Do you think FSU could have beat Notre Dame last year? I do and that’s why the loss to NC State last year was so disappointing. That’s why the FSU fan base is still too wary of trusting Jimbo Fisher with their love of FSU football. It’s no secret–the message board crowd is feeling rather impatient with Jimbo Fisher.
Don’t forget, however, that it was Jimbo that got us in the position to be ranked #3 in the country. Jimbo is also positioning FSU to make another run, though maybe not this year. Time and patience will reveal whether Jimbo Fisher is capable of getting FSU to the elite tier of teams in college football and keeping them there. That means beating double digit underdogs on a regular basis. I certainly understand how upset fans get when we lose to teams like Viriginia and NC State regularly, but I think we forget too quickly how far the program had fallen. This team was told “it wasn’t good enough” for several years. Erasing that black eye takes time. Fortunately, ushered by EJ Manuel and Bjoern Werner, the graduating class took this FSU team to one of its best systems in program history. Unfortunately, it was not able to reach its goals. FSU settles for 12-2, an ACC championship, and an Orange Bowl victory.
Then, all of a sudden, it seemed as if the wheels came off the entire program. News leaked that Mark Stoops interviewed for the Kentucky position a few days before the Florida game. Rumors followed that one assistant coach would be leaving with Stoops. DJ Elliot left shortly thereafter. Over the course of the next few weeks, Dameyune Craig, Eddie Gran, Greg Hudson, and James Coley left the program for promotions.
It was only a few weeks before signing day and a silence fell upon the program. No one knew what was happening. Slowly, good news finally scrolled across our screens. Jeremy Pruitt, Randy Sanders, Billy Napier, Sal Sunseri. Tim Brewster. Jay Graham.
Once again, Jimbo Fisher re-built the program from the ground up. This time, however, he had more pull, more credibility. During the last go-round, Jimbo was able to recruit coaches that were mostly green–hungry and good recruiters–but very green. Dameyune Craig and James Coley had barely any coaching experience. This time around, Jimbo has been able to find not only reputable recruiters but also proven coaches. Sunseri and Sanders have decades of experience behind them. Pruitt is an ace recruiter who is about to prove that he can take the next step and coordinate a defense as the most competitive level of college football.
And so, if the rumors were true–that Jimbo Fisher was hard to work for or that his program wasn’t working–proven and seasoned coaches like Sal Sunseri and Tim Brewster would not be in Tallahassee right now. There’s a reason they are, however: they believe in Jimbo Fisher’s direction and are ready to bring FSU its 3rd championship.
I don’t think fans have quite recovered from the roller coaster ride that was this season. But before you deliver too much judgment on Jimbo Fisher and his program, you have to afford him the opportunities to prove himself. This was the first season that FSU really had a shot at anything great–and aside from a few fluky occurrences this season would have been one for the ages. And for a perfectionist like Jimbo Fisher, I can only imagine it keeps him up at night, ready to take on the next challenge.