordinator like Kevin Sumlin got when he mistakenly hired Jake Spavital.  If Petrino fails then Jimbo fails with him.  We’ll have our answer to the Jimbo era in Aggieland sooner than later.

I think I’m more excited about number 2 than number 1.  I have no idea how motivated Petrino is.  That was Jimbo’s job to figure out during the interview process.  If Jimbo failed in his assessment of Petrino then Jimbo will fail right along with him.

Jimbo can’t throw Petrino under the bus and buy himself more time.  He tied his future in Aggieland to Petrino.  I don’t want to wait any longer than we have on the short- or long-term outlook for Jimbo Fisher in Aggieland.

We’re going to know in 3 seasons or fewer thanks to the Bobby Petrino hire.

I know there’s some excitement building for Bobby Petrino running our offense.  I get that.  It’s the time of year when you put on your maroon-colored glasses and swig the maroon Kool-Aid.  It’s a ritual.

Remember how everyone sold the Steve Addazio hire?  How did the offensive line turn out in 2022?

I have similar concerns with Bobby Petrino at this point.  The ability was there at one point but it hasn’t been there in the last five years.  Maybe he just needs the right talent and motivation.

It’s anyone’s guess at this point.  You can make the case either way.

Flat Footed 2022 Season:

I hate to bring up bad memories but before you get too excited through your maroon-colored glassed and Kool-Aid, let’s look back at the 2022 season.  Jimbo certainly got handed a bad hand when it came to injuries but some of these games can’t be blamed solely on injuries.  A lot had to do with coaching.

In one of Jimbo’s early press conferences, he said he has a saying for his players – “Your actions speak so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying.”  That’s a great statement, Jimbo.

Your 2022 season stunk so bad I can’t hear a damn thing you’re saying anymore.  You lost the right to lecture anyone on what good football looks like.  You can certainly earn it back but for now, you need to shut up because your actions don’t match your words.

Let’s take a look at the key games in 2022:

Appalachian State – We lost AT Kyle Field to a team we paid money to beat.  That’s right.  We didn’t pay to play them.  We paid to beat them.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.  The offense was stuck in a complete rut the whole game.  Our offensive mastermind of a head coach was clueless about how to score more than 17 points on an inferior opponent.

Miami – This looked like a much better win at the time as we eeked out a win at home thanks to a really strong defensive effort while our offense struggled to score 17 points.  Miami would go on to a 5-7 record losing to Middle Tennessee the following week.  The Blue Raiders put up 45 points on the Miami defense one week later.  The signs were there.

Arkansas – Similar to Miami it was a thrilling win at the time.  Thanks to the defense, a boneheaded mistake by the Arkansas quarterback, and the infamous Oink Doink the Aggies got the breaks and the win.  Arkansas would stumble to a 6-6 season including losses by Liberty and Missouri.  This wasn’t the win we thought it was.  It damn near was a loss.

Mississippi State – Mike Leach (R.I.P.) completely exposed the Aggie football team in a way only Mike Leach can and has done numerous times before.  Max Johnson got hurt and Jimbo said we were just a few plays away from winning despite a 42-24 score.  We weren’t even competitive in the 4th quarter.  I think Jimbo and I have a different definition of what “a few” means.  Meanwhile, other coaches watched this film and found the Aggies’ vulnerability.  This was never close to a win.

Alabama – Texas A&M faced an Alabama team without the defending Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback.  Alabama started a quarterback with zero experience and questionable ability to pass.  Despite that, Alabama ran for half a mile on the Aggies.  Thanks to 4 turnovers by the Aggie defense and a gritty effort by Haynes King the Aggies had one final play at the two-yard line to win the game.  Our offensive genius of a head coach ran a pass play that Bama had seen multiple times and knew how to defend.  Debate pass interference all you want but Jimbo didn’t have a trick play or wherewithal to give the ball to Achane who was his only real playmaker.  I’ll go to my grave believing number 6 for the Aggies would have found paydirt and shocked Bama at home.  Jimbo has no one to blame but himself.

