“We’re very average right now.”
Those were Jimbo Fisher’s words to a sideline reporter in the immediate aftermath of Texas A&M’s 34-0 pasting of New Mexico.
That on-field opinion didn’t change after Fisher got back to the locker room, met with his team and eventually addressed the assembled media.
“That’s the truth,” he maintained. “We’re playing very average. I mean, we’re much more capable in what we can do.”
Such a sentiment has two sides. On one hand, the No. 7 Aggies have a much higher ceiling than what they’re shown in a 3-0 start. On the other, they’re not close to finding that ceiling with the meat of the season looming.
“Listen, potential is the worst thing you can have,” Fisher continued. “That means you ain’t done it. I hate the word ‘potential.’ Somebody says you got ‘potential,’ that drives me nuts.
“That means I’m not coaching right and they’re not playing right. We’ve got to get better in all those aspects. And we’ve got to grow up across the board and in everything we do, and play with much more consistency as a team and learn to play off each other.”
Zach Calzada definitely took a step forward in his first career start with 275 yards passing and three touchdowns, but there is room for improvement. The offensive line continues to juggle personnel, and hasn't been the strength Fisher envisioned.
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Isaiah Spiller didn’t argue Fisher’s “average” assertion. If anything, the team’s leading rusher admitted the Aggies could do a better job of remaining focused.
“Just our mentality of finishing,” said Spiller, who ran for 117 yards against New Mexico. “I feel like that’s the keyword for this week, finishing as a team. You know, the O‑line, receivers, running backs, finishing our plays and just not losing focus throughout the game because we’re winning. Staying focused and locked in the whole game.”
The warmup part of the schedule is over. Up next is the biggest test of the season to date, as Texas A&M lines up against No. 20 Arkansas in the SEC opener for both teams next week. The resurgent Razorbacks (3-0) are out to prove their win against previously-ranked Texas was no fluke and that they’re a force in the SEC West.
This clash at AT&T Stadium in Arlington will go a long way towards figuring out what Texas A&M’s “potential” really is.
“We’ll find out, we better because that team we’re playing is very physical,” Fisher said. “That team we’re about to play and the rest down the line, in this league, that’s big‑boy ball. You better grow up.”
Part of that maturity comes with the details. Blocking, tackling, running routes, making the right reads, being physical.
It's just not the play of Calzada that will determine how far the Aggies can go.
“We’ve got to get better across the board fundamentally, mentally, and psychologically to understand what’s in front of you and to embrace it and attack it and not just go through it,” Fisher said. “You’re going to play real teams. This is the SEC West. It don’t get no better. This is as good a ball as there is. You better strap it on and better understand, and you better like it and you better ready for it in all phases.”
Average won’t cut it.