Jimbo Fisher hasn’t coached his first game at Texas A&M, but he already has ideas about how he wants his Aggies defense to play.
Fisher discussed his plans for his new team during a news conference Wednesday before the Aggies face Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl.
The same word kept popping up: Multiplicity.
Take an overall flexible scheme, add players who are comfortable in multiple roles and the result is a preliminary blueprint of what Fisher wants to see from this defense once he takes command next season.
“The way the game is being played now, just like in basketball there’s no positions; in certain things in football, there’s no positions,” Fisher said. “You’ve got to have guys that can rush the passer, that can play in space, that can play the back end when you want to play nickel and dime.
“I think the multitude of a guy’s abilities to play multiple positions in today’s game, because it is such a situational game, is very important for how we recruit and how we go forward in our team.”
This season, A&M’s defense was a mixed bag, filled with things the Aggies did well (like ranking in the top five in the nation in sacks) and things they didn’t (finishing 94th in opponents’ quarterback rating).
Will multiplicity make the difference? It’s possible. Though Fisher’s background is on offense instead of defense, his Seminoles teams ranked in the top 25 of total defense in four of the past five seasons.
“You’ve got to be versatile on your side of the ball,” Fisher said. “You have to be able to sub packages, be able to go nickel, be able to go dime and different things, but also play with big packages.”
Fisher said that there is no timeline for hiring a defensive coordinator to succeed John Chavis, expected to take the job at Arkansas, but he said that “we’ll get the right guy.”
One thing that nobody questions, though, is whether Fisher understands the scale of the challenge of SEC play. Fisher, a former LSU offensive coordinator, credited the SEC with increasing the standard of competition across the sport.
“I think what it’s done is raise the level of college football up,” Fisher said. “You knew if you wanted to play, you had to play at the level of the SEC.”
Texas A&M concludes its season against Wake Forest in Friday’s Belk Bowl in Charlotte.
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