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Who Might Jimbo Fisher Select as Florida State's New Defensive Coordinator?

I think at this point it is clear that Florida State may be searching for 1-5 new coaches starting in December.  It has always been the policy of TomahawkNation to address such rumors thoughtfully and carefully, with an eye towards the future development of the program.

In the past few months on TomahawkNation, people have repeatedly wondered who Jimbo Fisher would target when given the opportunity to hire his own defensive staff. For quite some time, the only names we have been able to suggest are Greg Hudson, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at ECU, and Manny Diaz, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Middle Tennessee State.   These two names are frequently mentioned due to their connections to Florida State and to Jimbo Fisher, their youth, and their relative success at their current schools.  However, they have also been discussed ad nauseum for the past 15 months within the Seminole community.  After the jump, I will offer a few other possibilities that Jimbo Fisher may look at when considering his new defensive staff.

Keep in mind, the hiring of friends and previous coworkers is not in and of itself a problem.  The hiring of unqualified friends and coworkers is the problem.  Bobby Bowden's mistakes were hiring son Jeff Bowden as OC when he had demonstrated little if any gameplanning ability and certainly nothing resembling the qualifications of an elite offensive coordinator.  He made the mistake of handing the LB job to Chuck Amato without a proper search and allowing Chuck to coast.  The following candidates represent talented and effective coaches who are more than just friends of Jimbo Fisher.  Keep in mind that the three most effective assistants on Florida State's staff (Coley, Trickett, and Dawsey) were hired due to their: A) abilities as coaches (including age.  The potential coach must be born after 1958.  FSU has the oldest coaching staff in the nation and that stigma has hurt recruiting some as the old coaches simply don't relate to the recruits.  Any coach older than 52 on Jan 1 2010 is excluded) and B) previous connections to Jimbo Fisher.

Disclaimer:  This purpose of this post is not to suggest I have any "inside" information about who Jimbo will hire.   The Diaz and Hudson rumors were born out of internet speculation, not through any public statements from Jimbo Fisher himself.  I merely wish to highlight a few successful defensive coaches who have worked with Jimbo and/or Florida State in the past and might be open to doing so again.  Universities frequently hire search committees when looking for new coaching, consider this post your official TomahawkNation search committee.

Disclaimer 2, Electric Boogaloo:  As I said before, this article doesn't suggest that this process is guaranteed to happen this off-season.  I personally believe it will in some fashion, but I cannot say for certain.

In order to gauge how much money Florida State is willing to spend, let's first look at the current salaries of the 10 football coaches. (source)

Head coach Bobby Bowden: $2.435 million

Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher: $630,375

Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews: $315,105

No. 1 assistant Chuck Amato, linebackers: $305,000

No. 2 assistant Rick Trickett, offensive line: $300,000

No. 3 assistant Odell Haggins, defensive line: $200,000

No. 4 assistant James Coley, tight ends: $190,000

No. 5 assistant Jody Allen, defensive ends: $140,000

No. 6 assistant Lawrence Dawsey, wide receivers: $135,000

No. 7 assistant Dexter Carter, running backs: $130,000 

I believe it is too much to expect from the Boosters to continue this level of expenditure following Bobby Bowden's retirement.  So do not expect to suddenly have $2.5 million in available funds.  However, I do not think it's unreasonable to expect to keep $1.5 million of these funds in the system.  Of that $1.5 million, $600-$800K should probably be expected to go to Jimbo Fisher, putting him on par with most of the ACC at about $1.2-1.4 million.  As a point of reference, first time Head Coach Dabo Swinney was given a $1 million dollar deal with several additional financial incentives based on team performance last offseason.

I personally believe Rick Trickett and James Coley deserve a raise of about $100K each.  Trickett is one of the best OL coaches in the country, he has turned the Seminoles' offensive line around, and FSU cannot throw him out because of 2 sub-par performances this season.  He is a top assistant and Florida State should pay him as such.  James Coley is the hardest worker on this staff and will probably be the next offensive coordinator.  I do not think it unreasonable for Florida State to pay this type of coach $300K.

Dawsey deserves a raise, probably about 50K.  Carter will almost certainly not be retained, so expect another 150-200K needed for a RB coach. 

Based on best guess estimates, it will take about $1.05 million in raises for the current offensive coaches to get them to a market value salary.

All in all, I would expect no more than $1.45 million dollars available for a defensive staff (currently spend $1 million, plus an additional $450K of Bobby Bowden's old salary).