South Carolina – Coming off a bye week the Aggie team found itself down 17-0 in the first five minutes of the game.  That’s right coming off a bye week the Aggies spotted the Gamecocks 17 points in five minutes of football.  That’s 100% on coaching for not having the team prepared.  Despite that, the Aggie defense would hold the Gamecocks to 13 more points but it wasn’t enough for the Aggie offense to overcome.  We win this game if we don’t gift them 17 points 5 minutes in.

Ole Miss – In Connor Weigman’s first start the Aggies would go into halftime up 14-10 and get the ball to start the second half.  The Aggies would get shut out while Ole Miss ran all over the Aggie defense to the tune of 390 yards.  Jimbo’s head was buried so deep in his play sheet he couldn’t tell Durkin to sell out to stop the run.  Kiffin just kept handing the ball off or his quarterback would find space.  This game was completely winnable if Jimbo could have pulled his head from his play sheet.

Florida – The flu game.  In Jimbo’s defense, there were a lot of guys out of this game due to illness.  In not his defense this was a pretty bad Florida football team.  Florida had one real weapon in Anthony Johnson and the Aggies failed to shut him down.  The Aggie defense also gave up 200 rushing yards to Florida running backs.  Just one week after Ole Miss ran down our throats.  The Aggies were only down 20-14 at the half but got blown out 21-0 in the second half.  Jimbo couldn’t figure out a way to be competitive with a bad Florida football team at Kyle.  It’s a coin flip if this or App State was his worst loss at Kyle.

Auburn – This may be Jimbo’s worst loss as an Aggie coach.  Yes, worse than App State or Florida.  Against a REALLY bad Auburn team with an interim coach, Jimbo spent his first TEN offensive possessions punting the football.  That’s right, Jimbo’s vaunted offense punted its first ten possessions against a suspect Auburn defense.  Not even a field goal attempt.  Just 10 straight punts on 10 offensive possessions.  We lost this game 13-10.  If we kick two field goals on those first 10 offensive possessions we probably win this game.  Jimbo called the plays and couldn’t muster anything more than a punt on the offense’s first 10 possessions of the game.  This was the 10th game of the season and we couldn’t move the damn ball against a suspect Auburn team.  I really can’t put into words what an inept showing this was by a supposed offensive mastermind.  Shameful is the only word that comes to mind.

We beat LSU to close out the season which only makes you wonder what happened in the previous 11 games.  Sure, for one game Jimbo called a game to damn near perfection.  He finally gave Achane the damn ball as he ran 38 teams while Weigman and Moose Muhammed had a couple of amazing throws and catch.

After the game, Jimbo crowed how his offense can work and that a team that runs tempo has never won a national title.  Do what, Jimbo?  You just salvaged a horrible season with a nice win but calm down a little.  Don’t go lecturing people on how to national titles when your current record is 5-7.

Your 2022 season in which you controlled the offense the entire time was HORRIBLE.  Why in the hell are you talking about how to win a national championship?  Why don’t you get your team bowl-eligible before you start schooling people on how national championships are won?

His comments truly sounded like someone clueless and grasping at straws thanks to a few good positives.

Don’t get me wrong the LSU game was a wonderful win and a way to end the season.  The problem is 11 other games say that game was just a wonderful blip and nothing more.

Jimbo needs to string together some quality wins before believing he’s somehow turned the corner on being a championship-caliber coach.  That coach existed a decade ago.  Not saying he can’t get back there but that’s not the current coach roaming the Aggie sideline.

The sooner he realizes he’s currently Kevin Sumlin more than Jimbo Fisher from a decade ago the better off everyone will be.

2021 Ole Miss and LSU Predicted This:

Coming into this season the 2021 Ole Miss and LSU games perplexed me.  They were games we should have won but we failed to do enough in the second half to win the game.

There were obvious coaching decisions in both of those games that confused me.  I couldn’t figure out if Jimbo didn’t see them or if he knew something I didn’t and was compensating for the limitations of certain players.

