Jimbo Fisher

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A reminder Nick Saban is a perfect 17-0 against former assistants as No. 1 Alabama heads to No. 24 Texas A&M

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It’s that time of the year again when we are regularly reminded that Alabama head coach Nick Saban has never lost to an assistant coach during his coaching career. That perfect streak will once again be put on the line this weekend when the top-ranked Crimson Tide make their way to College Station, Texas to face the No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies. Texas A&M, of course, is coached by Jimbo Fisher. You guessed it. Fisher is a former assistant to Saban.

Fisher has gone 0-2 against his former boss, including last season’s loss in SEC play. Last season marked the first time Fisher faced Saban as a coach of an SEC West Division foe. His previous loss to Saban came while coaching at Florida State when the No. 3 Seminoles opened the 2017 season with a 24-7 loss to No. 1 Alabama in the season opener in Atlanta, Georgia. The most-hyped Week 1 game in quite some time ended up being far from able to match the preseason hype. Florida State hasn’t exactly been the same since and may still be trying to recover from that game.

The odds always seem to be in Saban’s favor, as he generally has the best team in every matchup against his former assistants, and that should once again be the case this weekend. Is Saban due for a loss against an assistant? Perhaps. It’s hard to win so many games before taking a mild hit somewhere along the way, even if by a fluke. Fisher may have Texas A&M working to be a viable threat to Alabama, and maybe playing at home helps, but the Aggies have already lost one game at home to Auburn so it doesn’t seem like this may be a difficult destination for Alabama.

Brett McMurphy of Stadium notes Saban has lost to just nine active coaches. Active coaches with victories against Saban are Les Miles (Kansas; 3), Hugh Freeze (Liberty; 2), Gus Malzahn (Auburn; 2), Dabo Swinney (Clemson; 2), Mack Brown (UNC; 2), David Cutcliffe (Duke; 1), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa; 1), Kevin Sumlin (Arizona; 1) and Kyle Whittingham (1; Utah). Only four of those coaches (Malzahn, Swinney, Ferentz, Whittingham) are at the same program today as they were when they topped Saban. Swinney and Brown, of course, have victories against Saban in the national championship game (Brown in the BCS and Swinney twice in the College Football Playoff).

Is Fisher going to be the first former Saban assistant to beat his old boss? We’ll find out this week. If not, we may be waiting for Kirby Smart to get another crack in the SEC Championship Game.

Neck injury sidelines Texas A&M RB Vernon Jackson for 2019 season

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Concern over a lingering neck injury will prevent Texas A&M running back Vernon Jackson form playing in the 2019 college football season. The injury situation was updated by Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher during SEC media days in Hoover, Alabama.

Jackson injured his neck during spring practices in April. Jackson announced the injury news on his Twitter account to confirm some rumors about his availability at the time, saying it was “much worse than expected.” Jackson noted the injury may keep him from ever playing football again. This update from Jimbo at least keeps the door to a return to the football field open as the Aggies and Jackson move forward not ruling anything out, but also playing it as safe as possible.

Jackson played in 12 games for Texas A&M as a freshman in 2018, mostly on special teams. He was expected to help contribute to a running game that will replace Trayveon Williams, the SEC’s leading rusher from a season ago. Jackson can burn a redshirt year in 2019 to preserve his eligibility. That would leave Jackson with three years of eligibility still at his disposal if a return to football ends up being an option at some point in the future.

SEC rolls out four-day summer media day schedule

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Once again, the SEC will be masters of media day coverage in the middle of the summer with a four-day media day extravaganza. This year, the SEC is returning to Birmingham, Alabama. The SEC distributed updated details about this year’s media day event including what schools and coaches will be speaking on what day.

The SEC will open up the 2019 media day fun on Monday, July 15 from the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – Wynfrey Hotel. Television coverage of the event will be available through the SEC Network as well as ESPN over the course of the four days.

The exact order of what coaches will be speaking at what times will be hashed out later on, but Florida’s Dan Mullen, LSU’s Ed Orgeron, and Missouri’s Barry Odom will be featured on Day 1 on Monday, July 15. Day 2 will feature Kirby Smart of Georgia, Matt Luke of Ole Miss, Jeremy Pruitt of Tennessee, and Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M. Alabama’s Nick Saban will highlight the festivities on Day 3, with Chad Morris of Arkansas, Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State and Will Muschamp of South Carolina also getting their time in front of the microphone. Day 4 will wrap things up with Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Mark Stoops of Kentucky, and Derek Mason of Vanderbilt.

Here is the full SEC Media Day schedule, for those planning ahead.

2019 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS SCHEDULE

MONDAY, July 15
Florida – Dan Mullen
LSU – Ed Orgeron
Missouri – Barry Odom

TUESDAY, July 16
Georgia – Kirby Smart
Ole Miss – Matt Luke
Tennessee – Jeremy Pruitt
Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher

WEDNESDAY, July 17
Alabama – Nick Saban
Arkansas – Chad Morris
Mississippi State – Joe Moorhead
South Carolina – Will Muschamp

THURSDAY, July 18
Auburn – Gus Malzahn
Kentucky – Mark Stoops
Vanderbilt – Derek Mason

While the SEC media days are going on, the ACC will also be holding their media day event in Charlotte, North Carolina. The ACC media day runs from July 16 through July 18.

Oklahoma State loses OL coach to Texas A&M, but a replacement has been found

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It has been a busy couple of days for Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. After losing one offensive line coach to Texas A&M, Gundy has already announced a replacement has been named. A day after reports surfaced saying Texas A&M had hired away Josh Henson to fill their own vacancy at the offensive line coach position in College Station, Gundy has announced the hiring of Charlie Dickey, previously of Kansas State.

And this wasn’t the first time Gundy tried hiring Dickey. The head coach of the Cowboys said he was unable to hire Dickey before because the offensive line coach was dedicated to his boss at Kansas State, Bill Snyder.

Making sure to point out the loyalty Dickey had to his former boss is certainly not just a throwaway line. It can be used to suggest Dickey will be as committed as they come to the Oklahoma State program, which is a nice sales pitch on the recruiting trail.

Like Gundy did at Oklahoma State, Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher wasted little time in filling a vacancy at the offensive line coach position on his staff this week. The Aggies lost Jim Turner to a job in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday. By Friday, reports of A&M hiring Henson were already filed. And now, the next domino in the assistant coaching carousel fell in Stillwater.

Texas A&M loses LB Anthony Hines to season-ending injury

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Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher announced to reporters today that linebacker Anthony Hines will be out for the remainder of the season.

The details of the injury to Hines were shielded by the head coach of the Aggies on the weekly SEC conference call, but Fisher did confirm it was a lower-body injury that will put the sophomore on the sideline for the rest of the year.

Hines played in just one game this season, this past weekend in the home loss to Clemson. The good news is Hines will be able to burn a redshirt season to preserve three remaining years of eligibility with Texas A&M. The new NCAA rule for redshirting players allows a player to appear in up to four games before counting as a year of eligibility used by a player. Situations like this are why that is a rule that benefits the players and the programs they play for.

Hines was listed as a starter for Texas A&M on the team’s depth chart for the Clemson game last week, so his loss is not insignificant for the Aggies by any stretch of the imagination. Sophomore Buddy Johnson and junior Larry Pryor were listed behind Hines on the Week 2 depth chart.