Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher wants his players to be confident in everything they do except maybe for making predictions. He’d rather they do their talking on the field, not via social media nor mainstream media.
Junior offensive guard Jared Hocker for the most part said all the political correct things about defending-champ Clemson at Monday’s press conference.
“We’re not going to let them slip away like we did last year,” said Hocker, referencing last season’s 28-26 loss as A&M fumbled the ball out of the end zone and failed on a two-point conversion in the final minute.
Hocker went on to say that “you always have something to prove” and “I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
The 323-pounder, though, might have been blind sided when asked if Clemson as a 20-point favorite could be ripe for an upset?
“Oh, yes, it does,” Hocker said. “There will be an upset.”
Less than a minute later Hocker’s quote was exploding on twitter.
Hocker believes the Aggies are going to win, but should he have said it?
“It’s great to have confidence, [but] that doesn’t need to be said,” Fisher said.
Fisher has done a great job instilling confidence in the team and program since he walked on campus. It’s reflected in a 10-4 record that includes a No. 16 finish last season after a season-ending four-game winning streak.
This year’s team is ranked 12th after opening the season with a 41-7 victory over Texas State and much more is expected, though A&M faces one of the nation’s toughest schedule, which includes four Top 10 teams starting with the top-ranked Tigers.
“You expect any time you line up to play, you expect to be successful,” Fisher said. “But you understand it’s a tall task. We need to play well to have that success. We have to practice well and prepare well to be able to do those things. I’m glad they’re confident. [But] what Jared said doesn’t need to be said.”
You can bet Hocker will have a great week of practice and have one of his best games against Clemson, or at least he better.
“Well, Jared better play well,” Fisher said with a laugh when told Hocker had predicted the upset.
Junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon also backed Hocker’s statement.
“For sure, I have never thought about losing a game this season and I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever did that before, truthfully,” Ausbon said. “There’s been so much work put in and details and I don’t want us looking past anybody. We saw last year how we let certain games slip. Those are great teams we’re playing, kudos to them, but we’re not coming out with a loss in a game.”
That was a bold statement considering Ausbon had just talked about how they’d stayed off social media in fall camp, avoiding all the noise.
“We don’t need to see any of that stuff,” he said. “And it doesn’t matter, when we get between the lines it’s us and them. They’re going to have to deal with us for 60 minutes.”
Along those lines, Fisher said “after the first two hits, that stuff goes away anyway.”
That’s true for the game but Hocker either will be a hero Saturday or he’ll be remembered in the same breath as former running back Jorvorskie Lane, who 12 years ago predicted the Aggies would win in Lubbock for the first time since 1993.
“We’re gonna win in 2007,” Lane said. “That’s a guarantee. I promise you.”
Lane scored to give the Aggies a 7-0 lead, but Tech roared back for a 35-7 victory, its seventh straight in the South Plains.
Lane expected to win, what should he have said? Lane wasn’t part of it, but the Aggies won at Lubbock on the next trip, 52-30.
As for Hocker’s prediction. Odds are good the Aggies beat a Top 10 team this season. He just wanted to be the first, though you have to wonder if any other Aggies will be making predictions.
A&M sophomore running back Jashaun Corbin is from Rockledge, Fla., which is bracing for the landfall of Hurricane Dorian, a Category 4 hurricane. Corbin’s family is boarding up its house in the city that’s on the east side of the state, 45 miles from the Orlando International Airport.
“Just keep praying for the best,” Corbin said. “You really can’t stop Mother Nature from running her course. Really just praying for the best and hoping everything is all right.”
Corbin was home two years ago when Hurricane Irma hit Rockledge. His family waited out a power outage in their living room.
“We had some damage throughout the city,” Corbin said. “It was kind of scary a little bit, but it was all right.”
A&M typically leaves for road games on Thursday and Fisher said that’s still the plan.
Fisher has experienced his share of hurricanes while coaching at Florida State from 2007-18.
“I hate that, because there’s a lot of devastation that goes with those dadgum things,” Fisher said. “Our prayers are with everybody in the Bahamas right now and wherever that thing is going to end up.”
Corbin is one of three A&M players from Florida along with freshman linebacker Tarian Lee Jr., (Tallahassee) and freshman defensive lineman Derick Hunter (Fort Myers.).
“My mom is giving me updates on what they are going to do, because, obviously, I’m worried about them,” Corbin said. “She said, ‘Don’t worry about it. We’ll be fine. Just focus on this week.’”
Senior cornerback Debione Renfro, who has 22 career starts, will miss his second game for a violation of team rules. Junior Myles Jones, who had two of A&M’s four interceptions against Texas State, and senior Charles Oliver are listed on A&M’s depth chart as the starting cornerbacks.
A&M has 11 players from last year’s team make NFL rosters. Those currently on 53-man rosters are center Erik McCoy (New Orleans); fullback Cullen Gillaspia (Houston); tight end Jace Sternberger (Green Bay); linebacker Otaro Alaka (Baltimore); running back Trayveon Williams (Cincinnati); safety Donovan Wilson (Dallas); and defensive linemen Kingsley Keke (Green Bay) and Daylon Mack (Baltimore). Making practice squads were linebacker Landis Durham (L.A. Rams) and offensive lineman Keaton Sutherland (Cincinnati). Linebacker Tyrel Dodson is with Buffalo, but unable to play until he resolves a legal issue.
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• Matchup: Texas A&M vs. Clemson
• When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
• Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.
• Records: Texas A&M (1-0); Clemson (1-0)
• Rankings: No. 1 Clemson, No. 1; Texas A&M, No. 12
• TV: KHRD, Ch. 9
• Radio: WTAW 1620 AM
• Line: Clemson by 17 1/2; O/U 61.
• Next: Texas A&M hosts Lamar, 6 p.m. Sept. 14; Clemson at Syracuse, Sept. 14.