Most notably Zach Calzada.

In the Ole Miss game, he failed to see Devon Achane as the clear hot hand in the third quarter and went away from him in the fourth quarter.  I get not riding him in the ground but Ole Miss had done nothing to show they could stop him in the fourth quarter.

In the LSU game on a crucial third and short that would have put the game away if we got a first down.  He should have given the ball to Isiah Spiller.  Instead, he called a roll out to the left on a sort of tight end screen. 

It was an odd call considering Calzada’s challenges all season.  I didn’t understand why he rolled him to his weak side expecting a positive result.  I chalked it up to failed execution and that Jimbo knew a weakness we could exploit.

Looking back after the 2022 season I now realize it was just Jimbo being an offensive idiot that didn’t have a feel for the game.  He was just calling plays not seeing what was happening on the field in front of him.  Sure, some of it could have been player execution but a great coach sees challenges before they happen.

A great coach sees advantages as they’re developing in the game and exploits them.  In both of those games, it’s now clear to me Jimbo was just sticking to plays he thought should work because he drew them up coming into the game.  Sometimes you must scrap what you think should be able to work in favor of what’s working.

A better coach wins both of those games.  Looking back after the 2022 season there’s no longer a question in my mind about what happened in those games.

Jimbo lost those games due to coaching decisions because he couldn’t see how the game was developing.

Plain and simple.  Jimbo’s direct decisions and not player execution cost us those two games back in 2021.  Those same problems manifested themselves in 2022.  It was there in plain sight but we didn’t see it or refused to admit it.

Haynes King and Jahmir Johnson Also Predicted This:

I don’t mean to single out individual players but I feel it’s necessary to further diagnose Jimbo’s challenges.

At the end of the 2021 Aggie Football season every Aggie fan out there was convinced if Haynes King stayed healthy, we would have at least been 10-2 that season.  Guess what?  We were all wrong.  If Haynes King had been healthy, we likely would have gone 6-6.

Here’s an interesting bit of trivia for you – The Aggies have only ever won one game against a Power 5 opponent that Haynes King started.  That game?  The 2021 Colorado game where he got hurt on the second series and Zach Calzada took over.  Remove that game and the Aggies never won a Power 5 game that Haynes King started.

I’m not trying to hang Haynes out.  The dude is a great Aggie and gritted out some games in 2022 that he didn’t have a reason to play.

The problem is Jimbo.  For two seasons Jimbo was convinced Haynes was the guy.  Even in his true freshman year, he was running second behind Kellen Mond and in front of Zach Calzada.  I’ll admit the game film on Haynes was short so we as fans didn’t know but for whatever reason Jimbo always favored Haynes King over Zach Calzada and Max Johnson.

Had we not lost to App State I’m convinced we would not have seen Max Johnson under center against Miami.  Even if the win over App State was ugly I’m convinced stubborn Jimbo would have trotted Haynes King out there against Miami.

The reason I think that?  Max Johnson didn’t see a snap against App State when he should have started the second half and ABSOLUTELY should have started the only series the Aggies got in the 4th quarter.

Stubborn ass Jimbo ran Haynes King out there when it was CRYSTAL clear the Aggie offense needed something else under center.

I don’t know what Max Johnson looked like in practice but I watched a lot of LSU game films that told me Max Johnson was infinitely better than what Haynes King had shown us in 2.5 games against an inferior opponent.  Jimbo either didn’t see it or refused to admit it.  Either way, it’s not a good thing.

Jimbo Fisher COMPLETELY whiffed on his assessment and coaching of Haynes King as the Aggie starting quarterback.  I don’t blame Haynes as much as I blame Jimbo.  He should have seen the issues with Haynes King before an App State loss at Kyle made them obvious.

Jahmir Johnson is a little different.  Most Aggie fans don’t know who he is but he was a graduate transfer from Tennessee for the 2021 season.  He was Tennessee’s starting left tackle in 2020 so he had SEC experience but in the limited film I saw of him he wasn’t great.  He certainly didn’t do anything impressive against A&M when we played Tennessee in 2020.

