How Texas A&M returns to 2023

Texas A&M opened the season with high expectations, placing in the top 10 in the AP poll. For the first time since 2008, however, the Aggies will be sitting at home when bowl season begins and are currently sitting at 3-7 with games against UMass and LSU remaining.

Texas A&M has been extremely disappointing, especially on the offensive side of the ball, as the Aggies rank bottom in the SEC averaging 21.5 points per game and have the second-last total offense at 350 yards per game. On Tuesday night, Josh Pate was asked on his show Late Kick how Texas A&M and Texas are getting back on track with Jimbo Fisher and Steve Sarkisian at the helm. When it comes to troubleshooting A&M, Pate believes it starts with taking a deep look at the overall philosophy surrounding the program.

“A&M has to disassemble the thing and start over. By the way, I don’t mean the program. I mean the philosophy. They just need a philosophical overhaul,” Pate said on his show. “So that’s the focus for the future. Not too far down the road either. Think about where we are right now. It’s November 15th, they have two games left. They have UMass I think and they have LSU and that’s it. There is no bowl game. So your version of the off-season starts in two weeks, less than 14 days. If he makes changes, they will come pretty quickly.”

There have been many questions about whether Jimbo Fisher will deploy a new offensive coordinator and hand over game-calling duties this offseason. Pate believes making big changes on the offensive side of the ball is a good place to start.

“So everyone at College Station, partly out of hope, convinced themselves that Jimbo Fisher knows what needs to happen. I’ve recently spoken to some people close to the program and that’s exactly what they’re saying,” Pate said. “Bro Jimbo like he knows what needs to happen. Look, I hope that’s true, ’cause you’re talking about hiring an offensive coordinator. To put it bluntly, everyone out there who is in the dark about this, the hope and the belief is, okay, it’s a disaster this year that will prompt Jimbo to hire an offensive coordinator and delegate control, Calling to play, whatever the case may be, and be more of a CEO. I think that would be an excellent move.”

However, Pate added a caveat that the biggest question will be whether Fisher sees things the same way and will make the changes that many have pointed out.

“Nobody looks at the production out there and says, yeah, that’s good enough. Not even Jimbo. Has he convinced himself that there’s a lot more to him than just lack of player execution? Or does he really still believe, no, the pieces are available. Our boys just don’t do enough,” said Pate.

“What I’m saying in response to that is Tennessee doesn’t work perfectly every week either. They’re still hanging 45 or 50. I guarantee when Josh Heupel and his staff go into the film sessions on Sunday, they won’t rate their offensive performance as 100%. They don’t paint the whole sheet green. There’s a lot of red. There’s a lot of correctable ones. They score 45 and 50 while imperfect. Jimbo is fighting for the top 20 and he’s sitting there and he’s like, we have to be perfect just to be better. It doesn’t work, it’s a nonstarter. So I can’t answer anything because I don’t know where he’s going.”

Regardless of what changes are made, Pate noted that he believes it’s going to be a big year for both programs as Texas’ move to the SEC looms and the Aggies try to recover from a disastrous year.

“One way or another, it’s going to be a show-me year for a lot of the great coaches out there, and we’re talking about two of them. I can stand up for Jimbo, change the staff. We’re good in 2023. I can make the case for Sark. Just keep making progress, just keep trending up, and if next year we’re in the win nine or ten category or better then we’ll be fine,” said Pate. “What I can’t do for any of these guys is settle for another five or six win season, split the difference. That’s pretty much how they are now. I can’t sell this in 2023. There’s too much at stake. Texas is about to go to the SEC. A&M is already in the thick of it, and they’re the worst team in the SEC this year. Worst. There is no worse record. I can’t sell underperformer in 2023 and then try to sell you in 2024. I can not do that.”