TThe dynasty is dead. Maybe it had been for years, but there’s no question any more. The dynasty is dead.
The flames went out long ago, the embers have now died and a cold, steady rain has begun falling. All that’s left as a reminder now is the charcoal scarred ground.
Do you realize Florida State is 3-7 in its last 10 games against BCS conference opponents not named Duke as of late October?
That’s how bad this thing has gotten.
How does it happen? Replace one of the top assistant coaches in college football with your incompetent son and another moron like Daryl Dickey and 11 wins become 7 overnight.
It’s not quite that simple, but it’s close.
When we talk about the incompetent Jeff Bowden, we too often fall into the trap of criticizing his play calling as offensive coordinator. That’s too easy. Player development is the greatest failure.
In 4 years at Florida State, as a starter, quarterback Chris Rix never got one bit better – he may have gotten worse. How is that possible? Rix was one of the most sought after high school QBs in the nation and didn’t progress one iota in college. How is that possible? He came to FSU as a scatterbrained, overly risky, great athlete, turnover machine and that’s what he left the university as. Where was the coaching?
Lorenzo Booker was the top ranked prospect in all of high school football, he hasn’t gotten one bit better while at Florida State. Drew Weatherford, same QB he was last year. DeCody Fagg, Greg Carr, Chris Davis – same inconsistent WRs they’ve always been.
These are profoundly talented players who could have gone anywhere in the country. How come they go to Florida State and don’t get any better? Coaching.
You want to know what good coaching is? Look at what David Cutcliff has done with Eric Ainge this year at Tennessee. Ainge was benched last season and a complete wreck of a player – today, he’s in the top five of all D-1 in passing efficiency, a one year turnaround thanks to coaching.
Look at what Jim Tressel and that staff have made of Troy Smith. Smith was a run first quarterback with “me” issues off the field and a propensity to fumble at the beginning of last season. This year he’s the best QB in college football.
Player development, that’s what FSU misses without Mark Richt more than the play calling. Richt put Danny Kannell in the NFL. Kannell didn’t have near the talent of Rix or Weatherford.
Jeff Bowden’s next huge failure is consistency. The N.C. State game is a perfect example. FSU started the second half with the ball and went 3-and-out. A pathetic excuse for a drive. How does that happen coming out of the locker room?
Next time they get the ball, they go 99 yards and look great. Execution was great, perfect play calling mix between run and pass, risky and safe, you saw some miss direction, some new plays, it was crisp and efficient and there seemed to be an overarching theme and strategy to the drive.
Next drive after that one: 3-and-out. Huh? What happened?
Jeff Bowden happened.
Where is the consistency? Where is the cohesion? What are you trying to accomplish? What is your focus? Imagine how difficult this must be for the players. What’s the theme here, what is the motif, what are we, what are we building towards, where is this all going?
Clearly, Jeff Bowden has no idea.
Player development and consistency, those two failures, more than play calling is why Jeff Bowden (and at the very least QB coach Daryl Dickey) should be removed.
The football program at Florida State is broken, the reason why that has happened is obvious, now there’s just one question to ask: how bad are you going to let it get?
How bad are you going to let it get before you make major staff changes because it’s not working, it hasn’t been working for now a 6th consecutive year and there’s no reason in the world to believe it will magically start working if the status quo is maintained?
That’s the question I’d like to ask Bobby Bowden and Florida State president T.K. Whetherell and FSU athletic director Dave Hart.
How bad are you going to let it get?
Four and five loses have become acceptable, 6, 7, 8 loses... when the Seminoles go 3-9, will someone then admit there’s a problem? That’s were this thing is headed.
Ten wins used to be the absolute expectation at Florida State and it should be. That was the baseline, that’s where you started. A good season was 11, but you were after all 12. Now, hell, now, eight wins is about all you can hope for with the disastrous state of the program in Tallahassee.
How bad are you going to let it get?
How many loses are you willing to accept before changes are made?
How far are you willing to let the program fall?
How much embarrassment can you handle?
How much shame can you put on your fans and university?
This is the sixth year this has happened. This is no longer a blip on the radar screen.
Someone has to be held accountable – and we all know who that is – but no one has the character, the nerve, to look Bobby Bowden in the face and say, “Bobby, what you’ve done for this University and this athletic department is nothing short of made it what it is today, our gratitude and admiration of you will last a hundred years, but if you don’t remove your son – and QB coach Daryl Dickey – from the program, I will, and if you refuse to let me do that, then I’ll ask you to leave as well. Either Jeff goes, or you both go, the choice is yours.”
No one else is willing to say it, so I will. Just because Bobby built it, doesn’t mean he gets to destroy it. Florida State’s problems are easy to figure out. Ever since Mark Richt left for Georgia and Jeff Bowden took over as offensive coordinator and Daryl Dickey took over as quarterback coach, the offense has gone into the tank and become a joke.
Remove Jeff Bowden and Daryl Dickey, hire some actually competent professionals and turn back the clock to the 1990s.
It is that simple. That’s why it’s so damn frustrating.
So if no one else has the nerve to say it, I will.
“Bobby, either Jeff goes, or you both go.”
It’s just that simple.
It’s been six years since Richt left. You’ve had six years to figure this thing out. Fans were incredibly patient for four, got testy after five, but a sixth year of this without any change is asking too much. There will be no seventh year. If you can’t figure something out after six years than you never will.
Six years of “I don’t know.” Six years of “we’re working on it.” Six years of “we’ve had a lot of injuries.” Six years of “next year will be better.” Six years of “look how young our quarterback is.” Six years of “we have to execute better.”
You’re taking advantage of Florida State fans and their loyalty. You’re taking advantage of Seminole fans adoration of you. That’s unfair.
Either Jeff goes, or you both go.
And I’m not saying for a minute that would be an easy conversation, but someone has to say it. Someone outside of Bobby Bowden has to have this program’s best interests in mind because it’s too important to too many people to allow Bobby to run it like his fantasy football team, drafting all his favorite players even if the suck because he likes them.
I’m dead serious about this. I want to give Bobby Bowden the benefit of every doubt because he’s built so many credits up in this relationship.
It’s nice to think back to the Fumblerooskie and 1993 and the comeback against Florida and 1999, but those days are getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror.
There will always be a fondness for those times, but right this minute, the present can be Florida State’s only focus and the present is a shambles.
Florida State is not one of the 25 best teams in the country. It is a middle of the pack team in a bad conference despite a roster full of talent that not 10 other programs in the country wouldn’t happily swap for.
The definitive book on corporate management is “The G.E. Way.” This book details the fundamental strategies General Electric used to become the most successful business on earth. At its core, the G.E. Way is this: face reality and act decisively.
Face reality and act decisively.
The reality is Florida State doesn’t win any more, not at the level it should. The decisive action is to remove Jeff Bowden and Daryl Dickey and, if those in charge aren’t willing to do that, take the removal all the way to the top.
I am fully aware of what I’m proposing, nothing short of the removal of the godfather of the program, the man who built it all, the winningest coach in major college football history, but I am facing reality and acting decisively – will Florida State?
Sadly, I doubt it.