That 2020 Tennessee team went 3-7 which is somewhat indicative of the talent on that team.  As far as I know, he was never a candidate for even Honorable Mention All-SEC.

The 2021 Aggies needed a left tackle with the graduation of Dan Moore, Jr but I was never sure why Jahmir Johnson was the solution.  His play on the field didn’t show it.

I never could understand why this guy kept getting the nod as a starter.  His play certainly wasn’t showing it. 

The most confusing thing to me was he was hurt in the Alabama game.  You know, the game where upset the top-ranked team at Kyle Field.  Jahmir Johnson didn’t play a single snap and Blake Trainor held his own against Bama’s talented defense.

I just assumed Blake Trainor was the new starting left tackle as he certainly looked better against Bama than Jahmir Johnson looked against anyone so far that season.  The next week against Missouri Johnson was back out there and he started the rest of the season.

He never impressed me as our starting left tackle.  He was routinely beaten and he never even showed flashes of dominating.  He blew assignments which are bad for an experienced senior.  Maybe Blake Trainor got hurt but I never understood why Jimbo kept running Jahmir Johnson out there at left tackle when Trainor seemed like the better option.  At least you could try and develop Trainor.

Looking back at those two players I’m beginning to believe Jimbo has a massive issue distinguishing between practice and game ability.  I get practice is important but there are a TON of players that are great in practice but not so great in games.  Some guys elevate their play in games and play better than they practice. 

You want the guys that elevate their play in games.  Practice matters but throw out the practice film when you have game film to judge someone.

It’s why I no longer care about practice reports and spring games.  I want to see guys perform against opponents who have schemed for them.  That’s when you know if someone is a player or not.  Practice certainly prepares you but some guys simply can’t elevate their play from practice to game situations.

To me, game film matters 100X more than practice film.  Practice film can give you an idea of what a guy should be able to do but the game film is the true determinant that matters.

I have a serious question of if Jimbo can objectively grade game film based on his handling of Haynes King and Jahmir Johnson.

Jimbo’s Body of Work:

I used to be a Jimbo defender until last season.  I would point to the fact he had a national championship under his belt and three conference championships.  He also sounded like he knew a lot about how to win football games.

Well, that national championship was a decade ago and his last conference championship was 9 seasons ago.

In the last 8 football seasons, Jimbo is 64-33.  That’s a .660 winning percentage.  That’s not terrible but I would expect better at programs like Florida State and Texas A&M.

For reference, an 8-4 season is a .667 winning percentage.  For the last 8 football seasons, Jimbo is an 8-4 coach.  That’s not terrible but I certainly wouldn’t classify that body of work as great.

He had an outstanding season in 2020 when we went 9-1 winning the Orange Bowl and finishing 4th in the polls.  That was a diamond in the rough though as the rest of those 7 seasons have been pretty mediocre with a couple of stinkers thrown in.

If you factor in his last full decade as a head coach he’s 81-34.  That’s a .704 winning percentage.  A 9-3 season is a .750 winning percentage.  So even if you factor in two seasons where he went 17-1 he’s not quite a 9-3 head coach over the last decade.

Based on his last decade of football I don’t think there’s any way you can classify Jimbo as a Tier 1 coach.  He’s certainly not in the discussion belonging with Nick Saban and Kirby Smart who is the clear Tier 1 of college football coaches.

I’m not even sure right now I’d include him in the discussion of Tier 2 coaches including Ryan Day, Lincoln Riley, Brian Kelly, Kyle Whittingham, Dabo Swinney, and Jim Harbaugh.  He lost that tier with his 2021 and 2022 seasons.

I do think he’s in Tier 3 of coaches with guys like James Franklin, Josh Heupel, and a host of others.  He can certainly coach himself into Tier 2 in 2023 but as of right now, I believe Jimbo Fisher is a Tier 3 coach based on his past decade of college football.

