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February 27, 2013

Breakdown: FSU's six new coaches

FSU's six new assistant coaches

Name
Jeremy Pruitt
Position
DC & DBs
Col Exp./Age
3/38
Prior College
Alabama
Salary
$524,642
BRIEF: Pruitt becomes just the third man to make defensive calls for Florida State in the past 29 years after Mickey Andrews and Mark Stoops, who just took the head coaching job at Kentucky. Like FSU coach Jimbo Fisher at LSU, Pruitt comes from the Nick Saban coaching tree, spending six seasons as an assistant at Alabama. He spent most of that time as the secondary coach, leading a group that has produced a host of NFL draft picks. He is considered an elite recruiter and worked the state of Alabama along with the Jacksonville area while at Alabama.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Here's what we know about Pruitt: He can recruit at a very high level and he's been schooled under the tutelage of one of the best defensive minds to coach college football (Saban). What we don't know about Pruitt - how will he be making defensive calls for the first time? - will certainly be the theme following him in 2013. The other defensive hires, Sal Sunseri and Charles Kelly, seem to be moves made to pad Pruitt with a fortune of defensive coaching experience behind him, so Pruitt has a staff in place to help him along the away. And even while FSU doesn't seem to be a place that would hire a first-time college coordinator, Pruitt is also considered a major up-and-comer in coaching and we'll soon see if the minor gamble on a lack of coordinating experience pays off.

EXPERIENCE:
Alabama, Defensive Backs (2009-12)
Alabama, Director of Player Development (2007-09)
West Alabama, Defensive Backs (1999)
Alabama, Student Assistant (1997)
KEY PLAYERS COACHED: CB Javier Arenas, Alabama (2nd round pick, 2010), S Mark Barron, CB Kareem Jackson (No. 20 overall in 2010), CB Dre Kirkpatcik (No. 17 overall pick in 2012) and S Mark Barron (No. 7 overall pick in 2012).
Name
Sal Sunseri
Position
Defensive Ends
Col/NFL/Age
22/7/53
Prior Colleges
Tenn, Alabama
Salary
$199,233
BRIEF: Served as Tennessee's defensive coordinator for one year under former Vol head football coach Derek Dooley. Before that he was the inside linebackers coach at Alabama. In the six years before that he was the defensive line coach for the Carolina Panthers. Has coached defensive line, linebackers and special teams in college. Only new staff addition to coach in FSU's Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Sunseri's experience as a major college defensive assistant reaches back 27 years and it's a time frame that includes plenty of notable stops like Alabama and a stint in the NFL. While he hasn't coached, he is another Saban disciple, and that's a system that Fisher very much believes in. Sunseri's experience should be benefit two-fold. First, he should be a familiar and valuable sounding board for Pruitt as the two worked together on the same defensive staff at Alabama from 2008-11. Secondly, his ability to recruit the Carolinas brings a unique territory where no coach on the previous staff specialized. Thanks to departures, FSU's young, inexperienced defensive end group will have a veteran coach to learn from in 2013. .

EXPERIENCE:
Tennessee, Defensive Coordinator (2012)
Alabama, Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers (2008-11)
Carolina Panters, Defensive Line (2002-08)
Michigan State, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers (2001)
LSU, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers (2000)
Alabama A&M, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers (1998-99)
Louisville, Linebackers (1995-97)
Illinois State, Defensive Coordinator (1994)
Iowa Wesleyan, Assistant Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator (1993)
Pittsburgh, Assistant Head Coach (1992)
Pittsburgh, Defensive Line/Linebackers (1985-91)
KEY PLAYERS COACHED: DE Burt Grossman, Pittsburgh (No. 8 overall pick in 1989), DE Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers (when coaching Carolina's D-line), DT Kris Jenkins , Carolina Panthers, LB Rolando McClain, Alabama (No. 8 overall pick in 2010), LB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama (2nd round pick, 2012) and LB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama (No. 25 overall pick in 2012).
Name
Tim Brewster
Position
Tight ends
Col. Exp /Age
21/52
Prior Colleges
Miss. St, Minn.
Salary
$290,000
BRIEF:Tim Brewster was the final addition to Florida State's staff as his deal was finalized to become the Seminoles' tight ends coach on Feb. 27. He brings a host of experience to the table, spending 18 seasons as a tight ends coach at the major Division I-A and NFL levels. He worked with All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates during his time at an assistant with the San Deigo Chargers and also was the head coach at the University of Minnesota from 2007-10. .

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Brewster brings a wealth of experience and recruiting acumen to Tallahassee and will give Fisher yet another seasoned offensive mind in his team meeting room. Brewster is also the only former Division I-A head coach on Fisher's staff, so that experience could be valuable when it comes to gameday preparation as well. Brewster has groomed a slew of quality players from the tight end position, so from a single-position perspective, Fisher would have been hard pressed to find a better replacement for Billy Napier than Brewster.