Qualifications to be mentioned in this article:

  • Has previously worked with Jimbo Fisher or Florida State University
  • Has experience coaching defense

Special consideration to coaches who:

  • Are under the age of 50
  • Are African American (for recruiting and diversity)
  • Are familiar with bigtime college football
  • Have NFL experience
  • Have previously worked with prominent defensive coaches in their careers

So who out there meets these qualifications and might be someone Jimbo Fisher could target for Florida State's new defensive staff?

Kirby Smart- Defensive Coordinator, Alabama



Age: 33 years old

Connected to: Jimbo Fisher- Smart was a DB coach for the 2004 LSU team.  Florida State- He was also a graduate assistant at FSU in 2002 and 2003.

Coaching Experience: Valdosta State DB coach (2000), Valdosta State Defensive Coordinator (2001), Florida State Graduate Assistant (2002-2003), LSU DB coach (2004), UGA RB Coach (2005), Miami Dolphins Safeties coach (2006), Alabama DB coach (2007), Alabama Defensive Coordinator (2008-present)

Coached with: Mickey Andrews, Nick Saban, Kevin Steele

Current Salary: Reportedly earns between $360,000 and $400,000 over the next 3 seasons.

Can he coach? Absolutely.  Smart is probably one of the best young defensive coordinators in the game.  I can't honestly say how much of Alabama's defensive success is due to Smart and how much is due to Saban, but let's put it this way: Nick Saban would not hire someone to be his Defensive Coordinator if he was not a good coach.

Can he recruit? This season, Rivals lists Smart as the primary recruiter for 1 Five Star, 3 Four Star, and 2 Three Star recruits.  Last year he signed 2 Four Star and 2 Three Star recruits, and was the primary Alabama recruiter for Greg Reid and Jacobbi McDaniel(keep in mind Reid almost went to Alabama).  He is young and the reputation of Alabama's defense would attract top prospects.  If FSU has any chance to get back the Corey Millers, Brandon Willis', Jeff Lucs of the world, Smart is probably the one who could do it.

Should FSU want him? Umm... yes.  Florida State should want him very badly.  Probably the most likely person on this list to "save" the 2010 recruiting class.  In addition to recruiting talent, Smart has the experience necessary to put a defensive product on the field in the 2010 season that would not lose games for us (allowing what should be a phenomenal offense to carry us) and a defense in 2011 that could very well lead to BCS bowl aspirations. 

Could FSU get him? Possibly. Florida State has some things going for it in this situation.  Smart has been in Tallahassee before (maybe he loves the area).  He is from Bainbridge, GA, which is only 30 minutes away from Tallahassee.  His folks still live there.   No matter what happens at Alabama, it will always be "Nick Saban's Defense."  Smart needs to make his own name eventually.  Kevin Steele learned that when things go well on defense in Alabama, it is because of Nick Saban.  When things go poorly, the Defensive Coordinator gets fired or demoted.  Saban is also reportedly a very difficult boss to work for, so maybe Kirby wants to free himself.  Regardless, it would take at least $500K annually for him to consider moving to Tallahassee.

If Smart comes here, FSU should only expect to keep him for 1-3 years as he would definitely look to secure a head coaching position. 


Greg Hudson- Defensive Coordinator, ECU




Age: 42 years old

Connected to: Jimbo Fisher - Coached together for the Cincinnati Bearcats in 1999.

Coaching Experience: Graduate assistant Notre Dame (1993), OL coach UConn (1994-1996), LB coach Cincinnati (1997-2000), LB coach Minnesota Gophers (2001-2002), Defensive Coordinator Minnesota Gophers (2003-2004), Defensive Coordinator and LB coach ECU (2005-present)

Coached with: Lou Holtz, Rick Minter, Glen Mason

Current Salary:  ECU Head Coach Skip Holtz's reported salary this season is $1.16 million dollars.  Hudson likely earns no more than $300,000 as ECU's top assistant and best friend to the Head Coach.

Can he coach? Hudson really burst onto the Florida State radar following ECU's consecutive upsets of nationally ranked teams to begin the 2008 season.  ECU's defense held Virginia Tech's offense to under 250 total yards in the season opener.  The following week, ECU was able to shut down a potent West Virginia offense, allowing just 3 points and holding Pat White under 100 yards passing while giving up only 251 total yards.  In the Conference USA championship game, ECU held Tulsa (the nation's top offense in yards per game) 170 yards under their season average.  Last season, Hudson demonstrated he could put together a decent gameplan against teams with more talented athletes in addition to containing complex passing offenses and the spread-option game.

