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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Spring questions: Coaching changes

By David M. Hale

Jimbo Fisher
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher will be looking to six new assistant coaches for counsel this season.
Editor’s note: Each day until the start of spring practice, we’ll pose a question facing Florida State's football team as it moves toward the 2013 season. Today’s question: Will new coaches bring big changes for FSU?

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher said he's eager for spring practice to begin because it offers the first incites into the personality of this upcoming season's team. For the first time in four years, however, his players might be able to say the same about the coaching staff.

Florida State will have six new assistant coaches when spring drills begin, and that means a lot of new voices running drills, scripting plays and pushing players. Still, Fisher isn't planning on any wholesale changes.

"I know these guys very well, and I know their philosophies won't change and our overall philosophy won't change," Fisher said. "We're going to be able to do certain things well, and we're going to do the things we do."

That's no surprise on offense, where Fisher remains the architect. James Coley had been the nominal coordinator before departing for Miami (Fla), but he never called plays. This season, Fisher won't have a coordinator at all on offense, despite three new assistants.

There's potentially more room for change on defense. Jeremy Pruitt replaces Mark Stoops as the coordinator. Pruitt comes from a system at Alabama that ran a 3-4 base defense, and while Fisher said FSU won't be making that switch, there are bound to be a few tweaks to the system.

"They'll add a couple plays, tweaks and turns to a tag to a play to feature another part or a player, but the base of your football … we'll basically do the same thing," Fisher said.

In fact, the changes that will be noticeable in 2013 are likely to be more personnel driven rather than a product of the new coaching staff. With significant turnover on the defensive line and a bevy of injuries in the secondary, there's ample opportunity for different looks defensively. Fisher suggested increased versatility on defense will be the most likely change.

But overall, the biggest differences between 2012 and 2013 will be perspective, not philosophy.

"Sometimes somebody brings a different edge to you and sees something you can improve," Fisher said. "That's the thing about coaching and anything else, we all see things totally different. You'll see guys make jumps and it's not that he's coached better, but somebody may see something that lends to his strengths better than the past guy."