Fisher aims to take FSU back to top


Published: Saturday, January 13, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 13, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE — Jimbo Fisher's ambition may be to become a head football coach, but Florida State's new offensive coordinator said Friday that he intends to follow some sage career advice a man once gave.

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Former LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and QB JaMarcus Russell talk during practice in New Orleans on Dec. 30.

The Associated Press

"He told me 'If you want to be somewhere and you want something, do a great job in the job you have,'" Fisher said at a news conference shortly after arriving on campus.

Fisher said he got that advice nearly 20 years ago from his new boss, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. It was at a passing academy Bowden ran at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., where both once played quarterback many years apart.

"I want to be the offensive coordinator at Florida State, and I'm excited to be here," Fisher said.

It's a job that Fisher, who spent the past seven seasons as a Louisiana State assistant, appeared to have missed out on.

Bowden issued a statement last Saturday withdrawing an offer to Fisher, also then being wooed by Alabama.

Fisher, 41, said there had just been a miscommunication. He said he called Bowden about 20 minutes later. The school announced his hiring Monday.

"I have ultimate trust and belief in the man," Fisher said.

Fisher, a Clarksburg, W.Va., native, has a long history with the Bowden family. He played for one of Bowden's sons, Terry, at Salem College, now Salem International University, in West Virginia. Fisher then transferred to Samford when Terry Bowden got the head coaching job there. He later was on Terry Bowden's staff at Auburn with another Bowden son, Tommy, now Clemson's head coach.

Fisher said he gave very serious consideration to Alabama where he would have been reunited with the Crimson Tide's new head coach, Nick Saban. He had been Fisher's boss at LSU for five seasons.

The lure of working under the winningest coach in major college football was too great to resist, though, Fisher said.

Bowden, 77, has 366 career victories, but the Seminoles have faltered in recent years, going 7-6 last season. Fisher replaces a third Bowden son, Jeff, who announced his resignation two days after Florida State lost 30-0 to Wake Forest.

Fisher will have a dual role as quarterbacks coach, also replacing Daryl Dickey who left that post after last season.

ARKANSAS

Receiver Marcus Monk said he's planning to remain a Razorback.

Monk told The Morning News newspaper in northwest Arkansas he will return for his senior season, and a school spokesman confirmed it.

"Marcus has indicated to coach (Houston) Nutt that he plans on returning," sports information director Kevin Trainor told The Associated Press.

Monk caught 50 passes for 962 yards and a school-record 11 touchdowns last season. He also holds the school record of 24 career touchdown receptions.

TENNESSEE

Starting strong safety Demetrice Morley has been dismissed from the Volunteers, athletic officials said.

The school did not give details, but The Knoxville News Sentinel and The Tennessean in Nashville both reported he had academic issues.

Morley, a sophomore from Miami, started every game but three this past season.

KENTUCKY

Wide receiver Keenan Burton said he would put off his NFL ambitions to return to the Wildcats next season, keeping intact all the key components of the bowl-winning offense.

Burton announced his intentions at a news conference, attended by his family members who drove to Lexington earlier in the day. He said he didn't make up his mind — or tell them — until shortly before the announcement.

"Mentally I was ready, but I could be more ready," he said of the NFL.

Burton led the Wildcats in touchdowns (13), receptions (77), receiving yards (1,036) and all-purpose yards (1,845).

TULSA

Rice's Todd Graham was named the new head coach for the Golden Hurricanes, replacing Steve Kragthorpe with his former defensive coordinator.

Graham ran Kragthorpe's defense for three years at Tulsa before taking the Rice job last year. He turned around the Owls program, taking a team that had been 1-10 in 2005 and leading it to a 7-6 season and its first bowl game in 45 years.

He will take the reins of a resurgent team that went to three bowl games in four years under Kragthorpe.

PENN STATE

Linebacker Dan Connor is passing up a chance to enter the NFL draft to return to school for his senior year.

Connor had 113 tackles, five sacks and three forced fumbles last season.

"We gave it some thought and explored options, but it wasn't what I wanted right now," Connor said Friday in a statement released through the school. "This team is very close to getting some things done and I want to help make it happen."

ALABAMA

Coach Nick Saban hired three assistant coaches, including former Miami Dolphins assistant Bo Davis.

Saban also hired former Houston Texans offensive line coach Steve Marshall, and former Tampa Bay tight ends and assistant special teams coach Ron Middleton.

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