This season, however, ECU has allowed 24.2 points per game, allowed over 500 yards total offense against West Virginia in a 35-20 loss, and allowed a struggling UNC offense to score 31 points.  Let us not assume Hudson is a miracle worker that will succeed at everything.

Can he recruit? Hudson appears to have very few established recruiting connections in Florida and south Georgia.  His name will not immediately resonate with players enough to "save" the 2010 recruiting class.  Rivals does not list him as the primary recruiter for any of ECU's current prospects.  He is, however, young and energetic and has the potential to attract players after a few successful seasons.

Should FSU want him? Hudson seems to be a very good coach and could be very successful at Florida State.  However I believe there should be other candidates on the list who are contacted before Hudson becomes the top target.

Could FSU get him? Hudson and ECU Head Coach Skip Holtz have a close relationship dating back to Hudson's playing career at Notre Dame.  It is believed that Holtz considers Notre Dame to be his dream job, and he would probably bring Hudson along as his Defensive Coordinator (although this scenario seems less likely now than it did in 2008 when the Pirates defeated consecutive ranked opponents).  Hudson also has head coaching aspirations, so should Holtz move on, Hudson could potentially be a candidate to replace him at ECU.  However, Florida State could definitely afford his salary, he is familiar with Jimbo Fisher, and Florida State (regardless of its issues) is a step up from East Carolina.  Given our financial situation, I definitely believe FSU can afford his salary.  It comes down to how loyal he is to Holtz, where he believes he can be a Head Coach sooner, and how hard Florida State pursues him.

Sal Sunseri- Inside Linebackers coach, Alabama



Age: 50 years old

Connected to: Jimbo Fisher- Sunseri coached at LSU in 2000.

Coaching Experience: DL and LB coach Pittsburgh Panthers(1985-1992), Head Coach Iowa Wesleyan (1993), Defensive Coordinator Illinois St. (1994), LB coach Louisville (1995-1997), Defensive Coordinator Alabama A&M (1998-1999), LB coach LSU (2000), LB coach Michigan State (2001), DL coach Carolina Panthers (2002-2008), ILB coach Alabama (2009-present)

Coached with: Nick Saban, John Fox

Current Salary: Between $325,000 and $350,000 over the next 3 seasons.

Can he coach? Let's put it this way, Nick Saban and John Fox don't hire coaches if they don't believe they can coach.  Sunseri's defensive lines performed well with the Panthers, it is rumored that personality conflicts between him and Julius Peppers led to his eventual release (he wasn't really fired or released, but the handwriting was on the wall before he took the Alabama job).

Can he recruit? Another guy who could sell his pedigree, Sunseri is at worst a candidate who could develop a successful defense while being surroundec by top recruiters.  Rivals currently lists him as the top recruiter for 2 Four Star and 1 Three Star commit.

Should FSU want him? Sunseri is a very good coach and Florida State would be lucky to have him.  However, he and Jimbo only spent one season together at LSU, so I do not know that they have the closest relationship.  I would target Kirby Smart before Sunseri if I were looking at Alabama's staff.

Could FSU get him? Sunseri is paid very well for a position coach.  Florida State is not likely to be able to match his salary unless he is made the Defensive Coordinator.  If Florida State were able to attract Kirby Smart, there is the potential that Sunseri could come as a position coach, but in that scenario it is probably more likely that Sunseri is promoted within the Alabama staff. 


Karl Dunbar- Defensive Line coach, Minnesota Vikings



Age: 42 years old

Connected to: Jimbo Fisher- Dunbar was the S&C coach at LSU in 2000-2001 and he coached the defensive line at LSU in 2005.

Coaching Experience: DL coach Nicholls State (1998-1999), Strength and Conditioning coach LSU (2000-2001), DL coach Oklahoma State (2002-2003), DL coach Chicago Bears (2004), DL coach LSU (2005), DL coach Minnesota Vikings (2006-present)

Coached with: Nick Saban, Lovie Smith

Current Salary: Probably between $300,000 and $400,000.

Can he coach? "You don't get hired by Nick Saban and Lovie Smith if you can't coach."  Granted, Saban only hired him as a S&C coach in 2000.  However, the Vikings' defensive line has been one of the best in the NFL under Dunbar's leadership. 

