Former FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops was the second coming of Mickey Andrews.
He revived a moribund defense and brought Florida State back to the national rankings. Seminole fans should be glad they held on to Stoops for so long, as he helped keep vital continuity on Jimbo Fisher's staff as Florida State recaptured its influence in the ACC.
In Stoops' first year on staff, the Seminoles climbed to 42nd in national total defense. In 2009, the team was ranked No. 108.
But the biggest contribution that Stoops—as well as all members of the Seminoles' staff and the academic department—made was making sure the massive cheating scandal was not repeated.
By contrast, new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt brings a bit of a checkered history when it comes to recruiting. Recruit Darius Paige, a defensive tackle from Pensacola, found himself in an awkward situation when his former high school coach accused Pruitt's recruiting practice. Paige had transferred from Washington High in Pensacola to Foley High School in Alabama after Pruitt told him that Foley would take better care of him academically.
Of course, this can be construed in two ways. Either Pruitt wanted to find a shortcut to get Paige to Alabama and was not truly concerned about the quality of Paige's education, or he really thought that Paige would be more prepared for the rigors of college (and later, the working place) by going to Foley High School.
While Pruitt has produced results at Alabama as a recruiter and a defensive coach, people might wonder what he might do at FSU. The Paige affair might just be a blip on his career and technically didn't violate NCAA rules. All of this might have just been done in good faith, but after what happened to FSU in 2007, hopefully Jimbo Fisher won't play loose with NCAA rules.
Odds are extremely in favor that something questionable won't happen. Let's hope it just doesn't.
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