Alabama Crimson Tide: Jimbo Fisher


The video is making the rounds across message boards and blogs. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher on camera expressing his desire to have played Alabama in the national championship game this past January.

Wait a minute. Does he know tired banalities are the only accepted language for coaches? A coach actually admitted he preferred one opponent over another?

Possibly.

Late last week, the school posted a YouTube video of Fisher addressing the Seminoles softball team as it began preparations for a Women’s College World Series run. During the nine-minute recording, Fisher said he was “begging” to play an SEC team in the title game. Toward the end, he went even further, saying the hope was it was Alabama.

[+] EnlargeJimbo Fisher
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsJimbo Fisher told the FSU softball team he not only wanted to play an SEC team for the national title but that he hoped it would be Alabama.
“History has no bearing on me. Create your own history. Be the first. I’m glad. I didn’t want to be in the SEC and win the championship. I want to be in the ACC and win one. I wanted to break that mold. We were begging to play an SEC team and we were hoping it was Alabama,” Fisher said on the video.

Before this becomes bulletin board material in Tuscaloosa (and Auburn), let’s pump the brakes some. It is interesting -- groundbreaking? -- Fisher would openly wish for a particular opponent, but it isn’t known whether Fisher knew he was being videotaped with the intention it would later be posted on YouTube. Although he hardly said anything inflammatory, it’s not in Fisher’s nature or best interest to be so candid as to openly admit he was a little let down as Auburn’s Chris Davis marched 100 yards from his own end zone.

He was also trying to motivate the softball team, which has been to seven Women’s College World Series but has yet to win one. It sounds as if Fisher was trying to make the connection of doing something that has not been done in a while -- i.e. beat the SEC, which won seven straight championships -- and to make history by beating the best -- i.e. Alabama, which won three titles between 2009 and 2012.

Regardless of what Fisher’s true intention was, how many of us were thinking the same thing last November? Alabama and Nick Saban’s defensive prowess against Florida State and Fisher’s complex offense run by Heisman winner Jameis Winston. Let’s not forget Fisher orchestrated Saban’s offense at LSU, where the two teamed for a national championship in 2003. That chess match would have been a treat for the true football fanatic.

It probably would have been a showcase of the two most talented teams in college football, as well. The only program able to keep pace with Alabama on the recruiting trail the last four cycles is Florida State. The Noles are the only program not named Alabama since 2011 to finish with RecruitingNation’s No. 1 class, and they finished No. 2 in 2012.

The good news is ESPN.com’s panel of experts projects the Tide and Seminoles to square off in the first College Football Playoff final next January, which means you might as well write that in stone.

And if it doesn’t, at least we’ll be able to count Fisher among the rest of us who will be disappointed.

Ranking Nick Saban's coaching tree

December, 11, 2013
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Nick Saban's name is sure to come up in every high-profile coaching job that opens until he decides to retire.

That's just the nature of the business when you've had the kind of success Saban has had with four national championships in the last 11 years.

[+] EnlargeNick Saban
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesAlabama coach Nick Saban has several protégés who are now head coaches, including Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Florida's Will Muschamp and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio.
He won't be playing for a national title this season, but one of his protégés will -- Florida State's Jimbo Fisher.

In fact, it's been an eventful season all the way around for the Saban coaching tree.

Since we're all into power rankings this time of year, let's roll out the power rankings for the Saban coaching tree coming out of this season. In other words, those guys who have coached under Saban at some point in the college ranks and have gone on to be head coaches either in major college football or the NFL.

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State head coach: We'll go with Fisher at No. 1 on this list since he has the No. 1 Seminoles unbeaten and headed to the VIZIO BCS National Championship game to face Auburn. It's their first trip to the national title game since the 2000 season. Fisher is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. His Seminoles have been dominant this season. They've won all 13 of their games by 14 or more points and 12 of their 13 games by 27 or more points. Fisher was Saban's offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-04.

2. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State head coach: Another finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, Dantonio has Michigan State in the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1988 season and led the Spartans to a school-record 12 wins this season. This will be their seventh straight bowl appearance. Dantonio was Saban's secondary coach at Michigan State from 1995-99.

3. Jim McElwain, Colorado State head coach: In his second season at Colorado State, McElwain has the Rams in a bowl game for the first time since the 2008 season. They will face Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl. McElwain was a part of two national championship teams at Alabama under Saban as the Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator from 2008-11.

4. Pat Shurmur, Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator: Now in his first season with the Eagles, Shurmur was the Cleveland Browns head coach from 2011-12. He coached under Saban at Michigan State from 1995-97 as the Spartans' tight ends coach.

5. Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots offensive coordinator: This is McDaniels' second season as the Patriots' offensive coordinator. He was the Denver Broncos' head coach from 2009-10 and was a graduate assistant under Saban at Michigan State in 1999.

6. Will Muschamp, Florida head coach: After a breakthrough second season at Florida and a trip to the Sugar Bowl, Muschamp's Gators suffered through a dismal 4-8 season this year that was marred by a litany of injuries. It was Florida's first losing season since 1979. The Gators lost their last seven games, including a home loss to Georgia Southern. It goes without saying that Year No. 4 will be a critical one for Muschamp, whose Gators have struggled on offense. Muschamp coached under Saban at LSU as the linebackers coach in 2001 and defensive coordinator from 2002-04. He was also Saban's assistant head coach with the Miami Dolphins in 2005.