Can he recruit? Has all the qualities to potentially be a great recruiter.  Has an NFL and SEC pedigree, is young, and is a successful coach.  Kids love the NFL pedigree.

Should FSU want him? Dunbar would be a great hire should Jimbo choose not to retain Odell Haggins.  Dunbar could be trusted with the entire defensive line, freeing up an additional coaching position.

Could FSU get him? Dunbar is extremely involved in the Minneapolis community.  As an NFL assistant, he is also paid very well.  FSU probably does not have the funds to bring him here as a position coach.  I also do not think that Dunbar would take a step down.


Travis Jones- Defensive Line coach, New Orleans Saints(recruiting coordinator at LSU 2003-2004)



Age: mid 30s

Connected to: Jimbo Fisher- Travis coached at LSU in 2003-2004

Coaching Experience: Graduate Assistant Georgia (1997), LB coach/Recruiting Coordinator Appalachian State (1998-2000), DL coach Kansas (2001-2002), DL coach/Recruiting Coordinator LSU (2003-2004), Assistant DL coach Miami Dolphins (2005-2007), Assistant DL coach New Orleans Saints (2008-2009) 

Coached with: Nick Saban

Current Salary: As an assistant position coach in the NFL, Jones probably earns between $150,000 and $300,000.

Can he coach? LSU's defensive line was the strength of their defense in 2003-2004.  Was able to coach complex zone blitz schemes to players like Chad Lavalais and Marcus Spears that helped to win the 2003 BCS Championship.  Has produced some of the best defenses in the NFL in terms of sacks since 2005.

Can he recruit? Was the recruiting coordinator for Rivals' top ranked 2003 class.  Add in his NFL experience and Jones would make a great recruiter.

Should FSU want him? Jones would be an excellent addition to the staff as a DL coach should Odell be let go or as an OLB coach in a 3-4 system.

Could FSU get him? Florida State could probably afford him, but I do not know about other circumstances (is he happy in the NFL, does he like the New Orleans area, etc).


Reggie Herring- Linebackers coach, Dallas Cowboys



Age: 50 years old

Connected to: Florida State- Reggie played linebacker at FSU in the late 70s/early 80s.

Coaching Experience: Graduate Assistant Oklahoma State (1981), LB coach Oklahoma State (1982-1985), Linebacker coach Auburn (1986-1991), Defensive Coordinator TCU (1992-1993), Linebacker coach Clemson (1994-1996), Defensive Coordinator Clemson (1997-2001), Linebacker coach Houston Texans (2002-2003), Defensive Coordinator NC State (2004), Defensive Coordinator Arkansas (2005-2007), Linebacker coach Dallas Cowboys (2008-present)

Coached with: Dom Capers, Pat Dye, Wade Phillips (not a terrible Xs and Os guy... just not a head coach)

Current Salary: Herring would have made $300,000 had he stayed at Texas A&M in 2008, but left for the Dallas Cowboys.  Jerry Jones has deep pockets.  I'd speculate he earns somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000.

Can he coach? In a word, yes.  Herring was the Defensive Coordinator of the top ranked NC State defense in 2004.  In 2005 at Arkansas his defense averaged 24.6 ppg allowed (drops to 20.1 if you take out the 70 points allowed to USC). He coaches an extremely talented and successful group of linebackers with the Cowboys that includes sack machine DeMarcus Ware.  However, while at Arkansas, Herring ran a man-free defensive scheme.  I vividly remember UF exploiting this in the 2006 SEC Championship game.

Can he recruit? Herring has an impressive pedigree that he can sell to recruits.  I do not know, however, if he is an effective salesman in recruits' homes.  If nothing else, FSU could surround him with talented recruiters and allow him to develop successful schemes.

Should FSU want him? Herring would be a very valuable addition to the staff.  He has proven he has the ability to gameplan and prepare to face top competition week in and week out.  He has been successful at both the collegiate and professional level.  Additionally, he is familiar previous potential candidate, Manny Diaz, from their time at NC State, so the two may not mind working together again.

Could FSU get him? Herring may want to return his alma mater to its former glory.  Additionally, he may want to remove himself from the Jerry Jones circus.  Florida State's biggest problem is that its circus doesn't pay nearly as well as Jerry's.  I believe it would take a sizeable salary to attract Reggie.


Tim Walton- Secondary coach, Detroit Lions



Age: late 30s

Connected to: Jimbo Fisher- Walton coached at LSU in 2003.

