LSU assistant joins FSU staff

Published: Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE — Less than 48 hours after ending negotiations with Louisiana State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden changed his mind Monday and, apparently, Fisher's too.

Bowden named Fisher, 41, as his offensive coordinator at Florida State, which had suffered decreasing production on offense in recent years under the directions of Bowden's youngest son, Jeff Bowden.

"His ability to put in an offense and adjust as the season goes along is second to none," Bobby Bowden said about Fisher. "He brings the experience and attitude that I was looking for in a coordinator."

A West Virginia native, Fisher spent the past seven seasons at LSU, where the offense set 13 school records under his direction. He will also take over as quarterback coach for Daryl Dickey, whose contract was not renewed.

"The opportunity to coach at Florida State and to grow as a coach under coach Bowden was one that I could not pass up," said Fisher, who signed a three-year agreement with a starting base salary of $215,000.

However, on Saturday it appeared Florida State had given up on landing Fisher, a protege of Bowden's son, Terry Bowden.

"Florida State will move forward to pursue other options among a number of outstanding coaches who want to share in FSU's traditions and values," coach Bobby Bowden said, adding that Fisher would "be a benefit to whatever organization he ends up with."

Fisher is reunited with receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey and offensive coordinator Rick Trickett, who were both added to the Florida State staff last week. They coached together during LSU's national championship season in 2003.

Dickey joined offensive line coach Mark McHale, running backs coach Billy Sexton, and Jeff Bowden as casualties of Bobby Bowden's poorest season in 30 years at Florida State.

Jeff Bowden, who resigned two days after the Seminoles were defeated 30-0 by Wake Forest in mid-November, was paid by the school's booster organization to resign.

Linebackers coach Kevin Steele also left, joining new Alabama coach Nick Saban.

Bowden still has two vacancies to fill on his staff.

The Seminoles finished 7-6 following a 44-27 Emerald Bowl win over UCLA.


Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said Monday that he interviewed with the Miami Dolphins and was waiting to hear if he was still a candidate to replace Nick Saban.

Gailey, a former Dolphins offensive coordinator, is on a long list of potential candidates that also includes former Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora.

"There's nothing new," said Gailey, who was on hand as star receiver Calvin Johnson announced he would enter the NFL draft. "I'm one of the guys in the running."

The Dolphins received permission last week to speak with the 55-year-old Gailey after Saban returned to the college ranks last week, giving up the final three years of a contract that paid him $4.5 million annually to take the head coaching job at Alabama.


For Calvin Johnson, this was a no-brainer. Georgia Tech's star receiver announced Monday that he will give up his senior season to enter the NFL draft, fully aware that he should be one of the top players selected.

Even his parents, who are adamant that he get his college degree, knew there was no use putting off the pros any longer.

"It's one of those situations where he's got to maximize the moment," Calvin Johnson Sr. said. "These opportunities don't come along very often. He made the right decision for himself. He didn't feel a lot of pressure from us."

· Miami Hurricanes outside linebacker Jon Beason has decided to skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Beason led the Hurricanes with 91 tackles this season. He's projected to be taken in the first three rounds of the April draft.

· Alan Branch is skipping his senior season at Michigan to enter the NFL draft, delivering a blow to the Wolverines a week after they lost the Rose Bowl. The 6-foot-6, 311-pound defensive tackle, a second-team All-American, is projected as a first-round pick in April's draft. "It's always been a childhood dream for me, but it was surprising how tough of a decision it was," Branch said Monday.

JaMarcus Russell will announce Wednesday whether he is entering the NFL draft.

· LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette said Monday that university officials were helping Russell set up the announcement, but labeled as "premature" recent reports that the quarterback had already decided to turn pro.


Several Southern California players who were close to Mario Danelo are convinced the Trojans kicker's death was an accident, not suicide.

"I know Mario, he was someone who always cherished life," offensive lineman Matt Spanos said Monday after a somber team meeting — the first since Danelo died over the weekend.

"Obviously an accident," guard Drew Radovich said. "I was fortunate to live with him for 2 years. There was never a sign of him being depressed. He was always loving life. There's no way he could have committed suicide — no way."

Danelo's body was found Saturday about 120 feet down a rocky cliff in San Pedro, not far from the family home, police said. Foul play has been ruled out.

"There's no crime," Los Angeles Police Dept. officer Mike Lopez said Sunday. "It was either an accident or a suicide."

An autopsy was performed on Danelo on Monday, and the coroner's office said it could be six to eight weeks before the cause of death is determined.


The Las Vegas All-American Classic, set for next week, was canceled because of problems with financing and sponsorship.

The game, showcasing East versus West college football all-stars, was scheduled for Jan. 15 and would have been televised on the NFL Network.

"We're disappointed it was canceled with such short notice," Seth Palansky, spokesman for the network, said Monday.

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