Jimbo Fisher

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Bring on Georgia! Joe Burrow sets SEC passing record as No. 2 LSU rolls over Texas A&M

8 Comments

The last thing Ed Orgeron wanted to see was for his No. 2 LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC) have to play in anything remotely close against Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4 SEC) after last year’s multiple overtime affair in College Station. Orgeron got what he wanted with LSU blowing out the Aggies 50-7 in a game where the head coach of the Tigers could give an early rest to some key players.

Joe Burrow was one of those players getting a chance to take the rest of the night off in the fourth quarter. He turned in quite a performance as his case for the Heisman Trophy continued to build. Burrow completed 23 of 32 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Burrow also took over the SEC’s passing record for most passing yards in a single season. Burrow passed Kentucky’s Tim Couch, who set the conference single-season passing record of 4,275 yards in 1998. Burrow is now up to 4,366 yards this season. Burrow also passed Chad Kelly of Ole Miss (4,042 yards in 2015) and Texas A&M’s own Johnny Manziel (4,114 yards in 2013) in the process of moving up to the top spot in the SEC record book in the game.

LSU’s defense has not been one of its strengths this season, especially compared to previous seasons, but it was a major factor on Saturday night against the Aggies. Kellen Mond was in for a frustrating evening as he went just 10-of-30 for 92 yards with three interceptions thrown. The Aggies had just 164 yards as a team midway through the fourth quarter, while LSU had racked up 554 yards of offense. Ja'Marr Chase had seven receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns as Burrow’s top target on the night.

LSU will now begin preparing for their first appearance in the SEC Championship Game since 2011. Their opponent that season? Georgia. The Tigers took that contest by a lopsided score of 42-10, with Tyrann Mathieu taking MVP honors for the game. That win sent LSU to the BCS National Championship Game for a rematch of a regular-season contest against Alabama. A win next week against Georgia would once again send LSU to secure LSU’s chance to play for a national title, although as one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff. LSU has yet to make an appearance in the College Football Playoff. Given their current standing, an argument could also be entertained for LSU as a playoff team even with a loss next week, but a win would book LSU with no questions asked. Georgia will be playing in its third consecutive SEC Championship Game. They won in 2017 against Auburn to grab a spot in the playoff but lost last year to Alabama to end their playoff hopes. This will be the fourth meeting between LSU and Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

Texas A&M will move on to the bowl season, but their bowl outlook is not nearly as grand with five losses under their belt. Jimbo Fisher ends his second regular season as head coach of the Aggies with the same record his predecessor, Kevin Sumlin, had at the time of his dismissal.

Jimbo Fisher wishes Florida State and Willie Taggart the best after Noles fired Taggart

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
5 Comments

It was only a matter of time before former Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher was asked about this week’s developments out of Tallahassee. Florida State fired Fisher’s successor, Willie Taggart, on Sunday after a home loss to Miami.

“I hate it for the program, himself, the kids and everybody involved,” Fisher said when asked about Taggart’s firing, according to The Dallas Morning News. “I wish him nothing but the best. … I know they’ll do well. I wish the school the best, I wish Willie the best, and all those players. I still have a great fondness and love for Florida State and want them to do very well.”

Before leaving the Seminoles to take on the job at Texas A&M, Fisher coached Florida State to the last BCS National Championship and an appearance in the inaugural College Football Playoff. While the search for a new head coach at Florida State is underway, one sports book has gone so far as to list Fisher among a list of potential candidates for the job. Granted, Fisher has extreme long shot odds to be the next head coach at Florida State, and his name was likely added more for fun, along with Bobby Bowden and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Fisher deflected the chance to comment any further on whether or not it was the right time to fire Taggart at Florida State, which should be expected from any coach and not just one that previously coached at the institution. Fisher may have some choice comments he is reluctant to share in the back of his head, but he’s also smart enough to know saying anything on the situation would do no good for anybody.

Fisher wasn’t the only coach in the SEC asked about the situation at Florida State. Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops, who has been mentioned as a potential leading candidate for the job, has deflected the attention on the subject to focus on the Wildcats.

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

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
7 Comments

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

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

AP Photo/Butch Dill
2 Comments

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.