In the midst of a 6-6 season and another blowout at the hands of archrival Florida, it looks like this could have been Bobby Bowden's final season as the head coach of the Seminoles.
In 2007, Jimbo Fisher was named the "head coach in waiting" at Florida State. Ever since, he has been preparing himself for his eventual role and it now looks like he finally will get that chance.
Even if Coach Bowden does return for one more season, it would not be as head coach and Fisher is expected to have total control of the program which means changes will be imminent.
With what is sure to be a different looking Seminole team from the past 34 seasons, just where will the changes take place and how will it affect the program?
First and foremost, look for a lot of changes to take place among the coaching staff. With longtime defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews set to retire following Florida State's bowl game, Fisher's first and most urgent task will be to pick a replacement at the position.
Fisher has stated that he already has a few candidates for the job and will look to make the decision as soon as possible. One major change will likely be Fisher picking a new defensive coordinator who will run a 3-4 defense and contain more zone packages. Florida State has fallen behind on the defensive side of the ball and that has largely been to Andrew's traditional style of a 4-3 man-to-man defense. With spread offenses taking over college football, a 3-4 zone-heavy defense would be much more effective and Florida State will likely make that switch once Fisher chooses his guy.
Andrew's likely won't be the only assistant to part ways with Florida State following this season. It is believed that linebackers coach Chuck Amato and defensive ends/ special teams coach Jody Allen will also be out at the end of the season. Amato has not always seen eye-to eye with Fisher and Allen has not been pulling his weight in any aspect from coaching to recruiting.
It would seem that offensive line coach Rick Trickett, recruiting coordinator/ tight ends coach James Coley and wide receiver coach Lawrence Dawsey should all be safe from what is expect to be a mass staff overhaul. Either way, Fisher will have final say on his entire staff.
As far as filling the offensive coordinator role that would be left by Fisher when he is promoted to head coach, he would either chose to remain his own OC or hand the reigns over to Coach Coley, who Fisher personally brought in to the current staff. The offensive schemes would remain the same for the most part. The only major difference would be who is actually calling the plays.
Fisher taking over and making the necessary staff changes would also pay major dividends on the recruiting front. With several big-time recruits such as Jeff Luc and Lamarcus Joyner still looking at Florida State, naming a quality staff could pay off instantly. Fisher is a guy who believes in hard work everywhere including the recruiting front and will accept nothing less from anyone on his staff.
With Fisher taking over, it will mark the beginning of a new era of Florida State football. Fisher will be Florida State's first head football coach hired by the university in over three decades. Since being hired as Florida State's offensive coordinator, Fisher's name has popped up as candidates for the head coaching job at several universities such as West Virginia, Auburn and Michigan.
Despite the temptations, Fisher has stayed true to his words and remained in Tallahassee waiting patiently. For the first time, it looks like the wait is finally over. Jimbo Fisher will finally drop the "in waiting" from his job title and simply be known as Head Coach Jimbo Fisher.
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