Dec. 6, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher may specialize in coaching football, but perhaps he could moonlight as a fortune teller.
Fisher, Florida State's second-year coach, said Tuesday he "kind of felt this about six weeks ago" that the Seminoles would play in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Of course that wasn't proven true until this past Sunday when Florida Citrus Sports officials announced that FSU would play Notre Dame in the Dec. 28 bowl game. His prediction aside, Fisher said Tuesday that he is very pleased with the matchup and the opportunity to play in Central Florida.
"I think it's a smart thing to do," Fisher said. "I think Orlando is a great venue; a great bowl. I think it's a great town; great matchup. I think you are going to get a lot of attention."
The Seminoles and Fighting Irish are two of the most recognizable brands in collegiate sports and both have had similar seasons in 2011. Both have identical 8-4 records and both are trying to regain their footing at the top of the college-football mountain.
"Notre Dame is a very good team; coached very well," Fisher said. "They've had a good solid season. They've got some good young players and old players and coached very well. They do all the right things. That will be a matchup between two good football teams that have an opportunity to extend their season -- have a little bit better season -- going into the offseason."
ASSISTANTS ON THE MOVE?
It may be bowl season but the weeks leading up to the end-of-year games always center around the comings and goings of coaches.
Internet rumors constantly swirl throughout the month of December as programs replace coaches that were fired, retired or left for greener pastures. Much of the talk centers around big-name assistants that have bided their time moving up the coaching ranks towards a top job.
This season, FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' name has made the rounds on the web as he was recently linked to the head-coaching vacancy at Kansas.
As the architect of the nation's sixth-best defense and a name that carries a lot of weight in coaching circles, the fact that Stoops has been a rumored candidate for the open job at Kansas isn't surprising. But his connection with Jayhawks Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger -- the two were on the same staff together at both USF and Wyoming -- seemingly added that extra bit of credence needed to make a rumor that deserved to be monitored.
Asked Tuesday if any of his coaches have been contacted about other jobs, Fisher's answer was quick and clear, though: "Nope. Not one," Fisher said.
"I want him to be," Fisher said, when the topic of Stoops' head-coaching future was brought up. "Just like I wanted to be. I am not against that; I am for that. Change is good and opportunity is good. That's why you're in this business. I'm not a guy to ever block a guy from doing that. Because you know what? That means the next guy gets his job. You get the next great coach who wants his job because why? You project him right in."
HEADED TO THE NFL?
Just like coaching moves are a hot topic this time of year, so too are player moves.
Standout third-year college players have the right to investigate their professional future to make an educated determination on whether or not they should declare early for the NFL's annual draft.
Junior defensive end Brandon Jenkins is a student-athlete that is oftentimes mentioned as a possible early-round selection. Fisher said he would encourage Jenkins -- or any other third-year player on the roster -- to take advantage of the opportunity if the NFL Draft Advisory Board determines that he would be an early selection by a professional team.
"If he's in the first round, I'd kick him right out the door," Fisher said with a laugh.
But there's a caveat. Players that are considering going pro early must trust those around them to be supportive and not pressure them into a decision they may regret.
"Everybody is trying to make a dollar off these kids now," Fisher said. "The thing they've got to remember [is] they're the commodity. They're the reason. Now, what are my reasons for leaving? Do I want to? How do I want to? What's my standard? You've got to have your goals what I want out of this draft. They better listen to the people that have been there the whole time."
"If they are a first-round draft pick, they should go," Fisher added. "They should go. I'm a believer in that."