It’s pretty standard procedure for college football head coaches to make themselves available to the broadcast network in the days before a game, either as part of a production meeting or through visits to practice or facilities. That was the assumption for the SEC Network broadcasting crew this week as they prepared for Saturday night’s game between Texas A&M and Ole Miss. However, according to announcer Tom Hart, Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher didn’t show up for the planned production meeting, leaving them to wonder why.
Hart shared the anecdote during his appearance on Friday’s The Paul Finebaum Show. When Finebaum asked Hart if he learned anything about the Texas A&M players who were suspended this week, something that Fisher has declined to comment on, the SEC Network announcer admitted that Fisher “bailed” on their meeting.
“We don’t know anything,” said Hart. “We were over there meeting with a couple of the coaches but we did not have an opportunity to meet with Jimbo. He bailed on that chance.”
Finebaum later circled back on that admission and prodded Hart to find out why Fisher had canceled the production meeting and whether or not that was unusual.
“I don’t know why he was suddenly unavailable, but that’s the first time,” said Hart. “I’ve been doing this for a minute now Paul. I’m not a spring chicken anymore like I used to be. That’s the first time I ever remember a head coach being unavailable for production meetings a day before the game.
“Whatever drama bubbled to the surface today, it’s probably emblematic of a lot of issues going on over there right now.”
“I don’t know why he was suddenly unavailable…That’s the first time I ever remember a head coach being unavailable for production meetings a day before the game." – @tom_hart on Jimbo Fisher bailing on a planned production meeting with the SEC Network crew Friday. pic.twitter.com/JrqhEVJGqp
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) October 28, 2022
This season has been an unmitigated disaster for Fisher and the Aggies so far. While they entered the year with a highly touted recruiting class and national ranking, their reputation was raked across the coals by SEC rivals and media members before the season even started. Then they preceded to prove those critics right with a stunning loss at home to Appalachian State before falling short against Alabama thanks to a terrible play call. The knives have been out for Fisher ever since (sometimes literally) as the well-paid head coach with a staggering buyout stumbles through a season that keeps getting more disappointing.
All of which is to say, coupling that with the player suspensions, Fisher had a lot of potential reasons to bail on that meeting.
That said, Hart chimed in Friday afternoon on Twitter to say that the meeting did, eventually, happen after all.
Just wrapped up a production meeting via zoom with Jimbo after running into scheduling issues this morning. Always appreciate coaches finding time for us and look forward to sharing that information during the game. Thanks to SID Alan Cannon and his staff for making it happen.
— Tom Hart (@tom_hart) October 28, 2022
“Just wrapped up a production meeting via zoom with Jimbo after running into scheduling issues this morning,” said Hart. “Always appreciate coaches finding time for us and look forward to sharing that information during the game. Thanks to SID Alan Cannon and his staff for making it happen.”
Now, did Texas A&M and Fisher always plan to make good on the meeting or did they suddenly have free time once they saw Hart’s interview and its PR fallout? We’ll probably never know for sure but we can make some educated guesses.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of commentary Hart and broadcast partner Jordan Rodgers have about the production meeting drama when the Aggies and Rebels square off Saturday night. That is, if they can keep the corn dogs out of their mouths long enough to talk about it.