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Bobby Bowden's worst fear is happening: a Florida State staff overhaul

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden long hoped that the succession plan in place might lessen a dramatic staff overhaul that invariably comes with head coaching changes.

It's not working out that way.

Dexter Carter (RBs) said he, Chuck Amato (LBs), Jody Allen (DEs/special teams) and Todd Stroud (strength and conditioning) were told by Jimbo Fisher they wouldn't be retained after the New Year's Day Gator Bowl, Bowden's finale before he retires after 34 years in Tallahassee.

Mickey Andrews (defensive coordinator), who officially announced his retirement last month, is a fifth coach that Bowden's heir, Fisher, will have to replace.

"That's one reason a head coach like myself always hates to resign because he knows the other coaches might be affected," Bowden said. "But that's the nature of the job. … It hurts Jimbo. It hurts all of us. But that's the way it works."

Fisher has lined up a new RB/special teams coach, Eddie Gran from Tennessee and could land a defensive coordinator any day now, perhaps Sal Sunseri (LBs) from Alabama or Mark Stoops (defensive coordinator/secondary) from Arizona. Bowden's recent advice to Fisher has been simple:

"I said, 'The most important thing is your assistant coaches. You've got to have excellent assistant coaches if you're going to win,' " Bowden said. "That's in his hands, not mine."

A trademark of Bowden's tenure has been staff stability. It didn't start that way, however. When he arrived from West Virginia in January 1976, he interviewed every member of Darrell Mudra's staff and retained Gene McDowell (LBs) and Bob Harbison (OL).

"They have to have free rein," Bowden said of new head coaches. "That's the only way."

GLAD TO BE THERE: Bowden said the Seminoles were "the fortunate ones" to land a spot in the Gator Bowl when other ACC teams had better records, teams that also beat FSU this season.

But he has been on the other side of that situation.

He pointed out that in 1978, when there were 15 bowls, his Seminoles (8-3) were left out of the bowl picture and teams with lesser records had a postseason. If you don't want to go back 31 years, think back one when the Gator opted for Clemson (7-5, 4-4) over FSU (8-4, 5-3), a team the Tigers lost to, to help ensure more overnight visitors and a larger economic impact for Jacksonville.

"I'm just glad to be in the Gator Bowl. We have been very successful there," Bowden said, referring to his 4-0 record in that game. (FSU is 5-0-1 overall.) "What must not happen is our boys not get caught up in what's happening to me. I hope this fanfare doesn't distract from our players' preparation for this game. I don't think it will. I think our coaches will know how to handle that and I'm going to be available in any way I can."

IS LOU HOLTZ WORRIED?: Bowden didn't rule out doing television analysis like many other former coaches, including buddies Lou Holtz and Lee Corso, but it would take a lot of convincing.

"Right now, I'm not interested," he said, adding he'd prefer to give talks at churches and Fellowship of Christian Athletes functions. "I just don't like the attitude that some of them have to take. They have to be critical. That's not my nature. But if they throw enough of that daggum green stuff at you, you've got to take a look at it."

THE LAST WORD: "What will I miss the most? Probably the association with the players and coaches. They're like your children. You like to see them grow. You like to see them do better. You like to try to build a team." — Bowden.

Brian Landman can be reached at landman@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3347. Read his blog at http://blogs.tampabay.com/seminoles

Bobby Bowden's worst fear is happening: a Florida State staff overhaul 12/09/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 7:16pm]
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