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ACC’s newest coaches not that new

July 27, 2010
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Jimbo Fisher walked into the ballroom at the Atlantic Coast Conference media days Monday and immediately reminded everyone of his predecessor.

"Dadgum!" he said, seemingly startled to find some two dozen reporters wanting to talk to him. "This is like a birthday party - everybody's supposed to bring a present.


Bobby Bowden is no longer in charge at Florida State, but sometimes their new head man still sounds like the longtime Seminoles coach. After spending two years as FSU's coach-in-waiting, Fisher doesn't have to wait anymore.

Just as Florida State is Fisher's team now, the Virginia Cavaliers belong to Mike London - a two-time assistant in Charlottesville.

Turns out the ACC's two newest coaches aren't that new to the league.

"Sometimes people say I'm like coach Bowden. Sometimes people say I'm different," said Fisher, who also won a national title with Nick Saban at LSU. "I'm just me. I don't try to look at it that way. People always talk about Coach Bowden and Nick to me. ... Two different styles can be successful, and the thing about both of them, they're their own person. They don't try to be anybody (else) - Nick tries to be Nick, and Bobby always tried to be Bobby.

"And so the greatest lesson I can learn from both of them - Jimbo has to be Jimbo."

That's all the Seminoles wanted him to be in December 2007 when they named him the eventual replacement for the 80-year-old Bowden.

Fisher arrived in Tallahassee, before the '07 season to run the offense, following a successful run at LSU under Saban in which they won the title following the 2003 season, and kept Florida State among the ACC's leaders in total offense, averaging 420.5 yards last season.

Now the Seminoles hope their familiarity with Fisher - and his familiarity with the same Florida State offense he orchestrated in the 1980s at Salem and Samford for Bowden's son Terry - can simplify the transition.

The Seminoles were the preseason pick by media members to win the Atlantic Division despite the handoff from one of the two winningest coaches in Bowl Subdivision history to someone who has been proclaimed a rising star but nevertheless has never been a head coach.

"That's expectations, and that's part of being at Florida State. That's why I wanted the job," Fisher said.

London got the job at Virginia under difference circumstances - he replaced Al Groh, his former boss who was fired after nine seasons. London was Groh's defensive line coach from 2001-04, was his recruiting coordinator for three of those seasons, and after a stint in the NFL, was his defensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007 before Richmond gave him his first head coaching job.

Now that he's back at UVA, he hopes some of his concepts stuck with his players in the months that followed spring practice.



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