Florida State will be searching for a new offensive coordinator for the third time in 11 years after Mark Richt accepted the challenge of coaching Georgia.
If coach Bobby Bowden has an idea whom that might be, he's keeping it to himself.
Richt, also Virginia's top choice as coach, accepted the offer from Georgia on Christmas Day and was introduced as coach Tuesday. Bowden said he would wait until after Wednesday's Orange Bowl against Oklahoma before naming a coordinator and probably would use the annual coaches' meeting Jan. 7-10 to talk to candidates.
"A decision probably won't come before the American Football Coaches Association meeting in Atlanta," Bowden said. "I won't have a special date, and I won't get into specifics (about candidates).
"I have some thoughts on what I will do about it. I know I will go very slow on it. I wouldn't be in a hurry to name one. I have peoples, that's plural, in mind."
Bowden may be mum on candidates, but that won't stop the speculation.
If Bowden stays within the staff for Richt's successor, son Jeff would be a candidate. The receivers coach is in his seventh season at FSU and worked under brother Terry at Samford as offensive coordinator. He is credited with developing receivers E.G. Green, Peter Warrick, Kez McCorvey and Snoop Minnis.
Bobby Bowden named longtime assistant Jim Gladden his assistant head coach last season. If he goes down the same path and rewards loyalty over youth, veterans Billy Sexton and Jimmy Heggins would be candidates.
Had Richt's departure taken place three weeks ago, former North Carolina State coach Mike O'Cain would have been a likely choice. But O'Cain, who lost his job as North Carolina's offensive coordinator after the season, was hired by Bowden's son Tommy as quarterbacks coach at Clemson.
The media is sure to mention another Bowden son, Terry, as a possibility. The former Auburn coach works with ABC Sports and lives in Orlando.
Richt's hiring probably kept another coordinator from leaving FSU. If Georgia had hired Southern Mississippi's Jeff Bower, FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews likely would have been a top candidate at Southern Miss, where longtime friend Richard Giannini is athletic director.
NO WORRIES: Bowden shrugged off potential distractions facing his Seminoles as they practiced in Miami for the first time.
FSU must adjust to Richt's departure and the absence of All-America receiver Minnis, dismissed last week for academic reasons.
"I tell you what, if you can't handle distractions nowadays, you ain't going to make it," Bowden said. "It's as simple as that, man, because everybody's got them. Every time I look at the paper, somebody is getting suspended or somebody flunked out or somebody changed jobs. You just have to adjust to it the best you can."
FSU officials flew from Tallahassee to Miami. Many players, including more than a dozen from Miami, arrived at the team hotel by car after spending the holidays with their families. Several players had flights delayed by bad weather and missed the first workout.
Oklahoma arrived Tuesday.
By FSU standards, Bowden plans to keep a relatively tight rein on his players leading up to the game. They won't be allowed to drive. "I don't want them to be able to get in that car and take off to anywhere they want to go," he said.
_ TIMES WIRES