Richard Justice: Jimbo lights a fire in Cowtown and continues to dominate what Steve Spurrier once called “Talkin’ Season”

Sep 17, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher during the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Miami Hurricanes at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Justice: Jimbo lights a fire in Cowtown and continues to dominate what Steve Spurrier once called “Talkin’ Season”

   I love Jimbo Fisher. Love him, love him, love him. He’s great for college football. He’s great for Texas A&M. He’s really great for those of us in the news bidness.

   Here it is, the middle of May, beginning of baseball season, middle of the NBA playoffs, start of NFL minicamps, and what’s front and center for some of us?


   His results on the field have been decidedly mediocre the last two seasons: 13-11 overall, 6-10 in the Southeastern Conference.

   What Jimbo does dominate is the slice of the calendar Steve Spurrier called “Talkin’ Season.” 

   College football coaches tour the state around this time of the year to speak to booster clubs and let them know things are going swimmingly. Many coaches can do these little talks in their sleep.

   Mack Brown was charming, Grant Teaff reassuring, Mike Leach funny. Darrell Royal handled them with a mixture of humor and gossip, and sarcasm.

   These events are not designed to make news and almost never do.


   Jimbo lights fires!

   Remember a couple of years ago when he said he was going to kick Nick Saban’s bee-hind? (To which Saban responded, “At what? Golf?”)

   Jimbo did it again this week at his A&M Coach’s Night in Cowtown when he was asked about TCU’s 2022 season. Historians will record that TCU was 13-1 before losing to Georgia 65-7 in the National Championship Game.

   Seeing how the Aggies were 5-7, Jimbo may have seen the question as an in-your-face comparison of the high-flying Frogs and the flailing Aggies.  

Jimbo could have complimented TCU on a great season and said something about the Frogs going where Texas A&M will get to before long.

   Only he didn’t stay that.

   “They stayed healthy,” he said, “and they had a lot of experience, and they got to where they got to get to. And then when they got to the SEC, it changed, didn’t it?”


   What Jimbo said after that got less attention: “Sonny did a great job. If you go back and look at their season, there were about five games that they won by making the last play of the game. They found those inches, and we let them slip. In 2020, we made all of those plays, and in 2022, we didn’t make those plays.”

   Predictably, some saw his answer as, well, ungracious. Why pick a fight with TCU fans? Why not sweep your own porch? That would have played well. That would not have been Jimbo.

   Dallas TV man Newy Scruggs shot back on Twitter: “Jimbo’s Aggies got to the Sun Belt and lost at home to App State….but hey….”

   Another Twitter take went like this: “TCU has had more 10-win seasons since 2000 (13) than Texas A&M has had in their entire College Football history (12). #AggieFactThursday”

   And this, friends, is why I love Jimbo.

   I’m not always sure what he’s trying to say, but that’s part of the fun. That rat-a-tat-tat speaking style. That impish smile.

   How he skips between topics so quickly that it’s not always clear whether he wants to kick Nick Saban’s tail or take him out for ribs.

   If you’re amused by this, you should see the expression on the reporters listening in. They are the ones that replay his answers two, three, four times to dissect something that they can use. Sometimes, his answers are a string of thought fragments strung together.

   “Wait, did he just say what I think he said?”

  No one wants to be accused of misquoting the man. On the other hand, what is he saying?

   Many Aggies, predictably, are no longer as thrilled with Jimbo as they were a couple of years ago when he seemed to have A&M on the threshold of the national championship conversation.

   He might really be on the hot seat if not for that $9-million salary and $86-million buyout (according to USA Today).

   Here’s the other side of that conversation: Jimbo continues to bring elite talent into the program. His last four recruiting classes have been ranked 14th, first, seventh, and sixth by

   Some of that talent has left via the transfer portal, and the Aggies probably won’t make The Associated Press Preseason Top 25. But the Aggies finally have an elite quarterback in Conner Weigman and a full-time and first-rate offensive coordinator in Bobby Petrino.

   Fisher has responded to the tough times by locking things down in College Station and offering less access to the program. A&M’s 2023 schedule is typically brutal with a trip to Miami in week two and then a SEC obstacle course in which the Aggies play Arkansas in Arlington, Alabama at home and Tennessee, Ole Miss, and LSU on the road.

   “We will have a good football team,” Fisher said at a recent Houston stop. “Beat the hell outta everybody.”

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