So Long, Mickey

We already knew that November 28 was going to be Tim Tebow's last game in The Swamp and we remain convinced it will be Bobby Bowden's final contest there as well. Florida State's confirmation of the long rumored retirement of defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews makes it another significant era coming to an end.

Mickey Andrews is in his 26th and final year running the defense in Tallahassee and his last unit will probably turn out to be his worst.

Many have forgotten that Andrews spent two years on Charlie Pell's Gator coaching staff (1981-82) handling the defensive backs under coordinator Joe Kines. After a year with the USFL's Arizona Wranglers Andrews returned to the college game, arriving in Tallahassee in 1984. His tenure with the Seminoles is highlighted by 73 defensive players getting drafted including 18 in the first round. FSU won national titles in 1993 and '99 with Andrews running the defense. Andrews is revered by players from FSU's glory days when the Seminoles finished in the nation's top ten for 14 consecutive years, but that connection has not been as strong in recent years.

This year's FSU defense is among with the worst in the entire country. The once mighty Noles are 109th in the nation in total defense, giving up 429 yards a game and 93rd in scoring defense at 29.8 points a contest. They have allowed 32 touchdowns in eight games and six of their eight opponents have scored 28 points or more.

If and when Gator fans think about Andrews their attention probably turns back to the 1996 game at Doak Campbell Stadium. That day Andrews' defenders repeatedly drilled Danny Wuerffel late with impunity and justified it with the claim they hit "until the echo of the whistle".

That attitude backfired in the Sugar Bowl when Steve Spurrier's publicity campaign about late hits and an early roughing the passer flag combined to put the ‘Noles on their heels and led to Florida's 52-20 win in New Orleans.

The curmudgeonly Andrews pursued a number of head coaching jobs over the years but never got the chance to head up a program. Word around college football was that he didn't interview well and schools were concerned how he would handle the non-coaching aspects of the job.

Looking ahead Andrews' departure is certainly not expected to be the only change on the FSU staff between now and 2010. While Bobby Bowden has made it pretty clear he wants to return next season, all signs point to coach in waiting Jimbo Fisher taking charge of the make up of the coaching staff. That makes sense since few capable coaches would want to move to Tallahassee with a likely head coaching change coming within a year unless they were assured of surviving the transition.

Chances are it will be Chuck Amato's last game in Gainesville, too.

But I have a feeling Tebow's last game will take center stage.


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