Coaching Experience: Graduate Assistant Bowling Green (1995), RB coach Bowling Green (1996-1998), DB coach Bowling Green (1999), DB coach Memphis Tigers(2000-2001), DB coach Syracuse (2002), DB coach LSU (2003), DB coach Miami Hurricanes (2004-2007), Defensive Coordinator Miami Hurricanes (2007), Defensive Coordinator Memphis Tigers (2008), DB coach Detroit Lions (2009-present)

Coached with: Nick Saban, Randy Shannon

Current Salary: Based on league-wide salary trends, probably between $300,000 and $400,000.

Can he coach? Walton is an effective position coach, as evidence by his long career and his experience at high level programs and with high level coaches.  He is probably not a good candidate for defensive coordinator, as his time at Miami was extremely...ummm... "rocky."

Can he recruit? Walton is a relatively young coach with NFL experience.  These are exactly the type of qualities that attract recruits.

Should FSU want him? Honestly?  Probably not.  He is listed here for completeness, as he is coach who has worked with Fisher before.  I also do not believe FSU should be in the practice of hiring our rivals' re-treads.  It has worked before (Mickey Andrews), but lightening doesn't generally strike twice.

Could FSU get him? It would take more money to get him here than Florida State should probably be willing to pay him.


Rick Minter- Defensive Coordinator, Marshall



Age: 55 years old

Connected to: Jimbo Fisher- Minter hired Jimbo while the Head Coach of the Cincy Bearcats

Coaching Experience: DE coach Louisiana Tech (1979), OLB coach NC State (1980-1982), LB coach New Mexico State (1985-1991), Defensive Coordinator Notre Dame (1992-1993), Head Coach Cincinnati Bearcats (1994-2003), Defensive Coordinator South Carolina (2004), Defensive Coordinator Notre Dame (2005-2006), Defensive Coordinator Marshall (2008-present)

Coached with: Lou Holtz, Charlie Weiss (shows he has experience working at schools where offense is the focus)

Current Salary: Marshall's Head coach reportedly earns $500,000 a year.  Minter probably does not make more than $250,000.

Can he coach? Minter was the only Defensive Coordinator who seemed to have an answer for Charlie Ward in 1993, so that says something (give an assist to the Notre Dame grounds-crew on that one as well).  He was an effective Head Coach for several seasons in Cincinnati, leading them to 4 bowls in his 10 years.  He produced a top 20 defense against the pass and the run in 2004 at South Carolina.  However, some of his defenses at Notre Dame under Charlie Weiss were less than stellar and he was let go following the 2006 season.

Can he recruit? The name "Rick Minter" isn't likely to resonate with Florida and Georgia recruits.  If Minter were to be hired, Florida State would have to surround Minter with gifted recruiters and hope he could create an extremely high caliber defense that in itself would attract players.

Should FSU want him? Minter could be on a list of Defensive Coordinator candidates, but he probably shouldn't be at the top of that list.  He is a good coach, but in my opinion is not familiar enough with the area to effectively recruit.  I also fear that he could potentially have problems taking orders from a man he once hired as an assistant.

Could FSU get him? If FSU really went after him, I believe the Noles could sway him away from Marshall.



Fisher coached in the league and there are major rumblings that he will look to the league for his next DC if he is unable to get Kirby Smart.  I think the safe money is on Smart and if not Smart, then to the NFL for a young motivated NFL assistant looking to gain more exposure.


Potential Assistants

Manny Diaz- Defensive Coordinator, Middle Tennessee State



Age: mid 30s

Connected to: Florida State- Manny was a graduate assistant at FSU in 1998 and 1999.

Coaching Experience: Graduate Assistant Florida State (1998-1999), Graduate Assistant NC State (2000-2001), LB coach NC State (2002-2003), Safeties coach NC State (2004-2005), Defensive Coordinator Middle Tennessee State (2006-present)

Coached with: Mickey Andrews, Chuck Amato (that used to mean something), Reggie Herring

Current Salary: Middle Tennessee State Head Coach Rick Stockstill reportedly earns $300,000 annually.  If I had to guess, Diaz probably earns no more than $150,000.

Can he coach? He helped NC State's defense be the top ranked unit in the country in 2004.  They held Florida State and Ohio State each under 130 yards total offense that season.  As special teams coach, his team blocked three kicks and returned 2 for touchdowns that season.  Middle Tennessee State gave up only 361 yards to Clemson's offense in the season opener this year, and the defense was only responsible for 23 points allowed.  His defenses at MTSU have average about 25 ppg allowed, but he has shown an ability to coach against teams with superior athletes (eg, Maryland in consecutive years, Clemson this season).

