TAMPA — For Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, nothing about the transition from assistant to head football coach — even though, in his case, it entails following a legend such as Bobby Bowden — has felt "unnatural." He has long imagined and planned for this moment, this job and all of its responsibilities, which include a goodwill tour of booster clubs. "The big thing is just time management," he said after a private plane ride from Tallahassee, then a drive to Hunter's Green Country Club in New Tampa to mingle with golfers as part of his whirlwind visit here. "That's the biggest adjustment, just making sure you spend enough time with all the different venues in which you have to be in and still be able to coach ball," Fisher, 44, said. But so far, so good." He also found time to talk with the media:
You've gotten a strong reception on the tour so far.
Change brings optimism. Optimism brings hope, and that breeds excitement. The big thing I'm trying to do at all these stops is explain where we're at, what the expectations are and where we think we can be. But understand this, it's going to take both of us. We didn't get in this situation overnight, and you're not going to snap your fingers and say, "Okay, we're going to win." They have to keep coming, if we're winning early or we're not winning. It's going to take their support and our hard work … or we're going to be right back in the situation we started in.
You mentioned at another stop that you're not opposed to playing Florida in the season opener.
I think that's a good thing. I think it's a good kickoff game. As both teams progress and get to where they want to go, playing a conference championship the next game, the emotion that goes into that (is tough). … If we start playing for (league) championships like we're supposed to do, it makes more sense.
Any problem with moving it to a neutral site?
You'd like to keep it home and home, but if you pick two years and go to a neutral site, I don't think that's a bad thing to do either. You promote college football and expand your recruiting base. I don't think that's bad.
Is there any legs to FSU changing its uniform?
They've worn all white in the past. … There's a chance for something like that occasionally, but I'm a traditionalist. I like our uniforms. We've got the best helmet in college football, we've got a great uniform.
How are some of the players who missed the spring recovering from surgeries, such as quarterback EJ Manuel and defensive tackle Moses McCray (Hillsborough High)?
EJ's fine. I saw him before I left. He was working out in the weight room. He's good to go. He's already throwing a softball. May 15, he's released full. Moses was good (too). May 15 for him, too. His shoulder and arm and everything is good. That'll give him a 3½ good months to get ready to go.
As a head coach, you're not allowed to be out seeing prospects this time of the year. How's that going?
It's driving me crazy. I hate it. I think it's the worst rule in college football. I call it, "The Lazy Man's Rule." I think the coaches that voted for it, it's ridiculous. To sit there and be in charge of a program, and you can't go watch a kid practice and watch him play and be able to judge him and see him and promote football, I don't think it's good for college football. I really don't. I wish we could change it back.
It must have been a nice ceremony Friday morning to present school president Eric Barron with a $120,000 check for the general scholarship fund from your winnings from a celebrity golf tournament.
It was a good deal. It's good to give back to the academic world. It's a good message that academics and athletics have to work hand in hand.
Brian Landman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3347.