I’ll leave you with one more sobering thought when it comes to where Jimbo Fisher currently stands as a football coach – It’s not unreasonable to argue Florida State is in a better spot than Texas A&M right now.  That can easily be flipped in a season but if you’re being objective right now you can’t definitively say Texas A&M is a better football program than Florida State.  Florida State might be on a better trajectory than Texas A&M.

Geez, Jimbo.

The Vaunted 2022 Recruiting Class:

Jimbo has always been seen as a pretty good recruiter.  His classes at A&M have ranked between the Top 5 and Top 10 in his first three full years.  In 2022 he pulled in arguably the greatest recruiting class ever.  That’s an impressive feat.

I think there are a lot of reasons it was so good and not just NIL-related.  I certainly think NIL was a factor but I think Jimbo and his staff also did an outstanding job.  Couple that with a big win over Bama at home where kids started recruiting one another and the Aggies pulled off something pretty amazing.

A year later it doesn’t look so great.  There are certainly some bright points from it but 7 guys are gone.

Sure, 4 of them couldn’t come back due to team suspensions and likely academic issues from the university.  I have no facts there are academic issues but let’s be real – If they’re smoking from a vape pen in the locker room after an actual game do you think they’re keeping up with their studies?  I’m going to guess they were dealing with more issues on coming back than football related.

Either way, it’s a bad look.  You had 4 guys that didn’t have any discipline.  How did they get through the cracks?  This is stuff Sumlin used to do.  He took questionable character guys all the time just because they had talent.

That class looked great on paper but a year later it’s more like the previous recruiting classes Jimbo had where it’s a Top 5 to Top 10 class.  That’s great but Saban and Smart are battling it out for the top recruiting class EVERY year.

If Jimbo can’t get over the Top 5 hump we’re going to struggle because we just won’t have the needed depth to compete with Bama and Georgia.  That’s where I want to be.  Jimbo is getting paid to compete with Saban and Smart.

For one recruiting class, it looked like he could pull it off. 12 months later it sure looks questionable.

It looks worse at the moment.

No Recruiting Momentum:

For whatever reason, we seemed to have lost some recruiting momentum last summer.  We picked it up in the Fall with a nice win over Miami but then it completely fell apart as the losses piled up.

We all know about the de-commitment of Anthony Hill.  He was the best linebacker in the country and committed to A&M over the summer.  As the losses piled up he de-committed and eventually signed with Texas.  That’s a MASSIVE loss.  I can’t tell you how big that loss was.

Some people say it wasn’t totally on Jimbo but I say one thing about that – BULLSHIT.

Jimbo is the head coach and everything runs through him.  Anthony Hill was THE biggest recruit that was needed and he slipped away.  Blame the position coach, recruiting coordinator, or whatever else but plain and simple a great head coach keeps that kid locked in.

The kid was committed to Texas A&M and he de-committed to sign with our in-state rival.  That’s all on Jimbo.  100% of it is. 

Somehow the play on the field and recruiting staff Jimbo had in place allowed doubt to creep into this kid’s mind. 

That’s.  On.  Jimbo.

I will give Jimbo credit he and his staff did a nice job of scrambling at the end to salvage what was looking like a pretty failed recruiting class.  They added a couple of quality receivers and Rueben Owens along with holding onto guys like David Hicks.

The only issue is it’s just a Top 15 class.  It’s a smaller class but even if you judge it on per recruit average it might improve to a Top 10 class.  It’s a pretty drastic reduction from his previous 4 classes.

It’s got some great individual pieces but it’s not going to add a ton of depth which is desperately needed.

The 2024 class is stuck in neutral. 

There is minimal recruiting momentum.  We’re not getting the quality of guys even visiting College Station anymore.  Aggie recruiting sites will spin stuff to make it look like everything is okay but it’s not.

We’re back to the Sumlin days of recruiting where there are a few nuggets here and there but there’s a drastic difference between recruits visiting College Station compared to recruits actually committing and signing elsewhere.

Go look at the recruiting lists since the 2022 class.  It’s a little above average.  To compete in the SEC West you have to be pulling routine Top 5 classes.  Every class is going to have attrition and guys that don’t pan out.  That’s why you must stack them every year if you’re going to be elite.

