Jan 1, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher walks his sidelines in the third quarter of the game against the Florida State Seminoles at the 2013 Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Jimbo Fisher willing to be OC until someone emerges

From ESPN comes an article revealing what Jimbo Fisher has in mind for the offensive coordinator role at FSU:

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher will continue to call the offensive plays for the Seminoles this season, the way he has since he was elevated to head coach.

When it comes to actually naming an offensive coordinator, well, that is a bit of a gray area. James Coley held that title the last three seasons but never once called a play. A big reason he left for Miami? His desire to call plays.

With Coley gone from his staff, Fisher has decided against giving that title out. Could he? Sure he could. Fisher rattled off his offensive assistants — Randy Sanders, Lawrence Dawsey and Tim Brewster — as being more than capable.

Will he? Maybe. Maybe not.

“We still may name one,” Fisher said. “I just want to get through spring ball and see how things go and see who fits into what role. But they all could do that job. That’s no problem at all. Randy’s been an offensive coordinator for years. Dawsey can do those things. Brewster has been a head coach. … They do what an offensive coordinator does, they all still do those things. Whether you name one or you don’t, they’re still doing the job.”

Fisher is one of a handful of coaches across the country who calls his own offensive plays. He has come under fire for doing both, including last season after the second-half collapse against NC State. Toward the end of last season, he hinted at perhaps giving up play calling duties in the near future.

But that was well before this staff exodus. Two assistants remain on the offensive side of the ball from a year ago. Fisher maintains that calling the plays is something he greatly enjoys. He pointed to the Seminoles’ offensive numbers from a year ago — averaging nearly 40 points per game, tied for No. 7 in the nation in red-zone offense, averaging 7 yards per play to rank No. 3 in the nation.

And he believes calling plays works for continuity’s sake. His reason? Staff changes, as noted above.

“I may give it up at a time if you get the right guys in the system,” Fisher said. “But you understand this. You’ve got a guy, and you’ve given him plays. As soon as you lose that guy — which in today’s time if you have success, you’re going to — then you have to break a whole ’nother guy in. There’s a down side to that, too. There’s a flip side to the guys who have the guru offenses and as a head coach you’re not involved with them and all of a sudden they leave. Then what do you do? You fight that animal, too, so you always try to find consistency in your program.”

What’s Jimbo saying?  That he plans on being offensive coordinator for a long, long time.  From his standpoint, it’s an advantage to FSU for Jimbo to continue serving as the OC because if FSU recruited an OC, and that OC were to leave, FSU would be in the continuous position of finding another offensive guru.

So, are you surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  This is fairly consistent with what we’ve heard throughout the past years.  But this is also, in some sense, a departure from what we knew as the “5 year plan.”  It makes me wonder what Fisher’s long-term plans are for the offensive coordinator position.  From the sounds of it, he’s had a change of heart.  He experienced tremendous coaching turnover this year.  His comments seem to indicate that he’d rather stay as OC to preserve some sort of continuity.

This won’t sit well with certain FSU crowds, but I can’t say I disagree.  Fisher, as offensive coordinator, is one of the best in the business.  Fisher, as head coach and offensive coordinator, is pretty good, but not yet one of the best in the business.  However, while people seem to compare Fisher to Saban, I think we must compare Fisher to Michigan State Nick Saban and not Alabama Nick Saban.  Fisher, for just completing his third season, has done very well.  He’s had his shortcomings (some awful short yardage failures), but the games against NC State and UF are not entirely on Jimbo.  It takes a certain amount of luck to go undefeated and last year, we didn’t have it.  Luck wasn’t on our side that Menelik Watson was out for the NC State.  Luck wasn’t on our side that EJ went through a very emotional senior season and a very emotional senior day game.  Those two events were beyond Jimbo’s control.  I’m not asking we forgive him for all of his transgressions, but portions of the FSU fanbase are going to use this news (i.e., that Jimbo doesn’t seem to be changing his tune about the OC) as an opportunity to jump all over him.  My only question is this: who are you going to find, maybe besides Kirby Smart, that would want to come here and would do as well, if not better, than Jimbo?

The best scenario will be for Jimbo to continue serving as offensive coordinator and then hand-off certain game day duties to Randy Sanders and Tim Brewster.

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