Can he recruit? Diaz is the son of current Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Sr.  He is under 40 and energetic.  He has the potential to be another James Coley on the recruiting trail.

Should FSU want him? Definitely.  His ability as a coach, potential as a major recruiter, and relative cost compared to other options make him an unbelievably attractive candidate.  He could also serve a variety of roles here: LB coach, safeties coach, special teams coordinator, and/or recruiting coordinator when Coley moves to OC.  Personally, I want him in our new defensive coaching staff, but perhaps not as defensive coordinator.  Diaz as a position coach under a talented DC could return our defense to prominence very quickly.

Could FSU get him? FrankDNole says Manny would come for 2 bags of chips and bus fare.  Florida State could definitely get him for less money than other options, Florida State would probably be extremely attractive for him given his previous experience in Tallahassee.  He'd be moving closer to home.  And FSU is definitely a step forward in his coaching career from MTSU.  Diaz isn't a top target for DC, but he should definitely be looked at as a position coach.  It will be up to him to decide if position coach at FSU with potential for advancement is more attractive than DC at MTSU.   


Chris Demarest- Head Coach and Athletic Director, Hudson Catholic High School



Age: 44 years old

Connected to: Florida State- Chris was a graduate assistant at FSU in the late 90s.

Coaching Experience: Graduate Assistant Rutgers (1989), ECU (1990), Northeastern (1991-1992), East Stroudsberg (1993), Millersville (1994), Lehigh (1994-97) Graduate Assistant Florida State (1998-1999), DB coach NC State (2000-2003), DB coach Rutgers (2004-2007)

Coached with: Mickey Andrews, Greg Schiano

Current Salary: Can't possibly be making over $100,000

Can he coach? Demarest was a part of the successful NC State defenses earlier in this decade.  Additionally, when Rutgers was still on the rise, he was tapped as Greg Schiano's right hand man.  He has the potential to be a very good defensive assistant.

Can he recruit? Another potential James Coley on the recruiting trail, he was one of Rutgers' best recruiters in his tenure there.  "Demo" recruited the fertile South Florida area for Rutgers.  Had some off the field issues that will be used against him on the recruiting trail at a major university.  (He was charged with violence during an argument with his girlfriend.  All charges were dropped but the allegations proved too strong for him to keep his job at Rutgers.  This is all we should say about this situation in fairness to Demarest.)  

Should FSU want him? There are probably other less risky options out there, but Demarest would be a very good hire.  I wouldn't put him at the top of my wish-list as a defensive coordinator, but he would be on it somewhere.  He would be an excellent position coach.

Could FSU get him? I have to believe most definitely.  He is looking for a school to give him a chance.


Terrell Buckley- Graduate Assistant for Defensive Backs, Florida State



Age: 38 years old

Connected to: Umm... duh.  Florida State- TBuck was a superstar defensive back at FSU in the early 90s and has been an S&C coach and Graduate Assistant since 2006.  Jimbo Fisher- TBuck has worked with Jimbo since joining the staff in 2007.

Coaching Experience: Assistant Strength and Conditioning coach Florida State (2007), Graduate Assistant Florida State (2008-present)

Coached with: Mickey Andrews

Current Salary: TBuck is probably still counting his NFL millions.  He is technically not currently a paid coach.

Can he coach? This somewhat remains to be seen.  He has been a graduate assistant and a strength and conditioning coach here, but not a full time assistant.  He should not be considered for anything more than a CB coach (and maybe a Safeties coach as well).

Can he recruit? Has the potential to be a great recruiter.  Several 2010 prospects mention that he has been suggested as the replacement for Mickey Andrews as DB coach. TBuck could play an important role in the recruitment of 5 Star Lamarcus Joyner.

Should FSU want him? Buckley would be a great addition to the defensive staff as a CB coach.  And if he helps to bring in Lamarcus Joyner then it is worth it.

Could FSU get him? Yes.  If Jimbo Fisher wants TBuck on this staff, TBuck will be on this staff.


 Possible Offensive Assistants

Roy Anderson- Defensive Assistant, Baltimore Ravens



Age: 30 years old

Connected to: Florida State- Anderson was born in Tallahassee, attended Godby High, and was a Graduate Assistant at Florida State in 2003.  Jimbo Fisher- Anderson was also a graduate assistant at LSU in 2004.

