It’s decision time.
All around the country programs are taking stock. Some schools are letting coaches go, others are locking coaches down.
It seems Will Muschamp will survive at Florida. Kevin Sumlin was extended six years at Texas A&M. Art Briles got ten more years at Baylor.
With several big schools -- USC and Texas, for example -- potentially shopping for head coaches this offseason, it would be foolish not to hold on to a good one.
That’s why Florida State University needs to lock up Jimbo Fisher long-term. And it needs to be done now. It won't be cheap, but FSU would be crazy not to.
When asked a couple of week ago if Florida State had opened discussions with its fourth year head coach, Athletic Director Stan Wilcox declined to comment.
If Wilcox hasn’t already started that discussion, he needs to.
Last season -- after FSU went 12-2 and won the Orange Bowl -- several teams made overtures at Fisher. This year the interest will likely be even stronger. FSU needs to lock down its fourth year head coach for the long haul. It has to give him the big money.
He’s earned it.
Through his first four season seasons, Fisher is 43-10. He’s 7-1 against in-state rivals -- 3-1 against Florida, 4-0 against Miami. He’s won his last 14 straight. He’s reloaded FSU’s coffers.
Now Florida State needs to load his.
When Fisher took over at Florida State he inherited a team that had just gone 7-6 -- a mark they had to scratch and claw for after starting 2-4 -- and he was tasked with bringing a once proud program back to relevance.
Four years later the Seminoles are the top-ranked team in the country.
The AP Poll, the Coaches’ Poll, the BCS -- they all have FSU at number one. Florida State has won their games by an average score of 54-11 this season. The Seminoles are ranked first nationally in scoring defense and second in scoring offense. Their kicker has outscored all of their opponents combined.
FSU is back.
And though Fisher won’t win it, he deserves consideration for national coach of the year.
Florida State lost 11 players to the NFL draft last season. Fisher had to replace his entire defensive line, his leading rusher and his starting quarterback. Fisher also lost half his coaching staff including both coordinators. He replaced them all and Florida State actually got better this year.
2013 has seen the Seminoles set a new ACC record for points in a single season and the ‘Noles are just 72 away from the NCAA record -- they have two games left to break it. FSU has won every game by at least 14 points, has scored at least 37 in every contest and hasn’t trailed since September 28th.
Several years worth of top recruiting classes have made Florida State one of the most talented programs in the country. Good coaching hires have helped FSU develop its talent into productive players. The NFL has noticed, 11 Seminoles were picked in last year’s draft and several more signed as free agents. This year, week in and week out the sidelines of the Dunlap Practice Fields and the press box at Doak Campbell Stadium have been filled with pro scouts.
There is no denying that the program is back.
And the growth as a head coach on Fisher’s part is undeniable too.
Early in the year it was Fisher’s ability to admit when he was wrong -- he told reporters he needed to do a better job of trusting his young quarterback, Jameis Winston, after they had argued following an interception in the Miami game -- that showed his evolution as a coach.
Lately it has been his ability to focus his team in spite of off-field distractions that has distinguished him. As the Jameis Winston situation drags on Fisher has had to keep his team’s focus on the task at hand, on their next opponent -- and not on the pending investigation.
Since the news broke FSU has won 59-3 over Syracuse, set a school record for points in a game against Idaho and crushed rival Florida 37-7 in the Swamp.
Soon FSU will likely play for a national title.
But if Florida State is smart they’ll have their head coach signed to a big extension long before then.
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