Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher is too busy to know what's happening outside the Bright Complex and the Coolidge practice fields. Several things probably come across as fake news to the first-year head football coach, especially if the team's been affected by the Saharan dust.
"The what?" Fisher said when asked about it after Thursday's practice. "I haven't even noticed. What dust?"
Bringing Fisher up to speed on the dust didn't change his answer.
"I ain't never noticed it," Fisher said. "I'm a football player. We live in dirt. We live in dirt and dust, so there's always dust on every play. There's smoke or something on every play. There's something flying up if we're playing right.
"Seriously, I don't know where that came from. I never heard of it. Of course, I don't know what's going on in the world right now."
Fisher seemingly has been going 24/7 since fall camp opened Aug. 2, getting things the way he wants. He's preparing A&M for an opening stretch that includes facing 2016 national champion Clemson and '17 national champ Alabama in the first four weeks.
A&M had its 14th fall practice Thursday, two weeks before the season opener against Northwestern State on Aug. 30.
"I'm not even thinking about that first game," Fisher said, adding that his team has several things to accomplish before it can focus on the opener.
Starting QB on hold: Sophomores Nick Starkel and Kellen Mond continue to compete for the starting quarterback position.
"There's a lot of time between now and then [to] see how guys grow and develop," Fisher said.
A&M will practice Friday, take off Saturday and practice Sunday leading up to Monday's scrimmage at Kyle Field.
Injury updates: Sophomore linebacker Buddy Johnson missed Thursday's practice with a sore toe.
Junior defensive end Michael Clemons continues to be out with a foot injury suffered in the second practice. The medical staff says the recovery is on schedule, but Fisher doesn't know when Clemons will return.
True freshman wide receiver Montel Parker returned to practice after missing time with an undisclosed injury.
"He's going to be a really good young player. We like him," Fisher said. "I was glad to get him back out there."
Busy sidelines: San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch watched Thursday's practice as did former A&M player Travis Evans, who also played at Caldwell.
Also in the crowd was Ronny Feldman, who coached 23 seasons in college including as a graduate assistant at A&M and three years as head coach at Blinn. The A&M Consolidated graduate also coached a dozen years in high schools.
After practice, Fisher visited for the first time with Red Cashion, the retired NFL official who started officiating in the early 1950s while attending A&M.