Who could forget the way the 2021 season started for Texas A&M last season at Colorado? The Aggies were prepared to make a run in the SEC West when starting quarterback Haynes King broke his ankle and was lost for the season. Just like that, Jimbo Fisher was staring at a problem he wasn’t expected to face, at least not that early.
If not for the efforts of Zach Calzada to piece things together at the position for the remainder of the season, who knows how bad the record could’ve been for the Aggies. But I can promise you Jimbo will have several guys ready to go in 2022. Now that Calzada has moved on to Auburn, the competition at quarterback will be fierce heading into spring practice.
The Aggies added former LSU starting quarterback Max Johnson from the transfer portal, giving them another solid piece to the puzzle. He will join his brother Jake, the top TE in the 2022 class who signed with A&M. Making things even better for the offensive staff is Conner Weigman, who was a 5-star prospect in the 2022 class. Between those players and a returning Haynes King, we’ve got a full blown quarterback competition in College Station.
On Thursday, Jimbo Fisher met with the media for his spring practice press conference, and he was asked what he expects from the quarterbacks over the next month.
“Tremendous competition. Let me tell you something, how you get to become a better player is you got competition. That’s what we want at every position. You want practice to be your greatest competition each and every day, that you have to know you have to bring your A-game to practice every day to make sure you have a job. And that’s how your team gets better. That’s the culture you create, the way you practice, especially the intensity you practice with.
“Of course you want to see their leadership, their knowledge of the game, their decision making, toughness, competitiveness, there’s so many things,” Jimbo added. “The biggest thing is that it will bring great competitiveness, and that’s what we have to have at every position if we are going to grow as a team.”
King, Johnson and Weigman all have the ability to start for the Aggies in 2022. So, it’s not surprising to hear Jimbo Fisher this excited for a QB competition over the next 15 practices. But deep down, he also knows they’ve got to find the guy who can take the lead going into the summer, even though Fisher won’t openly name one of them to be the starter. Fisher needs this trio to continue battling each other through the hot summer workouts and into fall camp. But you know Jimbo would love to see one of these guys take the ball and run with it.
The one concern that the Texas A&M coach put to bed on Thursday was the health of Haynes King. He emphatically declared King is ready to go.
“Oh yes, without a doubt, he’s been outstanding, running off-season, leading everything. Haynes has had an outstanding off-season, running, jumping, doing everything. Johnson has been outstanding and so has Connor Weigman. All three of those guys, I am really anxious to watch. You’re gonna get a fight, man. Competition is going to raise the level of play and it is very exciting for us. As you know, you can’t survive with one. … Those three guys have really excelled, from day one.”
Jimbo also praised the effort each one has put in during the off-season workouts. If he’s going to have a spirited competition, it all starts in the weight room and Jimbo understands that.
“Every off-season workout, we do a ratings system, where if you’re playing championship football, you wear a maroon jersey, just from an effort standpoint. Effort, toughness, all the things you’re doing. Not about physical ability, has nothing to do with it. Just from all the intangibles, you make a choice about what you do. And if you were average, you wore yellow. Below average, you wore white. Those (QBs), day one, wore red jerseys and never took them off. That whole position group, right off the bat ,they jumped on it. They’re pushing each other, and that’s what you want.”
Both on and off the field, the QB competition at Texas A&M will be one to watch over the next six months. Because of how good this team can be at the other key positions on the field, Jimbo has to get it right behind center. So expect him to take his time and not rush into this one. As we all witnessed last season, every team is just one QB injury away from losing a shot at a championship.
The Aggies have a shot at contending for a Playoff spot next season if a few things go their way. But it all starts with the signal caller.