SO MUCH Florida col­lege foot­ball on just one day. Check out these up­com­ing games: UCF at Tem­ple, FSU vs. Delaware State, and FAU tak­ing on FIU.

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Safid Deen Staff Writer

TAL­LA­HAS­SEE – Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher has thor­oughly ex­pe­ri­enced the highs and lows of col­lege foot­ball dur­ing his 30 sea­sons as a coach.

Fisher saw both sides of the spec­trum first­hand as an as­sis­tant un­der Terry Bow­den at Sam­ford and Auburn be­fore he helped Nick Sa­ban mold LSU into a national cham­pion in 2003 and re­built the FSU pro­gram with his own national ti­tle in 2013 af­ter the Bobby Bow­den era.

But this sea­son’s 3-6 cam­paign — hin­dered by a two-week lay­off thanks to Hur­ri­cane Irma in Septem­ber, sea­son-end­ing in­juries to two key starters and poor depth at some po­si­tions — has be­come the worst sea­son of his ca­reer.

Fisher said Mon­day he did not ex­pect this sea­son’s ad­ver­sity to stretch “to the ex­tent it went and to have key peo­ple go away.”

But it has turned into quite a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for

Fisher, whose team needs wins in its fi­nal three games of the reg­u­lar sea­son to ex­tend the na­tion’s long­est bowl streak to 36 years.

Florida State be­gins that pur­suit by host­ing Delaware State (2-8, 2-6 MEAC) on Satur­day at noon in Doak Camp­bell Sta­dium, hop­ing to build on its last win against Syra­cuse Nov. 4 and an en­cour­ag­ing 31-14 loss at Clem­son Satur­day.

“You learn as a coach, too, ev­ery day how you’re go­ing to han­dle it, what goes on and it gives you some­thing to re­vert back to,” Fisher said Mon­day dur­ing his weekly press con­fer­ence.

“Again, the thing I’m the proud­est of is our kids and the fight­ing spirit which they have and the abil­ity to al­low you to keep push­ing them. There’s no doubt. But that’s what life is. You never know what’s around each turn. You’ve got to fig­ure it out and move on.”

The Semi­noles were on the brink of mak­ing things in­ter­est­ing at No. 4 Clem­son last week, af­ter us­ing some trick­ery to get tight end Ryan Izzo free for a 60-yard touch­down and forc­ing a fum­ble on the en­su­ing de­fen­sive drive in what was a 17-14 con­test.

But FSU quar­ter­back James Black­man threw his eighth in­ter­cep­tion of the sea­son on the play af­ter the turnover, de­flat­ing the Semi­noles’ chances for an up­set and morale-boost­ing vic­tory.

A sea­son that has been ham­pered by the loss of quar­ter­back Deon­dre Fran­cois (knee), start­ing of­fen­sive line­man Lan­don Dickerson (foot) and de­pleted depth at re­ceiver has also trans­lated into losses against Alabama, Mi­ami, NC State and Louisville, putting the Semi­noles in a pe­cu­liar po­si­tion to end the sea­son.

“We’re go­ing out there try­ing to win ev­ery sin­gle game. We’re try­ing to win all three,” FSU start­ing of­fen­sive line­man Alec Eberle said.

“… We know there’s a bowl streak, it’s 35 straight and this will be the 36th straight bowl game. We don’t want to ruin that. Of course, it’s in the back of our minds.”

Among the les­sons Fisher has learned this sea­son: the per­sis­tence needed to push a team that has suc­cumbed in late sit­u­a­tions to Mi­ami and Louisville, the pa­tience to guide a true fresh­man quar­ter­back learn­ing his com­plex pro-style of­fense and the de­sire to con­tinue FSU’s win­ning tra­di­tion cul­ti­vated dur­ing the past 40 years.

But FSU’s dropoff can be traced back to the mid­dle of the 2015 sea­son, dur­ing which FSU started 6-0 but has since gone 15-12 against its past 27 Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion op­po­nents.

The Semi­noles’ six losses this sea­son is one shy of the num­ber of de­feats they have suf­fered in the last four sea­sons com­bined.

Fisher may make some wide­spread changes to his as­sis­tant coach­ing staff at sea­son’s end, but in the mean­time hopes the Semi­noles can avoid their first los­ing sea­son since FSU fin­ished 5-6 in Bow­den’s first sea­son in 1976.

“The stan­dards can’t change,” Fisher said. “Stan­dards for suc­cess and what you do, how you prac­tice, the amount of time you put in — the stan­dards don’t change. They are what they are. It takes what it takes.

“That’s why you’ve got to get [the play­ers] to un­der­stand that, and then as coaches, we’ve got to make the ad­just­ments.”


De­spite the ad­ver­sity his team has faced, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has been im­pressed by its re­siliency.

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