My primary red flag regarding the Jimbo Fisher hire has been how things played out on the field this year at FSU. If you’re going to money-whip a coach into leaving one of the most successful empires in college football, you normally wouldn’t do so following a 5-6 free-fall of a season.
Having not followed what was going on at FSU this year all that closely, I was oblivious to the challenges the team faced. Checking the scores each week, all I could see was that Florida State was in a nose-dive, and couldn’t pull out. But with the help of this article on ESPN, I can see now that there were bigger issues at play.
Clearly, there were many factors that were beyond the control of Jimbo Fisher. I can see how having 21 days off between the first and second game can be detrimental to your season – especially after losing the biggest opening season matchup in history. How could Fisher have kept his guys motivated after that letdown with that much time between games? The beauty of taking a season one game at a time is that you get to burn the game film and focus on the next opponent all within one week. But what happens when you don’t have a next opponent for several weeks? The loss likely took up residence in his player’s minds. Then, after you drop another game or two, your season has slipped away almost before it began. It’s just crazy to think about how seasons often stand on the edge of a knife. Take one wrong step, and your team won’t be able to recover no matter how good of a coach you have. Human psyche factors in at some point.
One factor that the article fails to mention though, is the “Bama Effect” that A&M is very familiar with. It’s what happens to your team when you go toe-to-toe with the biggest, strongest, toughest, and most disciplined team in the nation. Your team tends to come away with more than just bumps and bruises. It’s a physical and mental beat-down that takes weeks to recover from. I feel like FSU was a victim of this Bama effect, and they weren’t able to right the ship.
So, maybe I’m drinking the Jimbo Cool-Aid after being such a staunch Sumlin supporter. Maybe I’m coming around after learning more about what went on at FSU this season. It may also have something to do with Jimbo’s introductory press conference, and the preaching of his 4 principles: Toughness, Effort, Discipline, and Pride. I’m a natural skeptic, so when I heard we were hiring a coach that went 5-6 last year, I had my doubts. But a little research, and Jimbo himself, are changing my perceptions.