Louisiana-Monroe’s quarterback room will have one fewer experienced voice heading into the 2018 offseason.
As is ofttimes the case these days, Garrett Smith took to Twitter to announce that, “after much consideration,” he has decided to transfer from the ULM football program. Smith stated he’s already been granted a release from his scholarship; what restrictions were placed on that release are unknown.
Smith will not leave the school until he graduates in May. As a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible at another FBS if that’s the direction in which he wants to head. Additionally, he’ll have two years of eligibility to use.
After redshirting as a true freshman in 2014, he started the first 10 games of the 2015 season before being sidelined for the remainder of the year by injury. Injuries again derailed Smith’s 2016 campaign, this time halfway through the year. That allowed Caleb Evans to take hold of the job, which he didn’t relinquish this season.
A sophomore, Evans put up one of the most statistically prolific passing seasons in Warhawks history. Evans’ age and production likely played a significant role in Smith’s decision to transfer.
Smith finishes his ULM career with 3,854 yards passing, 31 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. He also ran for another 632 yards and five touchdowns. All told, he started 17 games during his time with the Warhawks.
After a week of speculation culminated in their head coach deserting them for another job — and a history-making contract — Florida State still had a game to left play that would determine whether their nation’s longest bowl streak would continue. And, to the credit of the players and the remainder of the coaching staff, they proved to be up to what was a very challenging situation.
Playing in front of a very sparse crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee…
… FSU jumped on Louisiana-Monroe (4-8) early and never looked back, cruising to a convincing 42-10 win over the Sun Belt school. This game had originally been scheduled for Week 2 but was canceled because of Hurricane Irma; because of its importance to FSU’s postseason, the contest was subsequently rescheduled.
With the win, the Seminoles moved to 6-6 on the season and became bowl-eligible. Had they lost this game, or any of their last three games for that matter, FSU would’ve gone bowl-less for the first time since the 1981 season. Instead, they’ll extend their bowl streak to 36 in a row, the best such streak in the country.
A significant portion of the credit for the win would have to go to Odell Haggins, the longtime defensive line coach who was named interim head coach when Jimbo Fisher left for the Texas A&M job Friday. The players could’ve just gone through the motions Saturday afternoon, especially in front of such a sparse crowd; Haggins and the other assistants from Fisher’s staff didn’t allow it as the offense put up 504 yards of offense while the defense limited the Warhawks to just 1.7 yards per carry.
Of the Seminoles’ 302 yards rushing — they averaged nearly 7.0 yards per carry — Jacques Patrick accounted for 155 of them on just 19 attempts. Cam Akers chipped in another 117 and a pair of rushing touchdowns to match Patrick’s two. All told, the ‘Noles had five touchdowns on the ground.
In a perfect world for some, Jimbo Fisher has already been introduced as the next Texas A&M head coach and Florida State is formally beginning their search for a new face of the program. This is not a perfect world however and the dance between the Aggies and the head coach of the Seminoles appears like it will continue for a few more days.
Fisher reiterated on Thursday evening to reporters that he would indeed be coaching his current FSU team on Saturday as they look to make a bowl game against Louisiana-Monroe, according to the Tallahassee Democrat, and is not planning an early exit from the school despite numerous reports suggesting just that.
“We’re trying to finish the season,” Fisher said. “We’re trying to win the game and get to a bowl game.”
The 52-year-old has been coy about his future despite all indications being that he will soon take over at Texas A&M for the recently fired Kevin Sumlin. Should he do that — as many expect him to at this point — he will become just the fourth head coach to win a national title at a school and then depart for another job according to Associated Press reporter Ralph Russo.
While nothing formal has been agreed to based on reports, the groundwork is being laid by the Aggies to bring Fisher onboard — possibly as early as Sunday. The school’s board of trustees held a nearly three-hour private session on Thursday in College Station with A&M athletic director Scott Woodward and it seems like it’s all but a formality before a press conference happens next week.
Jimbo-to-A&M has been one of the worst kept secrets in college football the past several weeks and recent actions on both sides suggest a move is forthcoming as soon as Florida State wraps up their season on Saturday. While the process probably hasn’t played out as cleanly as some would like in either Texas or in Tallahassee, the good news is it looks like things are coming to an end shortly and the Aggies in particular are looking like they are moving at lightning speed to find a coach compared to others (cough, Tennessee, cough) in college football.
Florida State’s long-shot postseason ambitions officially received a shot in the arm.
Because of Hurricane Irma, it was announced in early September that FSU’s Week 2 game against Louisiana-Monroe in Tallahassee had been outright canceled. However, there had been increasing talk of late, coinciding with FSU’s dwindling bowl hopes, that the game could be rescheduled and played this season; last week, it was reported that an official decision on that game would be made this week.
Tuesday, FSU announced that the game with ULM will be played Dec. 2 at Doak Campbell Stadium. Kickoff for the game in Tallahassee is set for noon ET.
“I appreciate the efforts of our administration as well as the administration and Coach Viator at ULM to get this game rescheduled,” head coach Jimbo Fisher said in a statement. “It was unfortunate for both teams that we were not able to play this game in September, and both teams deserve the chance to play their 12th game of the season. Anytime we have the opportunity to play in Doak Campbell Stadium in front of our fans we are excited. However, this week our complete focus is on Clemson.”
Prior to rescheduling the ULM game, FSU needed to win its final three games to become bowl-eligible. At 3-5, the Seminoles now need to win three of their last four games to avoid going bowl-less for the first time since 1981. This weekend, they will travel to ACC rival Clemson before hosting FCS Delaware and then heading to Gainesville for what would’ve been the regular-season finale against in-state rival Florida.
At 35 in a row, the Seminoles currently have the nation’s longest bowl streak.
Florida State needs to catch a break any way it can in extending its bowl streak, and the path for one of those breaks could be paved next week.
Because of Hurricane Irma, it was announced in early September that Florida State’s Week 2 game against Louisiana-Monroe in Tallahassee had been outright canceled. However, there’s been increasing talk of late, coinciding with FSU’s dwindling bowl hopes, that the game could be rescheduled and played this season.
FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox confirmed Wednesday that a decision on whether or not to play the game will be made at some point next week, the Orlando Sentinel reported. If the game is played, it will take place on Dec. 2 at Doak Campbell Stadium.
There could be one sticking point, however. From the Sentinel:
But a local event — The Winter Festival, scheduled from 3-10 p.m. on the same day in downtown Tallahassee — has complicated logistical plans to have law enforcement in place for the football game.
“We have to work with a lot of folks to make sure everything will be in place to be able to do it,” Wilcox said. “That’s a part of all this.
At 2-5, FSU needs to win its last four currently-scheduled games in order to avoid missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 1981. Left on the schedule? Home games against much-improved Syracuse and FCS Delaware State, road trips to a pair of rivals — No. 7 Clemson and a Florida team that’s already fired its head coach.
Rescheduling the game against a 3-5 ULM team would mean that FSU would “only” need to win four of its last five to qualify for a bowl bid.