EXPERIENCE:
Mississippi State, Wide Receivers Coach (2012)
Minnesota, Head Coach (2006-10)
Denver Broncos, Tight Ends (2005-06)
San Diego Chargers Tight Ends/Asst. Head Coach (2002-04)
Texas, Tight Ends (1998-2001)
North Carolina, Tight ends (1989-1997)
Purdue, Graduate Assistant (1986)
KEY PLAYERS COACHED: Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers), Alge Crumper, North Carolina (2nd round pick, 2001), TE Bo Scaife, Texas (6th round, 2005).
Name
Jay Graham
Position
Running Backs
Col Exp./Age
8/37
Prior College
Tenn, South Car.
Salary
$275,000
BRIEF: Graham comes to Florida State after four seasons in the SEC as a running backs coach, one at his alma mater Tennessee (2012) and three at South Carolina (2009-11). His most notable accomplishment was as the lead recruiter and eventually position coach for five-star running back Marcus Lattimore. With Graham as his position coach for two seasons, Lattimore combined to run for 2,015 yards and 27 touchdowns in 20 total games.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:Graham is a proven recruiter and position coach who will continue to grow FSU's recruiting roots in North Carolina and South Carolina. Graham has also spent time recruiting North Florida during his time in the SEC, so he's familiar with some of the local territory as well. Graham's work with Lattimore and as a former standout running back should carry much weight with the Seminoles' young crop of running backs.

EXPERIENCE:
Tennessee, Running Backs (2012)
South Carolina, Running Backs (2009-11)
Miami (OH), offensive assistant (2008)
UT-Martin, Running backs/Recruiting Coordinator (2007)
San Diego, Running Backs/co-Special Teams Coordinator, (2007)
UT-Chattanooga, Running Backs (2006)
Tennessee, Graduate Assistant (1989-90)
KEY PLAYERS COACHED: RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (2009-10)
Name
Charles Kelly
Position
LBs & ST
Col Exp./Age
17/45
Prior College
Ga. Tech
Salary
$275,000
BRIEF: Kelly adds 17 years of college coaching experience, much of which has come as a secondary coach. As Georgia Tech's interim defensive coordinator for the final eight games of the 2012 season, Kelly helped guide a turnaround that saw the Yellow Jackets' pourous defensive unit hold teams to an average of 331 yards per game. Georgia Tech held USC to 205 total yards in the Sun Bowl and limited FSU to 328 total yards in the ACC Championship game. Kelly is also a proven recruiter in Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana. .

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: From what we've heard, a big part of the decision for Fisher and Pruitt to hire Kelly was because of his ability to teach linebackers to be great in coverage, something he's proven at Georgia Tech. Apparently the idea behind that is to have the ability to defend the pass happy spread teams, most notably fellow ACC Atlantic foe Clemson. Whether that tipping FSU's hand to a change in defensive philosophy remains to be seen, but it is possible for Kelly to have quite an athletic set of starting linebackers. Telvin Smith (MLB) and Christian Jones (WLB) return, and there is still the possibility that safety Karlos Williams could be moved down to play strong side LB. Kelly also inherits quite a set of return men as he takes over special teams.

EXPERIENCE:
Georgia Tech, Secondary/Interim Defensive Coordinator (2008-12)
Georgia Tech, Special Teams Coordinator (2006-07)
Nicholls State, Defensive Coordinator (2004-05)
Nicholls State, Secondary (2002-03)
Henderson State, Defensive Coordinator (1999)
Jacksonville State, Defensive Coordinator (1997-98)
Jacksonville State, Offensive Coordinator (1996)
Jacksonville State, Secondary (1995)
Jacksonville State, Running Backs (1994)
Auburn, Graduate Assistant (1993)
KEY PLAYERS COACHED: CB Chris Thompson, Nicholls State (5th round pick, 2004), P Durant Brooks, Georgia Tech (6th round pick, Ray Guy Award winner), S Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech (3rd round pick, 2010) and CB Mario Butler (Undrafted free agent 2011).
Name
Randy Sanders
Position
Quarterbacks
Col Exp./Age
23/45
Prior College
Kentucky
Salary
1 yr: $225,000
2 yr: $325,000
BRIEF: Sanders brings a host of quarterback coach and offensive coordinator experience. A former quarterback at Tennessee, Sanders has spent a combined 11 years as an SEC offensive coordinator (1999-2005 at Tennessee, 2009-12 at Kentucky). He has been coaching quarterbacks in some capacity at UT and UK every season since 1999, but coached running backs at Tennessee for six seasons (1993-98) prior to that, grooming new FSU running backs coach Jay Graham as a player with the Vols.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:The big question with Sanders is whether his 11 years of SEC playcalling experience and acumen could influence Fisher with the Seminoles' offensive game plan. We've seen some influence already as Sanders was likely integral in the hiring of Graham. One would assume Sanders would be the first to carry weight in the offensive meetings, and we'll soon learn if his ground-and-pound style becomes a bigger part of the FSU playbook. If so, it will be interesting to see how that affects FSU's quarterback battle come spring.

EXPERIENCE:
Kentucky, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (2009-12)
Kentucky, Recruiting Coordinator/Quarterbacks (2008)
Kentucky, Quarterbacks (2006-07)
Tennessee, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1999-2005)
Tennessee, Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator, (1993-98)
Tennessee, Wide Receivers (1991-92)
Tennessee, Volunteer Assistant (1989-90)
KEY PLAYERS COACHED: WR Carl Pickens, Tennessee (2nd round pick 1992), RB Charlie Garner, Tennessee (2nd round pick, 1994), RB James Stewart, Tennessee (No. 19 overall pick in 1995), RB Jay Graham, Tennessee (3rd round pick, 1997), QB Tee Martin, Tennessee (5th round pick, 2000), RB Jamal Lewis (No. 5 overall pick in 2000), WR Donte' Stallworth (No. 13 overall pick in 2002), QB Andre Woodson, Kentucky (6th round pick, 2008) and RB/WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky (2nd round pick, 2011).



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