Coaching Experience: Graduate Assistant FAMU (2002), Graduate Assistant Florida State (2003), Graduate Assistant LSU (2004), Scouting and Personnel Assistant Baltimore Ravens (2005-2008), Defensive Quality Control assistant for DL Baltimore Ravens (2008), Assistant DL coach Baltimore Ravens (2009)

Coached with: Jimbo Fisher, Brian Billick, Rex Ryan

Current Salary: As a first year assistant position coach, Anderson probably earns upwards of $150,000. 

Can he coach? Has proven to be a very talented assistant in his short time.  His quality control work has helped the Baltimore defensive line maintain their status as one of the best in the NFL.

Can he recruit? Has all the elements to potentially be a great recruiter.  I additionally like the fact that he is a Godby graduate.  He can recruit the Tallahassee area very well.  In addition, he can provide leadership by example for recruits who may not come from the best academic background. 

Should FSU want him? Anderson has become my personal flavor of the month coach.  In my opinion, he would make a great candidate for Florida State's +1 coach they get when Bobby Bowden leaves.  His potential as a recruiter and an assistant is off the charts (think Lawrence Dawsey minus the playing career plus NFL coaching experience with a great organization).

Could FSU get him? Tallahassee is his home town.  Florida State could offer more than he makes as an assistant position coach.  FSU could probably get him.


Dameyune Craig- WR Coach, University of South Alabama



Age:  35 years old

Connected to: Jimbo Fisher- Craig played for Fisher at Auburn and was a graduate assistant at LSU in 2004. 

Coaching Experience: Assistant Coach, Blount High School (2003), Graduate Assistant LSU(2004), Special Teams Assistant Miami Dolphins (2005), QB Coach Tuskegee University (2006-2007), WR coach University of South Alabama (2008-current)

Coached with: Jimbo Fisher, Terry Bowden, Nick Saban

Current Salary: Probably less than $100,000.

Can he coach? "Nick Saban doesn't hire guys who can't coach."

Can he recruit? Craig has the playing and coaching pedigree that can sell a lot of recruits.

Should FSU want him? Absolutely.  Craig is definitely a Fisher guy, he is a young coach who can relate to recruits, and has demonstrated enough coaching ability.

Could FSU get him? Yes.  Craig has followed Fisher at least two times in his career, I doubt he'd mind doing it again.  FSU is definitely a step up from USA and he will earn much more here.

Many expect Craig on this staff.


Leroy Ryals- Head Coach, Clarke Central High School Athens, GA



Age:  39 years old

Connected to: Jimbo Fisher- Ryals was the tight ends coach and assistant special teams coordinator at LSU in 2004. 

Coaching Experience: Assistant Coach Booker (Sarasota) High School (1990-1993), Head Coach Booker (Sarasota) High School (1994-2000), Running Backs Coach University of South Florida (2001-2003), Tight Ends coach LSU(2004), Head Coach Clarke Central (Athens, GA) (2005-current)

Coached with: Jimbo Fisher, Nick Saban, Lawrence Dawsey, James Coley

Current Salary: Probably less than $100,000.

Can he coach? Ryals has been regarded as a very good high school coach.  He was named the Sarasota Herald-Tribune Coach of the Year in 1999. He also served as a coach in the Florida-Georgia High School All-Star game in 1997 and 2000.  The main reason he only served one year at LSU is because Les Miles brought in his own staff from Oklahoma State.

Can he recruit? Had a solid reputation as a recruiter while coaching in college and he has established ties to South Florida and Georgia.

Should FSU want him? Depends on how many offensive assistants FSU is looking for in the offseason.  Ryals would make an excellent addition to the staff.

Could FSU get him? Florida State could definitely afford to pay his salary.  The sticking point could be whether or not Ryals prefers the high school game to college.



MattDNole's Dream Scenario

We know that Mickey is retiring.  We know that Chuck and Jody are gone the moment after.  Dexter Carter may or may not be in FSU's future plans.  Odell's future is probably still up in the air.  If (and we stress if) they were all let go, what kind of staff could Florida State get with $1.4 million dollars?

CB coach: Chris Demarest- $170,000 annually

Some point to Terrell Buckley as the only chance to save Florida State's chances with Lamarcus Joyner.  I think Demarest is a distinct possibility here and might be a better hire for the future, regardless of Joyner's decision (hopefully he would like the Demarest choice though as we need LJ very much).  Plus, Joyner reportedly is tight with Coley already.

