chris bassESPN Senior Writer4 minute read
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Texas A&M Coach Jimbo Fisher told ESPN on Monday that his resignation of playcalling duties to new offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino has been overblown and that the transition couldn’t have been more seamless.
Fisher, entering his sixth season at Texas A&M after a 5-7 season a year ago, said he never would have hired Petrino if he didn’t believe it was in the best interest of the Aggies, in particular, getting an offensive mind from Petrino’s caliber and freeing up the coach to become more involved in different aspects of the program. Texas A&M dropped to 101st nationally in scoring offense last season (22.8 points per game) and scored 24 points or fewer in nine of its 12 games.
“Why wouldn’t you bring in someone like Bobby who’s done it to the level he’s at?” Fisher said. “We get along as well or better than anyone I’ve coached with. We communicate well. We share ideas, we’re not afraid to challenge each other, anything to get to where we want to be on offense. He’ll make us better and he knows I’ll still be in the offensive room, but I’ll also be in the defensive room.”
Fisher joked that any account that he and Petrino had already been arguing in the spring over control of the offense made for good drama for the media to write about in the offseason.
“Yeah, we’ve had three wrestling matches, two boxing matches,” Fisher said, smiling. “I mean, he’s been amazing. He’s done a great job recruiting. When we play against each other [as head coaches], he would study our film and I would study his film. There weren’t a lot of guys doing what we did.”
Fisher said he had already been considering giving up snaps and “played with it for a few weeks” when he was at Florida State. But he said just because Petrino is the main caller doesn’t mean Fisher won’t be fully involved. He will still be involved and will have a headset for every game.
“But all the head coaches do it,” Fisher said. “Let me ask you this: Nick [Saban] call defense [at Alabama]? But he is involved. Any head coach is. That’s what a head coach does. In situations, they make decisions. Shall we go for it? Aren’t we going for it? Is this the time to take a photo? I mean, all the head coaches do that.”
senior receiver Ainías Smith He said he knew things were changing when Fisher showed up for the first offensive meeting of the spring, introduced Petrino and then left the room.
“Energy [Petrino] he brought that day was what you really noticed, just his tenacity,” Smith said. “He wants to win and do well. It’s kind of like your dad tries to teach you how to do it right and then you turn around and play sports and your coach is like the father figure and your dad steps back and lets the coach do his job. They have worked very well together, on the field and off the field, and have brought the family to the scene.”
Smith, who broke his leg a year ago, said he’s excited about the versatility of Petrino’s offense and hopes he’ll get some opportunities in the shotgun formation.
“He’s going to use all his guys, give them the ball and you’ll see a lot of movement,” Smith said.
Petrino is one of three former head coaches on Fisher’s staff along with defensive coordinator DJ Durkin and offensive line coach Steve Addazio.
“You want guys with big ideas and their opinions,” Fisher said. “I mean, all your great coaches do it. If you’re afraid to hire someone you think is very good, then you’re not very good.”
One of the things Fisher likes best about Petrino is his devotion to the sport.
“He’s very focused. He’s very motivated,” Fisher said. “He loves soccer. He loves coaching soccer. He likes the X’s and O’s of soccer, and he likes the relationship with his players.”
Asked about Texas A&M’s offense under Petrino, defensive lineman mckinley jackson he said: “I feel bad for all the defenses… except ours.”
“He’s got a great scheme, a great offensive mind and he’s going to do a lot for our defense because he’s going to put a lot of points on the board,” Jackson added. “We have to complement them on defense and take a lot of triples so they can go up on the scoreboard.
“We’re not going to take our time scoring.”