When Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State offense lines up against a Dave Wommack-led Ole Miss defense on September 5th, it will be the seventh time that Fisher’s offense will square off against Wommack’s defense. Although Fisher is just 2-4 in those previous six games against Wommack, the record does Fisher no justice.
In all six games, a Jimbo Fisher-led offense had more yards per play than Wommack’s defense gave up for that season. Fisher was leading top tier schools LSU (2000-2006) and Florida State (2007-present) in five of those six meetings, however, coach Fisher had success leading a below average team in that sixth meeting. Wommack has moved from Southern Miss, to Arkansas, to Georgia Tech to Ole Miss.
In 1999, Fisher led a Cincinnati team that finished the year 3-8 to amass 529 total yards of offense and 5.51 yards per play against a Wommack-led, final AP No. 14 Southern Miss team who averaged 4.10 yards per play against that season, a difference of 1.41 yards per play.
In fact, over those six games, Fisher averaged 1.26 more yards per play than Wommack’s defenses. The highest difference was in 2009, the last time the duo met, when Fisher’s Florida State offense averaged 8.16 yards per play against Georgia Tech, who gave up an average of 5.88 yards per play against that season.
Sometimes a high yardage per play average does not equate to a lot of points on the scoreboard, but in this case, Fisher has had just as much success scoring the ball. In all six previous meetings, Fisher scored more than Wommack’s defense had allowed for that season. In total, Fisher’s offenses average 14.88 more points per game than Wommack’s defenses have allowed. If only the last four meetings are taken into consideration, that average rises to 21 points per game more. The largest difference was in 2003 when Fisher’s LSU offense scored 55 points against an Arkansas team that allowed just 20.83 points per game in its 12 other games that year.
One interesting note on Fisher against Wommack is time of possession. Just as the previous two statistics, Fisher’s offenses have had more time of possession in all six previous meetings. On average, an offense led by Jimbo Fisher is on the field for 8.73 more minutes than the team Wommack is coaching for. By the end of the games, Wommack’s defenses are on the field much longer than its other games, giving Fisher an edge on attacking the physically exhausted defensive group. This may be indicative of Wommack’s defense daring Fisher’s offense to consistently execute as it moves down the field as opposed to daring it to make big plays.
Last season as defensive coordinator at Ole Miss, Wommack gave up, on average, 4.87 yards per play. The ‘Noles and Rebels both played the University of Florida in Gainesville that year. Ole Miss gave up 5.63 yards in its game against a Gators offense, led by QB Will Grier, that averaged 4.58 yards per play in it other 13 games— Florida State only allowed 3.31 yards per play in its matchup with QB Treon Harris starting for UF.