You can’t rely on one or even two years to get over the hump to the elite.

Jimbo has lost some serious luster when it comes to recruiting.  The lists don’t lie.

OU, LSU, and Texas are all recruiting better than us right now.  Those are our three biggest recruiting rivals and they have a ton more momentum right now.  They’re recruiting well while it seems Jimbo is sitting on his hands.

Jimbo had his foot on their throats and he let them up.  This reminds me of R.C. Slocum when Bob Stoops arrived in Norman, Nick Saban in Baton Rouge, and Mack Brown in Houston.  R.C. lost a ton of recruiting momentum to those three guys and he never recovered.

Fran, Sherman, and Sumlin could never get above those teams and we saw what happened.

Sure, Jimbo can make some staff changes and he certainly needs to but the only real way to improve recruiting is simple – Just win, Jimbo.

No Roster Urgency:

I respect loyalty but there’s a fine line between being loyal and bringing in competition.  There has to be healthy competition to be great.

I think everyone knows we had a large number of transfers in the off-season.  I don’t have a problem with the guys that transferred.  Other than the 4 guys that likely couldn’t come back for academic reasons most of the guys that entered the portal weren’t part of the two deep.

The problem I have is Jimbo didn’t add enough people coming back.  He added some nice defensive backs and a nice prospective receiver but we need linebackers and a left tackle.

I get those positions don’t grow on trees and every team wants them but there were a couple of linebackers that would have been great additions.  We seemed to have had a good chance at the linebacker from Oklahoma State but he went to USCal.  There were also another couple of linebackers we didn’t even seem to have a chance with. 

Linebacker is a serious position of need and Jimbo did zero with it in the transfer portal.  He could have tried to keep Ish Harris but he transferred to UH.

At tackle, there were a few guys out there but we didn’t sniff any of them.  You’ll take Jahmir Johnson two years before but you can’t/won’t take anyone else when you need it?

We have roughly 10 open scholarships right now.

USE THEM AT POSITIONS OF NEED!!!!  That’s linebacker and offensive line.

You have no recruiting momentum and need depth.  What the hell are you waiting on, Jimbo?

I don’t get what he’s doing.  Much like his offense in 2022, he’s not working on his current roster with any sense of urgency.  There are some obvious holes and Jimbo is acting like everything is fine.

It’s not fine, Jimbo.

We’re coming off a 5-7 season and had roughly 20 guys transfer that added depth.  We have no recruiting momentum.  You need to add new guys or hold more of the ones you have.

It feels like he’s banking on a great 2023 season to get everything back on track.  It’s entirely possible that happens but that seems like a big roll of the dice.

Jimbo seems to be clueless about the current state of his roster and his position for filling it.

Create some damn urgency.

Where’s the Draft Picks:

The ultimate decider for a program’s success is wins and losses.  The next determinant is NFL draft picks.  It’s a very objective measure.  32 teams that make more money when they win decide whom they want on their team.

Recruiting rankings certainly matter but NFL draft picks are a better determinant because I value NFL personnel much more than recruiting services.  Plus, it also factors in how well a coaching staff can develop talent beyond just recruiting it.

How’s Jimbo doing?

Well, there’s been 17 Aggies selected in the NFL since the 2019 draft.  That’s the first draft after Jimbo’s first full season.

Would you believe me if I told you only four of those guys are Jimbo’s guys and the rest are Sumlin’s?

Kenyon Green, DeMarvin Leal, Isiah Spiller, and Jace Sternberger are Jimbo’s guys.  The rest of the 14 guys are Sumlin’s guys.

If you factor in the 2023 draft we’re likely to get Antonio Johnson, Devon Achane, and Jaylon Jones drafted.  That will be 20 guys drafted in Jimbo’s first five full years.  Only 7 will be his guys.

Sure, you expect the previous coach to have some guys in that group but Sumlin still has 2/3 of the draft picks in those five years.

