No More Excuses in Tallahassee

There are no more excuses. In place are five brand new coaches and the return of a former one to help revive a program to where it once was. If it doesn't work now, it may be a long time before it again happens.

Legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has seen in recent years his football program go from being truly the best in the nation to next to last in the Atlantic Division of the ACC.

Most of the blame for that fall from grace has centered in on the lackluster offense that has been in place ever since offensive coordinator Mark Richt left to become the head coach at Georgia in 2001.

Bowden's son, Jeff, turned out to be a disaster as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. So much so, that a group of big-time boosters raised enough cash to buy him out of his contract after last season.

But he wasn't the only one forced to seek employment elsewhere. There are five new coaches this year, with four of them coming on offense, with the other being a new strength and conditioning coach.

Chuck Amato also returns as executive head coach and linebackers coach following his dismissal from N.C. State.

Despite Amato's return, nearly all of the attention has been focused on the offensive changes.

Running the show now is Jimbo Fisher, a highly regarded individual who helped mastermind LSU to a national championship and guided Auburn offensively a year ago.

It is believed that if anybody can fix the offensive problems that have plagued the Seminoles for five years, it's him.

"Jimbo Fisher brings to the table a quarterback coach at an offensive coordinator and I like what he does, I believe in what he does," Bowden said. "He's fundamentally-grounded in Bowden football because he started off under Terry Bowden and has followed us for years so he runs an offense like I like an offense ran.

"I like his foundation which is blocking and tackling, very fundamental, very basic, and then I think he has the ability to attack all areas on the football field. If you are going to give him something, he's got something that will answer it. It sounds very simple, of course you have to call it at the right time. The thing I've noticed is whatever the other team does, he does have an answer for it if he can match it up."

Also joining the offense is offensive line coach Rick Trickett, who left West Virginia. This is an area that needs much improvement, too.

Last year, Florida State ranked 103rd out of 119 teams in rushing with just 96.54 yards per game. Five times last season, the Seminoles rushed for 46 yards or less in a game.

Also, former players Lawrence Dawsey and Dexter Carter join the staff as receivers coach and running backs coach, respectively.

"All of them, I know about," Bowden said. "Chuck Amato has worked here for 18 years, I know about him. Jimbo, I've known him since he was a baby. Trickett, I've tried to hire him the last three times I've had an opening but have been unable to because of financial difference.

"Dawsey was an All-American at Florida State, a very popular football player. Dexter Carter was a first round draft choice when he came out. I like blend, I like blend. I don't like sameness. I don't like for them to all be the same. We've got old guys, young guys, middle-aged guys, mean guys, sweet guys. I think it blends real good."

Now that Bowden likes everyone who's in place as coach, the finger will forever be pointed at him if things don't improve rapidly. They'll wonder aloud if he's too old and if the game has passed him by.

But he doesn't see there being much of a problem.

"We're excited about this year and I think we are headed in the right direction," he said. "The main thing, I think, is that we are headed in the right direction. I think we'll get there, I just don't know when."

FRIDAY PRACTICE NOTES: The biggest news coming out of Friday's very light practice was that there were no injuries. The team will hold a walkthrough at Memorial Stadium Saturday, before heading to the team hotel on Sunday. Top Stories