Jimbo Fisher and Florida State's Future

Since Jimbo Fisher was named Head Coach in Waiting I’ve heard nothing but grumblings from inside and outside the Florida State fan base. People who have only a passing interest in FSU football have been telling me that hiring Jimbo Fisher was a mistake. That the Head Coach in Waiting ordeal will never be copied because FSU has proven that it’s a failure. On and on I hear these types of remarks on a daily basis.

With the legendary tenure of Bobby Bowden coming to a close, I think it is time to set the record straight about Jimbo Fisher. I do not know if Jimbo will take FSU to the dizzying heights the program occupied during the 90s, what I do know is what Jimbo has done in the past and what he is currently doing at Florida State.

First, we need to look at Jimbo’s track record as a QB coach and Offensive Coordinator. Jimbo was Auburn’s QB coach under Terry Bowden until 1999 and had a brief stint at Cincinnati before being picked up by Nick Saban at LSU, where he was the QB Coach and Offensive Coordinator until 2006. Jimbo was able to accomplish several different things as QB coach and OC at Auburn and LSU.

While Jimbo has not been a head coach, he did turn down the opportunity to coach as the Offensive Coordinator under Nick Saban for the University of Alabama and the Head Coach position with the University of West Virginia. While Florida State did not get a Head Coach in Waiting with previous head coaching experience, it did pick up one of the hottest Offensive Coordinators in the country who was in very high demand.

  • He Coached three players who were first round draft picks in 2006.
  • He Coached the number one overall draft pick of 2006, JaMarcus Russell.
  • He Coached five QBs that were first round draft picks while at LSU.
  • He Coached the only 3,000-yard passing QB in Auburn History in Dameyune Craig.
  • He Coached both of the 3,000-yard passing QBs in LSU History, JaMarcus Russell and Rohan Davey.
  • He was the Offensive Coordinator of LSU when they won the 2003 National Championship.
  • LSU had a 70-20 record and made seven bowl appearances with Jimbo heading the offense. This represented the most wins in LSU’s history over a seven-year period and the most consecutive bowl appearances in school history as well.
  • And ultimately, LSU’s offenses under Fisher set 13 school records.

His resume coming into Florida State at the end of the 2006 season was impressive, to say the least. What FSU was able to do was lock in one of the top Offensive Coordinators in the Country to replace Jeff Bowden and right the stagnant Florida State Offensive.

Since his arrival at Florida State, the offense has really exploded in nearly every category. Any sensible Florida State fan should see the product being put on the field and realize that having Jimbo Fisher as Offensive Coordinator, and now Head Coach, is not a hindrance but a boon.

Florida State’s Total Offensive output is second only to Georgia Tech in the ACC, second in the ACC for passing offense, third in the conference for rushing yards per attempt, second in the conference for touchdown percentage in the red zone, third in the conference for 3rd down conversion percentage, Christian Ponder leads the league in passing yards per game, completion percentage, and total yards per game. Using the advanced statistics, Florida State’s offense is second in the ACC and seventh in the country in the Fremeau Efficency Index, third in the conference and 8th in the country in total offensive rating, second in the country in rushing offense rating, and 19th in the country in passing offensive rating in the S&P+ rankings.

Christian Ponder was on track to be yet another Florida State 3,000 yard passer had his season not been derailed by injury. If Christian Ponder had started instead of EJ Manuel and had the same stats as Manuel did in the final three games of the season, Ponder would have over 3,000 yards passing.

Jimbo Fisher is doing all of this with an offense that has three starting seniors on it.


Year QB Rating Yards/G Yards/G Rushing Points/G Yards Per Play 3rd Down Conversion Offensive FEI Rank
2004 107.8 372 162 25.2 4.9 . .
2005 102.2 376 94 28.9 4.8 . .
2006 119.6 330 96.5 26.5 4.6 33.7% .
2007 117.9 369 127.4 23.3 5.0 32.16% 64
2008 116.0 370 176.8 33.4 5.2 46.2% 17
2009 141.8 421 143 29.8 6.8 45.9% 7



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