After a dreadfully slow Monday night, I came home to check the UK basketball score only to notice a more important update. Bobby Bowden is expected to retire Tuesday morning. Honestly, I think my heart skipped a beat while reading those dreadful words.
Bowden met Monday with school officials and was given two options. Either take a program ambassador role with decreased control or walk away from the game he dominated for years.
There’s no need to mention 2009’s stats. College football fans knew the end was near in Tallahassee after an FSU trustee called for Bowden’s job in the middle of the season.
As a long-time FSU fan, I knew the end was near. However, I didn’t expect or want it to conclude in such a disappointing way.
At one angle, Bobby Bowden deserved a better last season or at least another opportunity to improve on this tumultuous year. On the other side, Seminole fans are ready to take a step in a new direction.
If Bowden were to stay head coach in 2010, he should not be allowed to have any input on hiring a new defensive coordinator. Jimbo Fisher deserves complete responsibility to revamping one of the worst defenses in the NCAA in ‘09.
The Noles let up long play after long play throughout the season while consistently finding themselves out of position, missing tackles, and producing little pressure on the quarterback. Not to mention that jump-up-in-the-air, waving-your-hands-around, looking-for-someone-else-to-blame thing whiny kids did when they were little.
To build on this lack of discipline, there seems to be no killer instinct that loomed over opposing offenses in the 90’s and some of this decade. Seminole linebackers used to pin their ears back and attack a ball carrier.
Nowadays, everybody on defense is back on their heels waiting to hit somebody; however, quick players end up blowing right by them.
In Bowden’s defense, the offense finally looked promising this season, putting up yardage Nole fans saw circa Chris Rix. On the other hand, the defense was horrendous in nearly every game this season, including the third straight blowout loss against Florida that I turned off right before halftime.
Blame the defense on this season, but let’s look at the overall situation in Tallahassee. Under no circumstances, should there ever be four coaches, in the same program, with the title “head coach.” Not to mention, Fisher isn’t one of them.
As an athlete, who do you begin to take orders from when getting instruction?
Rick Trickett, who joined the staff the same year as Fisher, is the assistant head coach and offensive line coach.
FSU’s offensive line played great, organized football this year, which was not the case in recent years past. However, how does one explain why an offensive line coach should also carry an assistant head coaching title while the head coach-in-waiting only carries titles of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach?
Chuck Amato and Mickey Andrews are executive head coach and associate head coach, respectively. Amato, who returned from North Carolina State the same year as Fisher arrived, is in charge of linebackers.
Andrews, on the other hand, is tenured at FSU, well-respected by the Seminole Nation, and maybe the only coach who deserves a head coach title in his job description.
This season’s defensive woes can somewhat be blamed on the losses of Myron Rolle and experienced members from 2008. However, it was easily apparent that the defensive back field and linebackers simply didn’t know what they were responsible for.
There was more passion in finding blame in somebody else rather than focusing on coverage and making necessary tackles.
It’s possible that the fossil-aged coaches, who I strongly supported when put together in 2007, were just not getting the job done anymore.
Andrews announced his retirement midway through the season while Bowden was left convinced that he had a say in his future and the future of the football program. Again, blame the entire situation for what finally unraveled this year.
It appears FSU’s upper office is in shambles with Andrews retiring, Bowden expecting to announce his retirement Tuesday, and the retirement of school president and longtime friend of Bowden, T.K. Wetherell as soon as a replacement is named.
Bowden gave his life to the program and deserved the opportunity to go out on his own.
It’s important for the Seminoles to get one last bowl win for one of college football’s greatest members; if not for Bowden himself, at least for the simple fact that a losing season is at stake.
Bowden, while maybe not wanting to, is passing the torch to an already-proven coach in Fisher and allowing the once-proud program and its fans to move on.
With Bowden’s expected retirement, Fisher will now have the opportunity to rebuild the program exactly to his liking, including naming his own defensive coordinator.
It’s already obvious that Fisher and the rest of this coaching staff can recruit after achieving top 10 recruiting classes over the past few years. The athletes will always continue to come to Tallahassee. However, recruits will now have the knowledge of who their head coach will be throughout their college career.
Fisher has successfully brought back a dominating offense who is ranked 24th in the NCAA. He’s also helped develop quarterbacks Christian Ponder and E.J. Manuel, a promising freshman who took over the helm after Ponder suffered a separated shoulder against Clemson.
Not to say Seminole fans or college football fans in general waited for the day Bowden announced his retirement, but it’s easy to at least know one person will now be in complete control of a much undisciplined FSU team.
For myself, as sad as it is to accept, I am happy inside that I hopefully won’t have to witness another season like 2009—one marred by a mediocre record, trustees stirring up feelings, and not knowing who is actually coaching the team.
You’ll be missed, Bobby.
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