VETTEL: Bowden/Fisher Deal Sounds Fishy

I suppose when your head coach was a teenager during World War II you have reason to be concerned about the transition at the end of his coaching career. Still, Florida State's decision to anoint Jimbo Fisher as the successor in waiting to Bobby Bowden is a curious one.

Fisher has spent just one season in Tallahassee; while guys like Mickey Andrews and Chuck Amato have much longer histories with the school and arguably better credentials to succeed Bowden.

Obviously, FSU Athletic Director T.K. Wetherall, who doubles as the school's President in his spare time was concerned that Fisher might get away from the ‘Noles while FSU waited for Bowden to retire. That concern may have been unfounded, although some schools (Southern Miss, Georgia Tech) did express interest in Fisher for their current vacancies. But you still have to wonder what Fisher has done to earn such a vote of confidence and commitment on the part of the school.

Jimbo Fisher is a well regarded offensive coordinator, but certainly does not have the reputation of an innovator or a guy whose scheme is difficult to prepare for. His one season in Tallahassee resulted in an offense that finished ranked No. 90 in the NCAA scoring just 22.9 points a game. FSU was No. 82 in total offense (360 yards/game), No. 96 in rushing offense (121 yards/game) and a dreadful No. 108 in third down conversions (31.7 percent). Jeff Bowden produced better numbers and Florida State paid him $500,000 to stop coaching.

Appointment Raises Questions

By naming Fisher the heir apparent to the coaching throne in Tallahassee the FSU administration has answered one question about the future of the program. However, it also raises a number of additional questions the answers to which will have a lot to say about how good the Seminoles will (or won't) be in the next couple of seasons.

1. How will long-time FSU stalwarts Andrews and Amato feel about being passed over for a guy who ran one of the worst offenses in the country last year?

2. How will Fisher's status affect recruits who may want to play for a coaching legend, but may not be comfortable with Fisher? This is a big question with regards to defensive prospects.

3. How long will Fisher be comfortable with this status; especially if Florida State continues to be just a smidge better than average for another two or three seasons?

4. How will the coaching dynamic change when Fisher and Bowden have differing views as to what to do in a given situation?

5. How will the administration, players and staff react if FSU is losing a home game next season and fans start chanting "We Want Jimbo!"?

Bobby Bowden is one of the greatest coaches in college football history and his string of top four finishes for 14 straight years is perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the last 30 years. But Bowden's insistence on coaching forever has led to Florida State's program sliding from elite status to a category I would describe as "better than most". I see no reason to believe that this "coach in waiting" arrangement with Jimbo Fisher will change that situation one bit.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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