He hasn’t come out and said so, but I’d hazard a guess these past nine months have been among the most enjoyable in Jimbo Fisher’s career. There’s obviously the contract, but I think it goes far beyond that. Jimbo’s a builder, and Texas A&M offered him a chance to do something he’s never done before in 31 years of coaching: to completely build a program in his own image.
He’s obviously been a head coach before, for the past eight seasons at Florida State, and he was given a Head Coach in Waiting designation upon leaving LSU for Tallahassee after the 2006 season, but that was, obviously, Bobby Bowden’s program at the time, and Bowden gradually, awkwardly handed him the keys over the following three seasons.
There’s none of that in College Station. This is a client handing a contractor an unlimited budget to build whatever he wants, however he’d like to do it.
When speaking to the media ahead of the Aggies’ opener with Northwestern State, Fisher drew a similar analogy when asked about installing an offense. He likes to put everything in at once so that a baseline understanding of the complete offense is there. Once the full thing is in, he’ll start working with the players to build a mastery of the fundamental stuff and working up from there.
“I always say when you’re putting your offense in it’s like a library,” Fisher said. “You’ve got to have things (the players) are exposed to, and they may not have them all the way polished, and some of the things we put in may not be for the first three or four games. They may be for games six, seven and eight, something I think we’ll need against an opponent I’ve played or a defensive coordinator I went against… It’s like a book on the shelf. Later on, when you need that book, you pull it out and at least it’s not foreign to them. You can take a couple days, polish it up and be good at it.
I’m a guy who likes to install whole, part, whole. Throw it all out there. If you keep waiting, it’s like, ‘When I get enough money to build a porch, when I get enough money to put a pool in.’ Guess what? Twenty-five years later, you don’t have a pool or a porch. My point is, you put it all in, and then you go back and re-teach it, very detailed again after you’ve put it in once.”
Fisher will call plays from the sideline, with offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey in the booth. Fisher likes calling plays because, well, he’s good at it, he likes it, and doesn’t want to give it up. He played quarterback way back when, began his coaching career as a GA with the quarterbacks at Samford in 1988 and climbed the ladder as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“When you call a game, you call a game through the quarterback’s eyes,” Fisher said. “There’s times you tell him, ‘Alright, we’re going to have to go on a limb, it may be something you’re uncomfortable with but we’ve got to have this to win.’ ‘Got you, Coach.’ And he understands why. I understand what he can do, what his strengths are, what his weaknesses are, according to what situations I put him in, whether it’s run/pass, how advanced on third down he is, how advanced our team is, and I think that’s very important that you can do that.
“Now, Darrell can do that in two seconds. I just like doing that. I still like coaching.”