The Texas A&M football team, despite being only two weeks away from the season opener, lacked focus during Thursday’s practice, so head coach Jimbo Fisher cut it short by approximately 30 minutes.
“I didn’t see the effort I needed, didn’t see the focus, didn’t see the execution, didn’t see the detail,” Fisher said. “[I] didn’t see the communication, didn’t see the things that make you play good football, consistently.”
The effort was too up and down, and too lethargic for Fisher.
The attention to detail wasn’t good enough “and that can never be accepted,” Fisher said. “And, I’m never going to accept that.”
Fisher said you either create good or bad habits during practice and he wasn’t going to accept bad ones, so he sent the players to the locker room after 75 minutes.
The Aggies will be off Friday.
“We’ll see who wants to play when we get back on the field on Saturday,” Fisher said.
Fisher, in his second season at A&M, didn’t remember cutting any previous practice short.
Thursday’s practice was the 14th of fall camp, which opened Aug. 1. The team has had only one day off, last Friday.
“Everybody’s in the grind,” Fisher said. “That’s what football’s about. That’s why you win tough games. You embrace the grind, you gotta love it. You don’t like the grind? You don’t need to play football. There is no easy way to be good in football. You’re either going to make a choice to do it or you’re not.”
Most of the practices have been in days that had triple-digit temperatures, but the high Thursday was 97 degrees, ending seven straight 100-degree days.
Does Fisher expect the players to return and have their best practice?
“No, I don’t expect the best, but I expect the best practice every day,” he said. “There ain’t no best, you [have to] pick it up. You should never drop. You can’t go higher than your maximum. So it should be the same every day. That’s what you got to aspire to, that’s what you gotta be.”
Fisher, who met the media approximately 30 minutes after ending practice, said he wasn’t mad, angry or frustrated. He said he was just being “factual” adding that yelling is not the answer, nor is trying to grind through an unproductive practice just to say you finished, but create bad habits doing it. Players need internal motivation and that wasn’t the case Thursday, Fisher said.
Fisher, who said he liked Wednesday’s practice, holds every player accountable for the unacceptable practice.
“You don’t need leadership to tell you you’re not doing your job or you’re not doing it well enough, you gotta pick it up,” said Fisher, adding that the team leaders should convey that message. “But that’s part of growing, that’s part of being on a team. We’ll see where they go from here.”
A&M will open the season Aug. 29 against Texas State at Kyle Field.
Fisher hasn’t decided on who will be the 12th Man representative on the team to replace Cullen Gillisapia, who made 38 straight starts. Fisher said he’s looking for consistency and performance over a long period of time.
“We’ll make that choice when it’s appropriate,” Fisher said.
Cornerback Elijah Blades, a junior-college transfer, is hurt and was wearing a yellow jersey. … Sophomore place-kicker Seth Small missed the practice with a fever. … Wide receiver Quartney Davis was back at practice after being injured. … Fisher didn’t know when fellow junior wide receiver Kendrick Rogers would be back practicing.
A&M junior defensive lineman Justin Madubuike and senior punter Braden Mann were first-team picks on the Southeastern Conference coaches’ preseason teams. Junior quarterback Kellen Mond was a third-team pick. Sophomore Jashaun Corbin was the return specialist on the second team and the all-purpose player on the third team. Alabama had 16 players selected, nine on the first team, four on the second team and three on the third team. Georgia was next with 10 selections, four on the first team and three each on the next two teams.