A question that’s been rolled around the collection of Nick Saban disciples during the SEC media days this week has been if they knew Saban’s record against his former assistants. Some were well aware but Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said, “I’ve never heard that, never, ever heard that before.”
Fisher was Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU where the two won a national championship together in 2003. Fisher would later become the head coach at Florida State where he won another championship in 2013 and later on would face Alabama in 2017 and 2018 as the Aggies head coach where he would add his name twice to the list of former assistants who haven’t beat Saban.
But the 53-year old is not alone in his quest to defeat the mighty coach Saban as his former assistants are 0-16 against him. Even though none have been able to climb that mountain, Fisher believes he knows what it’s going to take to break into the win column.
“We all know, Alabama established itself as a great program. Nick is a great coach. What’s it going to take? 60 minutes of great football,” said Fisher. “You have to line up and play. And more importantly, you have to expect to win the game.”
It sounds simple, but it’s certainly easier said than done. Other than Kirby Smart and Georgia, no one has really even come close to taking down Saban. Saban has gone up against eight of his former assistants in his career and for the most part, has completely dominated not just by winning but how his teams are winning. The Alabama head coach is currently outscoring his former assistant’s teams 647-220 with a point differential of 427.
That means Saban isn’t just beating them. He’s embarrassing them.
But Fisher is right about his team’s mentality when facing the crimson tide. You can’t go in scared and expect to win the game. There is a reason why Clemson, Georgia, Ole Miss and LSU have found success against Saban lead teams in the past decade. Those teams shared the mentality that they belonged on the same field as them and didn’t let outside voices distract them.
“Worry about playing well in the game, performing, making the plays when you have to, and then you’ll get the results you want,” said Fisher. “They established themselves, and they deserve it. But we’ll see in time.”
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77