Defensive Coordinator/Safeties coach: Kirby Smart- $500,000 annually

It would take a check this big to get Smart to come to Florida State, in my opinion.  Smart has experience coaching safeties already, so he could coach them here allowing TBuck to focus on the position he knows.  Smart could also coach linebackers if Manny Diaz is hired to coach safeties.  Jimbo would have to sell Smart on the opportunity to prove himself away from Nick Saban's shadow. 

LB coach/Special Teams Coordinator: Manny Diaz- $160,000 annually

This is probably more than Diaz earns at MTSU and represents market value for a coach with his potential.  Diaz should be targeted regardless of his limited personal connections with Jimbo Fisher or the other members of this staff.  If Diaz is brought in as a position coach under Kirby Smart, he could be groomed to take over the DC position if Smart were to leave for a head coaching job in the coming years.

DL coach/Recruiting Coordinator: Travis Jones - $200,000 annually

I assume that Coley will give up RC duties when he becomes the Offensive Coordinator.  Best combination of coaching and recruiting on the defensive line.  Jones and Smart worked together at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins, so they would be familiar with each other.  Jones is my dream candidate if Florida State is actually looking for a new DL coach, but I personally think Odell should be kept on for at least one season to see if he can work with the new staff.  Consider it a probationary period to see if he can be effective in a different system.  Keeping Odell would also help keep many of Florida State's current commitments.  Side note: FSU might have enough cash to throw at John Blake, but I doubt he would leave Butch Davis at UNC.

RB Coach: Dameyune Craig - $130,000 annually

Tons of potential as a position coach, Florida State could get him cheap, and he would fit comfortably with Jimbo Fisher.  Also, don't forget: recruiting, recruiting, recruiting.  One of the first priorities for a RB coach is his ability to recruit.  I believe FSUncensored has mentioned that Fisher and Trickett teach FSU's backs the system.

+1 coach: Roy Anderson- $150,000 annually

I am not sure that Jimbo will give up coaching QBs when he becomes Head Coach.  As a result, Florida State will gain an extra position coach of its choice.  Anderson could help coach receivers, quarterbacks, or tight ends.  He additionally has experience as a quality control and self scouting coach on defense.  Demarest could also be brought in as the +1 coach if TBuck is retained, be named Recruiting Coordinator and/or Special Teams coach.

The total cost for the new coaches would be $1.31 million dollars.  As a result, this "dream staff" would cost about $1.2 million dollars LESS than the current staff with Bobby Bowden's $2.5 million salary.  I would also argue that the results on the field would be much improved.

Also keep in mind that Florida State could potentially have a lot more money available than what I assumed they will have.  There are rumors of boosters waiting to make huge contributions once they are confident the necessary chances are complete.

So how quickly could this happen?  Here is a timetable for when these coaches would probably be available:

Buckley- TBuck could be hired tomorrow if FSU had an open position.

Smart-  Alabama is almost a lock to be in a January bowl, and potentially a BCS bowl.  Communications could be made throughout December, but it would really be Nick Saban's decision as to whether or not Smart would coach Alabama through the bowl game (see: Richt, Mark and Pelini, Bo).  Best case scenario if Smart is FSU's man is that the deal gets done in late December and he hits the ground in early to mid January.

Diaz- Middle Tennessee State is currently 3-2 and is fourth in their conference.  However, the Sun Belt is typically a "one bid league" to use basketball terminology.  If the Raiders do make a bowl game, it is likely to be the New Orleans Bowl held on December 20.

Jones- The Saints are crushing right now.  Jones may not be available until February.

Craig- USA still plays provisional football as they try to develop their program.  Their season ends on November 12.

Anderson- Anderson probably wouldn't be available until January or February.

Demarest- Hudson Catholic's season ends on November 26th.

I know someone will bring up the name Derrick Brooks.  SWFLNole has been adamant that Brooks is on to bigger and better things.  So, most likely not.

Based on this timetable, I would not expect Florida State to get back recruits like Corey Miller, or Brandon Willis.  I believe that ship has officially sailed.  However, they would still have a great shot with Lamarcus Joyner, Christian Green, Jeff Luc, and Christian Jones and very outside chances at Corey Lemonier, et al.

Keep in mind this is just a suggestion, and this list is merely meant to give you an idea of who is out there.  There are also countless other potential coaches that Florida State could hire that do not have a previous connection to Jimbo Fisher or Florida State University.  Florida State has the potential to put together a great staff once it starts cutting loose some of the dead weight.