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The SEC war of words between Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher and Alabama head coach Nick Saban stole the offseason headlines, with two of the most prominent coaches in college football firing shots across the bow.
But as August makes its turn to September, the time for talking is over as both teams prepare to make their 2022 regular season debut.
“We’re talented and have established that we can start stacking a huge number of the right guys in our program,” Fisher told ESPN on Friday. “We’ve still got great challenges this year. We gotta go prove it. Hey, it’s time to shut up and play, just go play. Don’t worry about what people say. Don’t worry about what happened this summer between me and Nick.
“We feel really good about where we’re going.”
Alabama is once again preseason No. 1 with Texas A&M not far behind in the AP preseason poll, landing just outside the top-five as the No. 6 ranked team in the country. The two teams will match up on October 8th in Tuscaloosa in what will be one of the most anticipated games of the college football season.
“It’s not going to be personal when we play Alabama,” Fisher said. “It’s about the players and the team. It’s never personal to me, whether it’s Nick Saban or my brother or my best friend on the other side. I’m going to compete the same way.”
But it did get personal during the offseason when Saban said Texas A&M “bought every player on their team,” prompting Fisher to hold a press conference where he called Saban – without actually naming him – a “narcissist” while urging reporters to dig into his past.
“We know what it meant,” Fisher said to ESPN. “It is what it is and you move on. I don’t have any hard feelings, but that’s what triggered me because everybody in this business knows what that means.”
Fisher said that while the two head coaches did speak at SEC spring meetings but have not spoken since, and they’re both probably “too busy” to sit down and have a deeper conversation at the moment.
“I don’t know,” Fisher said. “Right now, we’re probably too busy doing what we do.”
In 2021, Fisher became the first former Saban assistant coach to beat him, knocking off then-No. 1 Alabama 41-38 at Kyle Field. The victory over Saban and the exchanging of words through the media should make for one heck of a rematch.
“Beating Alabama, a really good Alabama team, shows what we’re capable of,” Fisher said. “It sends a message, but at the same time, you can’t just go beat Bama and not finish out the regular season. That’s something we still have to learn to do, deal with success, deal with failures and go on. But it does show that we’re talented enough to stand in there and win those games.”