The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
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From Jimbo, with love

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Texas A&M’s Saturday, Oct. 10 41-38 victory over the undefeated No. 1 Alabama football team and head coach Nick Saban, was a months long endeavor. 

Over five months ago, Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher made a bold promise:
“We’re going to beat his ass.”
On the surface, this claim lacked substance, with many left wondering why Fisher would single out one specific coach — Alabama’s Nick Saban. After all, Fisher had already accomplished almost everything there is to do in college football — two national championships, three conference titles, nine bowl wins and a College Coach of the Year award.
But beating Saban, his former boss, in head-to-head competition had significance of its own.
“I have the utmost respect for Nick Saban. I always have, I always will and I consider us friends,” Fisher said. “But we’re competitors. That’s ball, and I respect him for that.”
Starting in 2000, Fisher worked under Saban as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Louisiana State University. The two won a national championship together with LSU in 2003, but after Saban left for the Miami Dolphins, the duo’s path split. Even apart, the two men’s coaching styles remained similar, something Fisher attributes to the pair’s similar upbringings from the “same neck of the woods” in West Virginia.
Nearly a decade later, Saban went on yet another streak of success as a college football coach. Starting in 2010, Saban began terrorizing his former assistants who had since taken over their own programs as head coaches.
With 24 straight wins and an undefeated record against his earlier protégés, including four wins over Fisher, Saban’s dominance threatened to continue with no end in sight; beating the seven-time national champion seemed to be a feat unconquerable to those who, at one point, worked under the man.
Even so, in Fisher’s words, Saban’s downfall “was inevitable” because “someone was going to do it, in time.”
And though he didn’t necessarily expect it, Fisher himself became the grand champion whose arrival was foretold in his own prophecy.
On Saturday, Oct. 9, the unranked Aggies upset the undefeated No. 1 Crimson Tide in front of 106,815 fans at Kyle Field. Not only did the win put A&M back on track after two consecutive losses to open its SEC campaign, but it also gave Fisher another win of his own — proof he could do what was thought to be impossible and take down his former boss, mentor and colleague.
Saban said he had no choice but to praise his former assistant, impressed with A&M’s ability to snap Alabama’s 19-game winning streak.
“I have great respect for [Fisher]. I always say that. He is one of the best who ever did it,” Saban said on the postgame CBS broadcast. “I learned a lot when I coached with him, and we had a lot of good times.”
By finally defeating Saban, Fisher proved to the rest of the world what those within the A&M football program already knew, senior Seth Small said. The place-kicker’s eventual game-winning field goal, good for 28 yards against Alabama, boosted the Aggies to a win Fisher earned through his impressive coaching prowess.
“One thing that has amazed me about coach Fisher is his ability to gauge where his team is at and the message that they need to hear,” Small said. “Every week, he does a great job of getting that message across.”
A&M’s win was further reinforced by the date on which the game was played — Fisher’s birthday, Oct. 9. Though senior defensive lineman Tyree Johnson “had no clue” it was Fisher’s “big day” at kickoff, the whole team was playing for Fisher by the fourth quarter, Johnson said.
Small said this led to the team working as a more cohesive unit to take down the Crimson Tide. The win was the perfect way to celebrate Fisher turning 56 years old, Small said.
“I didn’t know what to get him [for his birthday], so we thought as a team that we’d like to get him a win over Alabama,” Small said.
In the end, Fisher celebrated his birthday by fulfilling his promise to “beat [Saban’s] ass.” The win, likely to go down in history books, was just another day in the life of a college football coach, Fisher said.
“That was the competitor in me coming out,” Fisher said. “When somebody says you can’t do something, I have a bad habit of [proving them wrong].”

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