Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher dismissed any exaggerated concerns surrounding his decision to hand over playcalling duties to new offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino. Fisher emphasized that the transition has been seamless and believes Petrino’s expertise will significantly improve the Aggies’ offensive performance.
Entering his sixth season at Texas A&M after a disappointing 5-7 campaign last year, Fisher made the move with the intention of securing an offensive mind of Petrino’s caliber and allowing himself to be more involved in other aspects of the program. The Aggies ranked 101st nationally in scoring offense last season, averaging just 22.8 points per game, and failed to surpass 24 points in nine out of 12 games.
Fisher highlighted Petrino’s track record of success, stating, “Why wouldn’t you bring in someone like Bobby who’s accomplished what he has? Our working relationship is excellent. We communicate effectively, share ideas, and aren’t afraid to challenge each other. Our goal is to elevate our offense. Bobby will make us better. I will still be present in the offensive room, but I’ll also spend time in the defensive room.”
Fisher playfully brushed off media narratives suggesting clashes between him and Petrino during spring practices, emphasizing that such drama makes for intriguing offseason headlines. He jokingly remarked, “Yeah, we’ve had three wrestling matches, two boxing matches.
I mean, it’s been awesome. He’s done a great job recruiting. When we faced each other as head coaches, we closely studied each other’s film. There weren’t many coaches doing what we did.”
While Fisher had contemplated relinquishing playcalling responsibilities during his time at Florida State, he assured that Petrino being the primary playcaller doesn’t mean he will be completely hands-off. He will remain actively involved and wear a headset for every game.
“But every head coach does,” Fisher explained. “Let me ask you this: Does Nick [Saban] call the defense [at Alabama]? But he’s involved. Any head coach is. That’s what a head coach does. They make decisions in crucial situations. Are we going for it? Are we not? Is this the right time to take a shot? Every head coach does that.”
Senior receiver Ainias Smith noticed the shift in dynamics when Fisher introduced Petrino during the first offensive meeting of the spring and then left the room.
Smith said, “The energy [Petrino] brought that day was remarkable, his tenacity. He wants to win and do things right. It’s like when your parent teaches you to do it right, and then the coach becomes the father figure while your father steps back and lets the coach do his job. They have worked incredibly well together on and off the field, building a family-like atmosphere.”
Smith, who is returning from a broken leg, expressed excitement about the versatility in Petrino’s offense and hopes to showcase his skills in the shotgun formation.
“He will utilize all his players, get them involved, and you’ll witness a lot of movement,” Smith revealed.
Petrino joins defensive coordinator DJ Durkin and offensive line coach Steve Addazio as former head coaches on Fisher’s staff. Fisher values the diverse perspectives they bring and welcomes their input.
“You want individuals with great ideas and opinions,” Fisher emphasized. “That’s what all successful coaches have. If you’re afraid to hire talented individuals, then you’re not very good yourself.”
Fisher commended Petrino’s unwavering passion for the sport, stating, “He’s incredibly focused and driven. He loves football, coaching, and the strategic aspects of the game. He also values the relationships he builds with his players.”
When asked about the impact of Petrino on Texas A&M’s offense, defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson expressed sympathy for opposing defenses, remarking, “I feel bad for every defense… except for ours.”
Jackson praised Petrino’s exceptional offensive scheme and anticipated a surge in scoring, adding, “We have to complement them on defense, generate a lot of three-and-outs to allow our offense to put up points. We won’t waste time scoring.”
With the anticipation building, Texas A&M fans eagerly await the upcoming season to witness the positive changes Petrino’s presence could bring to the team’s offensive prowess.