7. Derek Dooley, Dallas Cowboys receivers coach: Now in his first season with the Cowboys, Dooley was the head coach at Tennessee from 2010-12. The Vols suffered through losing seasons all three years and managed just five SEC wins, leading to Dooley's firing. Dooley was the head coach at Louisiana Tech for three years prior to his stint at Tennessee. He coached under Saban at LSU from 2000-04 as tight ends coach and then running backs coach. From there, he went with Saban to the Miami Dolphins and coached tight ends before getting the Louisiana Tech head job in 2007.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- As the Jimbo Fisher Camp was ending, the coach stood in front of a bunch of prospects in a semicircle. Meanwhile, a five-star talent hung out on the field, talking to a few people and watching what was going on.

The prospect was surrounded by a couple of Florida State commitments in Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) and Trey Marshall (Lake City, Fla./Columbia). When you're Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover), you command that sort of attention from your peers.

ESPN 300 CB names UGA his leader 

July, 8, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia coaching staff is looking for another cornerback in the Class of 2014 to pair with ESPN 300 athlete commit Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County). Its chances improved over the weekend as another ESPN 300 standout Kendall Randolph (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) named the Bulldogs as his leader, followed by Florida State and South Carolina.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- There's a list somewhere inside the walls of the University of Alabama athletic offices with names on it, some we could guess and some that would surely surprise us. In the event that a coaching hire becomes necessary, the list is brought out as a rough outline of prospective candidates for the job. Every athletic department has the same piece of paper with coaches' names on it, and Alabama is no different.

"We keep a good list of what happens if a truck hits somebody," UA athletic director Bill Battle quipped on Monday morning, "because you never know when you're going to need to hire somebody."

Sometimes the truck is a bad season. Sometimes the truck is retirement. Sometimes the truck is simply a vehicle that takes a coach away for one reason or another.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The viewing public wants it, the league commissioner wants it and frankly it's good for the health of the sport as a whole. SEC schools need to improve their nonconference schedules and remove all doubt about any supposed lack of strength of schedule.

With that in mind, TideNation takes a look at 10 nonconference opponents we'd like to see on Alabama's schedule:

Boise State
Last Meeting: N/A

Who wouldn't want to see college football's David vs. Goliath? For the past decade we've watched as Boise State has won game after game on its blue turf, reaching bowl games in the process. And each year we've heard college football fans complain about their schedule. Well, why not change that? Why not put a super power like Alabama on the docket and prove once and for all whether the Smurf turf is anything more than a parlor trick?


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Official Visit: Thomas’ trouble; AU heats up

May, 8, 2013
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NoleNation’s Corey Dowlar talks with Phil Murphy about the latest in Florida State 2013 signee Matthew Thomas' saga, and TideNation's Greg Ostendorf stops by to talk about the impending decisions of ESPN 150 recruits Tre’ Williams and Justin Thornton.

Kerryon Johnson enjoys visit to FSU 

April, 16, 2013
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's efforts to continue building a relationship with one of the top running backs in the state of Alabama, Kerryon Johnson (Madison, Ala./Madison Academy), continued over the weekend.

The 6-foot, 175-pound tailback traveled down the road to the Seminoles' campus to take in their annual Garnet and Gold Game from the recruit section.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Football is a game of imitation. Coaches beg, borrow and steal from one another. In the fraternity, it's a matter of good form, if not outright flattery.

[+] EnlargePatrick Suddes
University of TexasPatrick Suddes, who recently went to Texas as the Longhorns' director of player personnel, is one of several Alabama staffers to leave this offseason.
Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner had no idea his Single-wing look would become the Wildcat offense we know today. He couldn't have known Kentucky would popularize the formation. Arkansas would call it the Wild Hog, Ole Miss the Wild Rebel and Virginia Tech the Wild Turkey; none even slightly distinguishable from the other. What mattered was it worked.

Though the use of the Wildcat has waned in recent years, there was once a time where you couldn't turn on the television without seeing it. High school, college, the NFL; they all followed the movement.

And now, the trend is toward all things Alabama. You can't scan the college football landscape without seeing the influence of the Crimson Tide and their head coach, Nick Saban. After three championships in four years, the sport has stopped wondering "Why them?" and started asking "Why not us, too?"

Whether it's Alabama's offensive scheme, its defensive alignment or the structure of its coaching staff, everyone is after the Tide's secret recipe. It's why year after year programs poach assistant coaches from under Saban's wing. This offseason alone, three position coaches were hired away, two of which took jobs in the NFL.

The University of Texas, spoiled with talent yet thirsting for success, has turned to Tuscaloosa as a roadmap in its return to prominence. Coach Mack Brown, a man who used to set the curve, is trying to catch up in Austin.

Less than a month after watching Alabama nab two top in-state recruits from under his nose -- A'Shawn Robinson and Maurice Smith -- Brown shook up his staff, creating a position for director of player development. With the posting, Brown acknowledged whose lead he was following.

(Read full post)

LB Kain Daub has two out in front 

February, 23, 2013
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ESPN Watch List linebacker Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) is zeroing in on two programs.

A former commitment to LSU, the 6-foot-2, 243-pound linebacker is still looking at the SEC West, but also an ACC program.


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Title in hand, LB Thomas sets visits 

January, 2, 2013
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington) said he wanted to win a state championship before he would deal with his recruitment.


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Adam Rittenberg sits down with junior defensive back Landon Collins to discuss his success this season and his thoughts on Alabama facing Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
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