Jimbo Fisher talks tight ends, schemes, 'good attitude' after first Texas A&M practice

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Only one practice into the Jimbo Fisher era, it's clear things are going to be different at Texas A&M.

Whether it's the atmosphere, the style of play or something as simple as a quarterback-center exchange, the Aggies' new head coach is already putting his stamp on the program.

Overall, Fisher took away mostly positive impressions of his new group after the first of 15 spring workouts.

"They had a good attitude," Fisher said. "I thought they worked good. They're getting used to new schemes, just practice in general. Everything's different for them."

That's an understatement. When the team took the practice fields for the first time under Fisher, the national championship-winning coach whom Texas A&M brass lured from Florida State with a 10-year, $75 million contract, there was no music (previously a staple in the past six years under former coach Kevin Sumlin), only the sound of coaches shouting instructions, praise or criticism with plenty of colorful language mixed in.

Roughly 15 minutes passed before a quarterback threw a pass in practice; handoffs to running backs were the first things they worked on. Tight ends, an underutilized part of recent A&M teams, were heavily involved.

The tight ends are players Fisher figures to be a significant part of the offense. In his last six seasons at FSU, Seminoles tight ends accounted for 181 receptions, nearly 30 per season. Aggies tight ends combined for just 32 catches total in that same six-year span.

"We'll spend a lot of time [on quarterback-tight end work]," Fisher said. "Listen, those tight ends, I mean you don't, they might not have 80-90 catches, but they're going to have 30, 40, 50 catches and it's going to be how they get them. Big third downs, red zone, how to keep drives alive. There's so many things, so many little nuances for a tight end on how he's got to get open and that takes time and the quarterback has got to get a feel for it."

The quarterbacks also got plenty of work taking snaps under center, which wasn't the norm in recent years at Texas A&M or elsewhere, as shotgun snaps have become commonplace nationally. Fisher said "we'll be in both" shotgun and under center, but learning the latter is important in the offense he plans to run.

"There's some things we like to do in our offense that I think you need to be under center," he said. "Even in the throwing game and the play-action game, and different things are going, I think you have to be able to do that."

Fisher said he felt like the Aggies are in "great" shape as they enter spring and they had no issues on Tuesday.

"Our body fats have dropped, strength got better," he said. "We're not out of shape. We didn't have nobody cramp, we had nobody miss practice, we had nobody come out who were tired, and we had a lot of reps in practice; we go fast. So I was very pleased with that part."

It will be some time before Fisher has a grasp on what type of talent he has on hand, as the team is still in the learning stages of the new offensive and defensive schemes, making evaluations more deliberate. Overall, Fisher said he was pleased with what he saw.

"Of course, gotta get a lot better at some things, but I like the attitude, I like the effort," Fisher said. "They're learning. Hopefully in the next couple of days they'll start to pick all that stuff up. They'll jell more and more each day."