Saturdays in Athens

George Somerville

Week 7

16th October 2021

Welcome to our weekly round up of life in the Southeastern Conference.

This week we have some fallout from TAMU’s victory over Alabama, grey skies still over Baton Rouge and Dan Mullen is still tetchy about that shoe throwing…..

Here are this weeks headlines… Let’s get started y’all!

Happy Birthday Jimbo!

Photo Credit: Sam Craft, AP

College Station, Tx

As we approached the start of the new season many people saw the Texas A&M match up with Alabama as a likely SEC West decider. In fact the chat back then was that this could be the Aggies year. Not just for the SEC title but to mount an assault on the National Championship.

So in this context, last Saturday’s thriller in College Station lived up to the billing. Except… 

Well you see those Aggies haven’t had the season we all thought they would have. Going into the match up with Alabama, A&M were 3-2 in the season and 0-2 in conference. Not the record those in power at TAMU that gave Head Coach his shiny new extension anticipated. 

Fisher righted the ship Saturday in a gutsy performance which had the Crimson Tide on the ropes in the first half. While ‘Bama rallied in the 2nd half, the Aggies did enough to earn a well deserved victory.

The victory happened on Aggies Head Coach Jimbo Fisher’s 56th birthday. Fisher said of the win,

“We’ve had a couple of tough weeks. That’s what football is. You get up off the canvas. You get the heck knocked out of you. You got to go play. You got to go play the next play. People don’t care.”

Fisher went on,

“Guys, there isn’t no secret to this. Ain’t no magical formula. They got to believe in what you tell them. They got to eliminate all the media, good, bad, indifferent. Knock it out. Don’t read it. I wouldn’t even read it.”

On Wednesday’s SEC Coaches conference call, Fisher re-emphasised the mantra,

“Our leadership in the team is growing and getting better and better, we’re growing as a football team in all three phases.  But we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re half way through a season in the SEC which we know is relentless.”  

Fisher went on,

“We need to forget last week and make sure we are preparing for this week and we have a chance to play well and remember why we had success last week. Because we had good weeks of practice, we played better with the preparation. We need to repeat that this week”.

One great story to come out of the enthralling finish was the video which emerged of Aggies kicker Seth Small’s family watching his game winning kick. This sums up well the mental anguish and then the ecstasy of the winning kick. Check it out below. 

This, my friends,  is why WE LOVE College Football!

#Howdy #GigEmAggies

On A Cliff Edge

Photo Credit: University of Alabama Athletics


Tuscaloosa, AL.

It comes as no great surprise that the Crimson Tide’s first defeat of the season did not go down well. And while not atop of Head Coach Nick Saban’s worries, the defeat ended quite an illustrious list of winning streaks. So before we get to what Nick Saban had to say, let’s have a quick rundown of the streaks that Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies brought to a screeching halt. They were….

– Nick Saban’s record vs former staffers (now Head Coaches) was 24-0

– the Crimson Tide were on a 19 game unbeaten run until setting foot in College Station

– Alabama had won 100 consecutive games against unranked opponents, stretching all the way back to 2007

– the Aggies win also ended a 106 winning game run of AP No1 teams beating unranked opponents.

So pretty tough for Saint Nick to take. But yet on the midweek SEC Coaches conference call, Bama Head Coach was not in reflective mood. As you would expect, Saban was focused on making sure his team was ready for the challenge ahead. Here is what Coach Saban had to say,

“sometimes you want to remember the feeling you get when you don’t get success….

and it’s probably human nature in all of us to respond a little better when negative things happen rather than positive things.

So the response (from the team) has been good – so far – but we’ve got to carry that over day in and day out, game in and game out….so we’ll see if we are capable of doing that”

Saban went on,

“I said to them yesterday, you need to respond from the edge of the cliff. You don’t have a lot of room for errors. 

You still have to accomplish a lot of goals that you have as a team but we’re going to have to play better and more consistently if we’re going to be able to do that”

Coach Saban went on to talk about how his previous teams have bounced back from similar defeats and used a defeat such as this to spur them on to a National Championship. Saban used caution when trying to compare teams from the past with todays group. Saban said this,

“Every team responds differently. We’ve also taken a loss and not won a National Championship. It all depends on how you respond. That’s up to the individuals on the team, the leadership on the team and that everybody on the team buys into it”

Next up…..Mike Leach and his air raiding State Bulldogs. 


Eddie don't read it

Image Credit: Gerald Herbert, AP

Baton Rouge, LA

I talked last week about the air of negativity hanging over Tiger Stadium. Well, this cloud hasn’t moved much and on the back of the news that Derek Stingley was likely done for the rest of the season Orgeron confirmed in quick succession that star wideout Kayshon Boutte and rising cornerback star, Eli Ricks had both suffered season ending injuries. 

Both are massive losses for an LSU side struggling again this season. LSU confirmed that Boutte has a lower leg injury and that Ricks has had surgery on a recurring shoulder injury.

“we received news this week that Eli Ricks will be out for the rest of the season”

Orgeron expanded,

“It’s an injury that just kept coming back and going back. And he and his family decided he needed to get operated on to get it fixed and I think he’s going to get it fixed pretty soon. It was a nagging injury – he kept on playing with it and it kept on re-occurring so he and his family decided to get it operated on”. 

Orgeron was asked about the impact that all of the injuries are having on the team,

“it does make it tough…but it’s next man up. Somebody’s got to rise up to the occasion. We’ve lost several players especially starters on defense. But we’ve got some young guys who are going to have to step up”. 


“First of all I understand the expectations of LSU – I was born with them. I understand that we aren’t living up to those expectations. All we can do is go to work, take it one day at a time and give it the best shot we can – and that’s what we’re doing”. 


Orgeron was asked about the impact of the negativity around the program. As is usual, Coach O was honest and to the point. 


“Being at Ole Miss I used to read that stuff and my family had to read stuff like that. After I got fired from Ole Miss I said I’m not going to read that stuff again. I learned that from Coach Carroll. Pete Carroll told me “Eddie, don’t read it. When you’re doing well, they make you too good. When you’re doing bad, they make you too bad”.

You try to stay level, stay in between and take one day at a time”.

This weekend the Tigers play Florida in what will be another tough match up for the Bayou Bengals. The question is, how much time does Orgeron have to turn this around?


It's Just A Rivalry Game


Gainesville, FL

The SEC Coaches midweek conference call can often be a prickly affair. Sometimes the media is caught off guard by a seemingly innocuous question resulting in some hairdryer treatment. But sometimes the question understandably antagonises the Head Coach. 

Like this week, ahead of the Gators match up with LSU, Dan Mullen was asked about the infamous shoe throwing incident (in last year’s Florida v LSU game). As Florida heads to LSU this weekend, some members of the media felt the need to talk about last year’s game and the controversial circumstances that it ended in. Aka, the “shoe incident”. Up until that point on the conference, Mullen had been in chipper mood. Not so much after question numero uno…

when a member of the media tried to correct Mullen by saying “well I literally meant about the “shoe incident” and what occurred after that….” – Mullen did not let the end of that question play out

“those guys aren’t on the team any more”

Mullen said.

“It’s just a rivalry game”

Awkward silence.

and then asked about the progress of Emory Jones (by the same reporter)?


“Doing pretty good, y’know”.

Ok……well. so………next question?

#Go Gators