FSU still lacking killer instinct

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher has performed brilliantly when the national cameras come on.

During his tenure, Fisher has never lost to Florida or Miami. He’s won a couple of bowl games against high-quality opponents, and this year, their home victory over Clemson was one of the biggest wins in recent years. It catapulted the Seminoles into the national championship discussion.

Until they struggled against USF, and then lost Saturday night to NC State.

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It’s been a frequent occurrence in past years — FSU gets hyped for the big names on their schedule, but still manages to lose three or four games per year to ACC schools that pounce on the ‘Noles and steal an upset victory. What’s the problem, Jimbo?

I think I have an idea.

This is Jimbo Fisher’s first head coaching job. He’s still learning, and he’s going to make mistakes because it’s his first leading role. He’s still trying to figure out the concept of taking no prisoners and the importance of leaving your foot on the gas pedal, even when it seems like it would be safe to ease off a little. I’m not in practices or press conferences, but when you watch the way he calls plays in games where the Seminoles are heavy favorites, it makes sense. He coaches to avoid losing, rather than rolling into an underdog’s house and beating them to a pulp.

Oregon and Alabama do it the other way; they beat lesser opponents into submission early and often, because wasting time with the little guys is too risky. And they win a lot of games with that blueprint. Fisher would be best suited to follow in the footsteps of his mentor Nick Saban and use his superior talent to blow the doors off teams like NC State, rather than take it easy on them and allow the Wolfpack to fight back and steal an upset victory.

He’s not there yet, but he’s learning on the job. FSU hired a guy with no head coaching experience, and now they need to deal with that. He’s going to make mistakes at very inopportune times, but he should be learning important lessons that will make Florida State Football a better program in the future.

Either that, or he’ll be fired. I understand the ire of fans in Tallahassee because losses like the one Saturday night have happened all too often lately (not all of them were Fisher’s fault — some occurred under the past regime) and they remain extremely painful. He could also seek out an offensive coordinator to call plays, if he doesn’t feel confident in his abilities.

Regardless of his decision, Fisher needs to find a way to start annihilating these sorry teams. I’d prefer the Seminoles were “back” once and for all so I don’t have to hear that conversation anymore.

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