The message sent from Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher after the first day of spring practices in Tallahassee was loud and clear. Florida State may have plenty of talent and potential, but Fisher was not at all happy about the effort he saw on the first day of spring practice, and he let everyone know about it. Now a few days into spring practices, Fisher is still sending a message to his team to ramp up the competition, but he seems to be a bit more pleased about the effort he has seen since his calling out the team’s first practice showing.
“They’re getting there,” Fisher said following Florida State’s third day of spring practices, per The Orlando Sentinel. “I’m going to call it out day by day. It ain’t coach talk, it ain’t ploys. I’m going to call it the way it is is the way it is. You gotta do it every day. The first day was bad, the second day was much better. Today was OK.”
The head coach of the Seminoles may say it isn’t coach speak he is using, but he’s been around long enough to know how this works. He’ll say something publicly, and his players will hear it, or be asked about it. The message comes back in some way, whether Fisher truly intended for it or not. Fisher then went on to make it clear the coaches are responsible for one aspect of the spring, but ultimately it falls on the players now to address what changes they need to make on an individual level.
“You have to have a higher standard. You shouldn’t be making the same mistakes you made last year,” Fisher explained. “You can say it’s coaching, but at the end of the day the player has to make up his mind he wants to do it. You can only coach guys that want to be coached.”
It was at this point Fisher needed to make a quick clarification, which led to another one of the messages being sent by Fisher to his Florida State roster this spring. Be prepared to compete.
“I’m not saying they don’t want to be coached, but when you have players making continual mistakes, some do and some don’t… there has to be a get it done attitude,” Fisher said. “There has to be some urgency to it and the only way to do that is with some competition. Just because you’re coming back don’t mean you’re gonna play.”
Florida State has a number of positions that are in need of some stability heading to the 2016 season, but given the way the program has recruited since Fisher has taken over as head coach, there is reason to believe there is talent ready to step in and take on a key role. The only position thought to be locked up right now is at running back, where Dalvin Cook returns to lead the offense. But there is room for improvement in the passing game at receiver and tight end, not to mention a quarterback competition. Florida State’s secondary appears to be pretty solid, but depth at linebacker and youth on the defensive line are mild concerns this spring.
Of course, this is all relative. Florida State will still likely be one of the top two teams in the ACC when all is said and done. Ending the 2015 season with a loss in a bowl game against Houston can help set the tone this spring for Fisher, as it is a reminder Florida State cannot take anyone lightly (not to discredit Houston, of course). Set the bar high now, and who knows where that can take Florida State in the fall.