Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Time for Jimbo Fisher to shake up his supporting cast

Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher watches play in the second half against the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, Sept. 02, 2017 in Atlanta. The Alabama Crimson Tide won 24-7.


Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher watches play in the second half against the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, Sept. 02, 2017 in Atlanta. The Alabama Crimson Tide won 24-7.

A day after a Florida State fan set up a GoFundMe page for his buyout, Seminoles defensive coordinator Charles Kelly got an interesting vote of confidence from coach Jimbo Fisher.

"I have extreme confidence in Charles …" Fisher said Monday. "We'll continue with Charles being our coordinator, and go through this year, and hope to finish the year very strong."

Through this year.

Maybe it's reading too closely into three words, but it sounds like change is coming to Tallahassee — one year too late.

Kelly deserves some of the blame for FSU's first 1-3 start since Bobby Bowden's inaugural 1976 season. A talent-laden defense with four of Sports Illustrated's top 100 players in the country has forced only three turnovers, ranks No. 66 nationally in sacks and gave up two touchdown drives in the final seven minutes Saturday against Miami.

But the blame starts with Fisher for allowing his coaching staff to grow stale.

Four of the Seminoles' 10 coaches (including Fisher) have been in Tallahassee since at least 2007. Eight were around for the 2013 national championship, and the entire staff has remained the same for three consecutive seasons.

Analysis: Would Jimbo Fisher's message be better received elsewhere?

While the loyalty is admirable and rare in the profession, it can also be detrimental to the program Fisher rebuilt into a national power. Programs stagnate without the infusion of new ideas into the playbook and new messages and messengers in the locker room. That's one explanation for FSU's slide from a preseason College Football Playoff contender to a team hoping to make it to the Belk Bowl.

Consider the area where coaching matters the most: close games. From the middle of 2012 through the first half of 2015, FSU won all 12 of its one-score games.

"We always found that one extra play," Fisher said.

Not anymore — and not just this season.

Starting with the 2015 heartbreaker at Georgia Tech, the Seminoles are 4-5 in one-possession games. That includes a 1-2 mark this year, with home losses to North Carolina State and Miami sandwiched around the last-minute win at Wake Forest.

Some of that dip is a natural regression to the mean caused by bounces going the other way. But Fisher accepts — and deserves — his share of responsibility for players failing to find the inches that win games, either through schemes, techniques or effort.

"We should be making that one other play in those games," Fisher said. "We've got to find a way to do that. Coach it better."

He can start by rebooting his staff in the offseason.

There's a Go Fund Me page for FSU defensive coordinator Charles Kelly's buyout

Injury updates: Fisher didn't sound optimistic that WR Keith Gavin (leg) would be available Saturday at Duke. The Seminoles are thin at receiver, and their top target (Wharton High alum Auden Tate) is playing through a shoulder injury.

Gators WR Tyrie Cleveland (ankle) could miss his second straight game, and WR Kadarius Toney is "highly questionable" against Texas A&M with multiple injuries, Florida coach Jim McElwain said. Cleveland leads UF with 450 all-purpose yards, and Toney is fourth (240). Starting DB Nick Washington (shoulder) will be out.

Number of the day: 60.8. That's the number of offensive plays the Gators average per game; only five teams in the country run fewer. UF had only 54 Saturday against LSU, which McElwain attributed to third-down failures on both sides of the ball.

Audible: "It was a little bit of everything." — McElwain on K Eddy Pineiro's costly missed extra point against LSU. After reviewing the film, McElwain said both the snap and hold were imperfect.

Contact Matt Baker at Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Time for Jimbo Fisher to shake up his supporting cast 10/09/17 [Last modified: Monday, October 9, 2017 8:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  2. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88


    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  3. Joe Smith's takeaways from Thursday's Lightning-Blue Jackets game

    Lightning Strikes

    While Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov grab the headlines, don't sleep on their linemate, Vladislav Namestnikov. Namestnikov is far from a third wheel, with eight points in eight games. "He might not have the names the other two have, but he's as pivotal and vital to that line as the others," coach Jon Cooper said.

  4. Lightning journal: Derrick Brooks helps J.T. Brown make a difference

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown's decision to stop his anthem protest began to take shape just a few days after he raised his right fist before the Oct. 7 game against the Panthers in Sunrise.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown (23) on the ice at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17).
  5. Duke tops preseason coaches' basketball poll; Gators No. 7


    Duke has been tabbed basketball's preseason No. 1 for the second straight season in the coaches' poll, released Thursday.

    Florida point guard Chris Chiozza launches the shot of last season’s NCAA Tournament, a winning 3
against Wisconsin that put the Gators into the Elite Eight. Chiozza returns to lead a UF team that’s getting its share of preseason attention, including a No. 7 ranking in the coaches’ poll.