By LARRY VAUGHT
Texas A&M will host No. 13 Kentucky Saturday night and has lost only two games — to No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Clemson — this year. The Aggies are also coming off a 24-17 win over Arkansas.
However, first-year coach Jimbo Fisher is far from happy with his team going into the UK game.
“Probably played our worst football game of the year by far and need to get things. Had decent intensity. But our intelligence level, how to play and how to expect to win and play from ahead and do things that champions do and good football teams do, we’ve got to grow in it,” Fisher said after the Arkansas game. “I’ve got to continue to teach, educate, and make sure that doesn’t happen. We got to get better.”
The Aggies got off to a big lead and then managed to only hold on against Arkansas, something that did not please Fisher.
“You got to take the air out of people. You got to take their hope away. As long as there’s hope, that gives momentum and that changes games,” Fisher said. “On the offense, we had plenty of opportunities to miss, whether it was missed kicks, finishing drives, silly penalties get in the red zone, get backed up, turn it over with a pick. I mean, all kind of things.
“We didn’t play intelligently enough as a football team to understand how to win and play at a championship level.”
Fisher stopped short of calling the win a step backward — but the message was still there.
“We just didn’t play very well. Punt returns, we didn’t get many returned. We did miss two field goals, which is critical. Our coverage is bad. We’ve got to get those things cleaned up. We didn’t play well. We have got a lot of things we’ve got to fix and work on if we’re going to play in this league and play at a high level,” the Texas A&M coach said.
Quarterback Kellen Mood has thrown four interceptions in the last two games. Kentucky’s defense is third in the nation in scoring defense.
“As a quarterback, every time you touch the football, the game changes good or bad. At least be neutral sometimes. Sometimes neutral is a win. You have got to understand how to play that,” Fisher said. “I’ve got to get him playing more intelligently in those key situations and keep educating him so we don’t make those mistakes again.
Running back Trayveon Williams went over 100 yards rushing again but Fisher was not overly happy with him, either.
“He missed a couple cuts on some runs, pickups but had some really nice runs in the game. We have to get some other guy some carries,” Fisher said.
If that wasn’t enough Fisher got into an altercation during the game with one of his best defensive players, Tyrel Dodson. Fisher was caught on camera grabbing him by the facemark. The coach said he was upset because Dodson was involved in a argument/fight on the field.
“I don’t need that guy out there pushing and shoving, getting in a fight in the game. Lose one of our best players on defense and our team leader, that’s great. Learn to put your pride away and go on the sideline. There ain’t no sense to go out there and push and shove and do dumb things out there when you’re locked in on the game. He plays great. He’s a heck of a player for us,” Fisher said. “I’ve had enough. I don’t want you out there fighting and — make the play, shut your mouth, go on.
“Emotions get in football. It’s an emotional game. But you’ve got to play intelligently. You got to play to win. That’s one of our team leaders. That’s a guy we count on for everything, make calls, do everything. That guy is critical. You’ve got to understand that role. There’s something bigger than the individual battle that you’re going where. That’s all I was trying to make a point to him.”