With the season kicking off in three weeks at Kyle Field, Texas A&M football has started their fall camp for the 2019 season with high expectations looming for head coach Jimbo Fisher’s second year at the helm.
Prior to the start of practice on Thursday, Aug. 1, USA Today released their preseason Amway Coaches Poll, placing the Aggies at No. 11. Despite not making the poll last season and being on the cusp of the top-10 in 2019, Fisher hasn’t bought into the hype.
“I guess it is,” Fisher said after being asked if making the poll this year is a step in the right direction. “Everyone else does. I watch these practices and personally I don’t see it. But it’s good, [I] would rather be up there than not I guess.”
Fisher said his priority going into the first days of camp will be finding the best 11 players on each side of the ball. Even though there are players that seem to be a lock at their position going into week one, Fisher said he will be looking for guys that he can count on.
“It’s a new year, 0-0. Just because you did well in the past doesn’t mean that you will again. We’ll see,” Fisher said.
After competing for the starting spot under center last season during fall camp, junior quarterback Kellen Mond said his focus will be much different for this year’s opening practices.
“[I’m] just making sure my footwork is up to par, something that I’ve worked on all offseason,” Mond said. “Still trying to make sure that I’m connecting with the receivers and making sure my timing is just right. [I’m] still working on my eyes and where my eyes should be on the defense, just small details that I’ve worked on in the offseason and gotta progress through the fall camp.”
For defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, many personnel changes have been made up front since his arrival in 2016. Being the only defensive line starter to return this season, his goal for the Aggie defensive front is simple: be the best in the SEC.
“Our standards are set high,” Madubuike said. “And we just come in here doing our best and believing in each other, soak it all in, don’t be afraid to ask questions and communicate.”
As a team, Madubuike said that the players have established a “no social media” rule for the entirety of fall camp. The aim is to have the players be more focused about what is going on into fall camp and prepare for a national championship run with no distractions.
With much of the 2019 recruiting class hitting the practice fields for the first time, defensive back Elijah Blades and running back Isaiah Spiller has been catching Fisher’s eye on the first day.
“The way they practice they’ll get plenty of reps,” Fisher said. “So we’re going to get to see [them]. You go out there on the first day of practice and never be on the practice field and execute the number of reps [Spiller] took, he seemed really well to me too.”