I know some guys came back but that’s only because their draft grade wasn’t high enough.  That’s not exactly a glowing endorsement for Jimbo’s development and/or utilization of those guys.

At the current moment, one could reasonably argue that Kevin Sumlin was a better recruiter and judge of talent.

That ain’t good, Jimbo.

October 14, 2023:

I’m not a licensed therapist so I can’t offer you any real therapy on how to handle the current state of Aggie Football.

For me, I’m going to try and temper my emotions until the evening of October 14, 2023.  The Aggies will be coming off their 7th game, 4th straight SEC game, Bama/Tennessee back to back, and headed into our bye week.

I feel at that moment we’ll be able to sit back and make a true assessment of where things stand.

Anything up until that moment is pure speculation.  Even the smartest college football analyst has no way to predict how the Aggies will be at that point.  Anything you hear or read between now and that date is just a guess.

No need to get worked up over it.  Just let the games play out however they do.

There’s absolutely a chance the Aggies are 7-0 at that point.  I firmly believe that.  I just don’t know if it’ll happen due to the most recent body of work for Jimbo.

We have the talent at starting positions to win our first seven games. 

It’s a tall task but if the starters stay healthy and the coaching staff decides they want to be great this team can be great.  I’d put it way more on coaching than the players.  The talent is there.

It’s not very deep so we can’t handle a ton of injuries but it’s there.  It’s entirely up to the coaching staff to utilize that thin level of talent against each week’s opponent.

If I had to wager money right now I’d say this team is 5-2 at that point.  Miami, Auburn, and Arkansas will be tough but I believe we’ll win those games simply because our youth will have matured from last season.

I don’t think we have the coaching staff to beat Alabama and Tennessee this season.  They’re both losing great quarterbacks but their bowl games are an indication they’ll load up and be fine.  I know Bryce Young is leaving but Bama showed up for that game in a big way.  I expect that trend to continue going into the 2023 season.

Everyone is writing off Nick Saban and Alabama because heaven forbid they lost two football games in 2022.  All they did was load up with more talent and their coordinators found new homes.  I’m sure Nick Saban is burned up watching Kirby win back-to-back national championships.  I’m quite certain Nick Saban is operating with a sense of urgency, unlike Jimbo.

I thought Tennessee would take a step back in 2023 due to the loss of Hendon Hooker.  If the Orange Bowl is an indication they’re not going to miss a beat with Joe Milton under center.  Tennessee wiped the floor with a pretty solid Clemson team.  Sure, it’s not the same Clemson with Deshaun Watson or Trevor Lawrence but that’s still a damn good football team.  Tennessee annihilated them.

I expect Bama and Tennessee to be too much for the Aggies in 2023.  If that happens we’re looking at a 9-3 or 8-4 season as I believe there will be another loss or two in there.

If that happens Jimbo will have reached a similar point we experienced under Fran, Sherman, and Sumlin.  Whatever positive momentum he ever had is lost and it’s clear he’s not the coach we hoped he was.  The detractors will have won because the body of work will say Jimbo is not the guy who won the national title in 2012.  That guy is long gone.

I hope it doesn’t happen but if we lose to Bama and Tennessee it’ll be painfully clear in year 6 of Jimbo he still hasn’t gotten us there and likely won’t.

I know there are lots of examples to show Jimbo can come back from where he is right now.  Brian Kelly at Notre Dame, Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, and most recently Sonny Dykes at TCU.  My problem with those comparisons is they didn’t have to do it in the SEC West.  It’s a different animal.

It’s possible but from where we are right now it doesn’t look likely.  I don’t think Jimbo has it in him.  I don’t.  It’s a mighty big hill and I don’t think he’s capable of climbing.

I hope he proves me wrong and I’ll be there cheering the whole time if he does.

Until then, like that prominent Aggie said, “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”

So that’s what I’m going to do.  Relax and enjoy those first seven Aggie football games because there’s nothing I can do about the results.

The starting talent is there if the coaching will carry it along.

Just win, Jimbo.

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