Jimbo Fisher is not here for moral victories.
Instead, the Texas A&M coach broke down at the narrow 28-26 loss last Saturday to No. 2 Clemson position by position, praising the kickoff, punt, and offensive line play while putting most of the blame for the loss on the coaching staff.
“I’m not very happy at all because there were missed opportunities from fundamental breakdowns,” Fisher said. “I’m not blaming the kids. As coaches, you have to coach better and do it more and more until it becomes a habit.”
The Aggies fought back with 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull within two points of the Tigers when Kendrick Rogers caught his second touchdowns of the game with less than two minutes to go.
Clemson stopped the potential game-tying 2-point conversion, but A&M Kellen Mond had the best game of his career, passing for 430 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another 33 yards.
The game was also a personal best for Rodgers, who Fisher said has been impressing him since the spring.
“I thought he had great ability,” Fisher said. “He had good acceleration and ball skills and he was running good routes in the spring, it was just a matter of his maturity. He went out and had a couple good games, and hopefully, he’ll build on that.”
Still, the Aggies made some mistakes. Kicker Daniel LaCamera missed a short field goal and had another blocked, quarterback Nick Starkel fumbled on the only play he was on the field, and Clemson had seven plays of 15 or more yards.
“They’ve got to be more disciplined in what we’re doing, and that comes from us coaching,” Fisher said. “We all have to look at ourselves and how we do it because, as we saw, this team has some talent. It has to learn how to expect to win.”
Fisher’s teams at Florida State historically started slow and got better as the year went on.
The next chance he has with the Aggies come Saturday night against Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks are 2-0 — boasting wins against Southeastern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi — and out up more than 500 yards of total offense in each game.
“It’s not about trying to peak, it’s the grind,” Fisher said. “You have to embrace the grind. Your body and mind absorb it and it starts to become second nature and it starts to become a personality. There’s no way to do it other than practice and make every day as physically demanding as we can.”
Fisher said the team can’t get too high or too low following the loss to the Tigers. And following this weekend’s game against ULM, the Aggies have back-to-back games away from Kyle field at No. 2 Alabama and against Arkansas at AT&T Stadium.
The players were encouraged when they saw their coach chewing out a ref following what he thought was a bad touchback call at the end of the game.
Fisher said there are some times when he tries to push down his emotions. But other times, like Saturday, are when it can help out the most.
“This is a family,” Fisher said. “Sometimes this is going to get emotional. This is a game of emotion and passion. I show my emotions and I don’t have a problem with it mostly. We’re all in this thing together.”