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January 6, 2010

Fisher introduced as head coach, will bring change

Quick bio for new assistant football coaches

Jimbo Fisher's first day on the job didn't exactly get off to a great start.

When he arrived at the Moore Athletic Center for the first time as Florida State's head football coach, his new office was locked and he didn't have a key. Making matters worse, when he did finally get into his office there was no desk.

While the difficulties of getting into his new office drew a laugh from media in attendance at Fisher's first official press conference as head football coach, there was plenty of serious discussion about some fundamental changes that he plans to bring to the program.

Some of those changes have already taken place.

The addition of five new assistant coaches to the staff was officially announced and that includes the newest hire of Darin Eliot as the defensive ends coach. The only remaining hire to be made is a new strength and conditioning coach, which Fisher expects to be wrapped up this week.

One common thread among the newly hired assistant coaches is youth. The five new assistant coaches have an average age of 39 with the oldest being 44-year old Eddie Gran, who will serve as the new associate head coach, running backs coach and special teams coordinator.

"I think we have great coaches and great recruiters," Fisher said. "They all have great energy and great chemistry."

There will also be some changes on the current staff. Tight ends coach James Coley, who has served as FSU's recruiting coordinator the past two years, will be promoted to offensive coordinator. Even though Coley will have the title, Fisher made it very clear that he will continue to call plays from the sideline. Wide receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey will also be given the title of "passing game coordinator".

The most significant changes under the Fisher regime will likely take place behind the scenes. During his 15-minute opening, Fisher gave a broad outline of some new programs he will be implementing to provide more support and education to the players in a variety of areas.

"The key to our program right now is the support system which you build around (the players)," Fisher said. "We must build a comprehensive program that deals with all aspects of performance from academics, to mental, physical, nutritional, social interaction and personal interaction. All of these directly impact each other and the good thing is they are all areas we can educate in."

The changes to the player support programs will be extensive. In fact, when asked to spell out some of the details, Fisher gave an interesting response.

"How much time have you got," joked Fisher.

While it may not become apparent for a few years, another change under Fisher could be Florida State usually difficult non-conference schedule. The new head coach made it clear that for several reasons, including economics, he is not in favor of scheduling games with quality non-conference teams that will demand to play home-and-home series.

"We already have a great non-conference game in Florida," Fisher said. "I don't mind playing a tough non-conference game but I think you're crazy, in my opinion, to go out and play three of them. It doesn't enhance you.

"The other thing is we look at it as fans and say we should play play everybody but how about paying bills? If you play three (non-conference) games you are going back to six home games a year. The other way you are guaranteeing seven and when they are on the home schedule you are guaranteeing eight... I look at it from the economic standpoint as much as the coaching standpoint.

"You put your university behind the eight ball from the very get go. Does Alabama do it? does LSU do it? Does Florida do it? You don't see them doing it? They play one, not three."

Other notes from Fisher press conference:

* February mat drills will continue but will be "tweaked" according to Fisher.

* The annual spring football game will be an actual "game" under Fisher. In the past few years under Bobby Bowden, the game was an organized scrimmage.

* Fisher anticipated continuing to get the players more involved in community service activities.

* New linebackers coach Greg Hudson will also serve as the assistant head coach on defense.

* New defensive coordinator Mark Stoops recommended Darin Eliot as the new defensive ends coach. Fisher had not met Eliot prior to the interview.

* Another press conference introducing the new assistant coaches is expected to take place in the near future.

Gene WilliamsGene Williams is the founder and administrator of Warchant.com and writes stories and features covering all of FSU's sports with an emphasis on football and football recruiting. For seven years, Williams hosted a weekly sports radio show in Tallahassee. He currently appears as a weekly guest on 1010 XL Sports Radio in Jacksonville and 1270 The Team in Tallahassee during football season. Williams is also a former ACC correspondent for College Football News (weekly national newspaper), and contributes to The Osceola. Story about Gene Williams & Warchant.com.

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