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An anchor for FSU rebirth

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has made his share of crucial hires, but none may be as big as landing Jimbo Fisher as his offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published January 11, 2007


Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has made his share of crucial hires, but none may be as big as landing Jimbo Fisher as his offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. "He's an outstanding coordinator and I think he fits my dad's needs to a T," said Terry Bowden, who coached Fisher in college (Salem then Samford), then hired him as his quarterbacks coach at Auburn. "My dad needs to know he's got somebody who's done it before, who's called the fourth and 1 to win the game. Jimbo has the track record for putting an offense in and calling plays in a very, very competitive environment that is the SEC."

Fisher, 41, who has agreed to a three-year deal, spent the previous seven seasons at LSU, which has enjoyed a fairly nice run in that time; the Tigers won the BCS title for the 2003 season.

Besides some flair and daring in his play calling, something that FSU lacked under Jeff Bowden the past six seasons, Fisher's demonstrated the ability to teach and develop quarterbacks. Fisher was a record-setting quarterback himself for Terry Bowden at Samford, relying on fundamentals and competitive fire rather than sheer athletic prowess.

"They have a couple of young quarterbacks who are pretty dang talented, but haven't really reached their potential," Terry Bowden said, referring to Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee.

Quarterback inconsistency - whether it was Chris Rix or Wyatt Sexton or Weatherford and Lee - has to change if the Seminoles are to re-establish themselves as a national championship contender.

Former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie, now an ESPN analyst, said that Fisher's track record "brings credibility" and "stability" and with that, "there's probably a confidence level the players will show toward him."

Davie also suggested that papa Bowden should have more confidence, too, which could reduce any meddling that the elder Bowden admits hasn't helped past coordinators.

Lastly, Fisher and other new hires, Rick Trickett (line, from West Virginia) and Lawrence Dawsey (receivers, USF), along with lone holdover John Lilly (tight ends) hold the promise of a strong, cohesive staff. For whatever reason, perhaps Jeff Bowden's leadership or a matter of too many cooks in the kitchen causing disagreement and disorder, the old staff didn't get it done. Fisher, Trickett and Dawsey worked together at LSU and got it done.

"That's a very, very good situation," Terry Bowden said. "They can come in and hit the ground running."

He said it

"I'm not a miracle worker; I'm a hard worker. And so will the offensive line. If they're lazy, they'll have a problem. If not, they'll probably be All-Americans. ... We're going to be hard-nosed. We're going to play that way and we're going to go after people." - new assistant Rick Trickett.

Brian Landman can be reached at landman@sptimes.com or at (813) 226-3347.