If Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher were to sit down right now and interview with 90% of the college football programs in the country for an open position, I’m pretty sure that the outcome would be fairly obvious. Once Jimbo began to rattle off his statistics aligned with his first three years as FSU head man, the deal would be done.
“Well Mr. [insert University administrator name here], I think I’ve done a fairly good job in Tallahassee. I’m 31-10 in my first three seasons. I’m 3-0 in bowl games. My recruiting classes in an SEC-driven area are consistently in the top 10. Oh, speaking of the SEC, my record against that conference is 3-1. I’ve recently won my conference as well as capping that off with a victory in the Orange Bowl, which is kind of a big deal. And finally, last month I watched as 11 of my players were drafted into the NFL. So, am I good enough to lead your program?”
YOU’RE HIRED, MR. FISHER!
Those facts above are just a few of the proverbial brass rings that Fisher has grabbed in his first three seasons. Well, okay, if you count that Orange Bowl victory that brass ring is literal, but you get my point.
Still, as crazy as this may sound to some people, Fisher is the brunt of a lot of criticism from a percentage of the FSU fan base. Jimbo had one of the toughest tasks to master when he took over the ‘Noles in 2010. Taking over for the legendary two-time national championship winning coach Bobby Bowden wasn’t going to be easy, and he knew that.
A vast majority of the Jimbo criticism centers around the offensive side of the ball. It mainly surrounds the fact that Jimbo Fisher refuses to designate the offensive play calling duties to anyone other than himself. While it is quite rare these days for a head coach to take that responsibility on himself, that still doesn’t mean that it can’t be done effectively. With Florida State consistently in possession of one of the top defenses in the country, this does give Fisher time to amply focus on the offense.
Also during Fisher’s reign, the ‘Noles have made it somewhat of a regular occurrence to lose to teams that they really shouldn’t, on paper. NC State in 2012 and Wake Forest in 2011 are just two prime examples of losses that have frustrated fans and had them questioning Fisher’s game management skills.
Well, I have two problems with that.
For starters, and I know that FSU fans of the glory days don’t want to hear this, but the parity in college football is far superior to the days when the Seminoles were dominating the ranks. Teams like Wake Forest have solid athletes that can click together on any given Saturday and beat a team that seems above them. That’s the college football world we live in today.
And secondly, show me a coach that hasn’t made mistakes during a game that they would like to have back. This seems like a good a time as any to remind people that Nick Saban as the Alabama coach once lost a game to Louisiana-Monroe. Saban was also whooped on in a BCS bowl by Utah. My memory might be sketchy, but I’m pretty sure that things turned out fine for Saban and the Tide.
All I’m saying is this. Three years is too early to start to wonder if Fisher is the “right guy” for Florida State. As he begins an era in which the majority of the roster is guys that he himself brought in, including his assumed new QB Jameis Winston, let’s take the next three or four years and judge off of that.
If three years from now the Seminoles just aren’t clicking with Fisher’s personnel, then yes we can begin to question his skills as they pertain to leading a top-tier football program.
But, if three years from now the ‘Noles have added one or two crystal balls to the trophy case in Tallahassee, then it will be amazing, as well as laughable to me, how fast the period from 2010-2012 will be erased from some’s memory.