Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher and Alabama head coach Nick Saban appear to have put their differences behind them after an offseason feud that began with Saban accusing the Aggies of using NIL money to land some of the nation's top 2022 recruits.
Fisher told ESPN's Harry Lyles Jr. on Thursday:
"We saw each other at the SEC meetings [in Destin, Florida]. I have great respect for Nick, had a great friendship with Nick. I respect him very much, and we all learn from different circumstances in which we have, and I have no ill will, no anything to him.
"I have great respect when we coached and done a lot of great things together, [we're from the] same part of the country. You know what I'm saying? But we never talked that way. We never called and talked and did anything. We're just like we always were."
Fisher also noted Thursday that he and Saban have put their feud in the past, via Michael Cassagrande of AL.com:
"Listen, we're great. Two competitive guys that go at it. We all learn from things we do in our business. Two competitive guys on a topic that is very—everywhere, as they say. There's no rules in this thing, where it goes. Each state has different laws and everything.
"And like he said, I heard a statement he made, the arguments we had in the staff room and on the basketball court and all those things. But on the basketball court, we didn't have them. We were always on the same team. So we usually had them against other people. I have great respect for Nick. Unfortunately, our thing went public. Sometimes that happens in this world. Nothing is private anymore, is it?"
Back in May, Saban suggested Texas A&M was able to land the No. 1 recruiting class with NIL money:
"We were second in recruiting last year, A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team. Made a deal for name, image and likeness. We didn't buy one player. I don't know if we're going to be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it."
Texas A&M landed eight 5-star recruits in its 2022 class, per 247Sports.
Fisher responded to Saban's comments by calling him a "narcissist" and accused him of not following NCAA rules in the past.
"Some people think they're God," Fisher said. "Go dig into how God did his deal. You may find out about a guy, a lot of things you don't want to know. We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past."
Saban's comments were given new life when a Texas A&M recruiter was recently captured on video appearing to tell recruits that they would be "getting a lot of money from the people behind these suites if y'all decide to come play here."
Fisher clarified the recruiter's comments on Thursday, saying:
“It's a … thing that we say with all recruits. The guys behind those things are the guys who pay for our program, what we do, the donations. That's what it was. He had been here one month.”
Texas A&M and Alabama will meet in College Station on October 8, but the feud between the two head coaches will not be used as motivation for the game, Fisher told ESPN.
"The game's about the players," he said. "Our emotion—we're out of it. I'm too old to and I'm not on that field myself."