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Florida State football coaching search: Who you should watch this weekend

Plus some growth at USF and some stunning, scary stats on Florida’s opponent, Missouri.
Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins is doused after his team beat Boston College last weekend on the road. [BILL SIKES  |  AP]
Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins is doused after his team beat Boston College last weekend on the road. [BILL SIKES | AP]
Published Nov. 14
Updated Nov. 15

Four coaches FSU fans should watch

Because Bob Stoops isn’t strolling the sidelines this weekend…

1. Mike Norvell, Memphis: The hottest up-and-comer already has more wins (34) than any coach in program history had through four seasons. His fun offense has a good shot at No. 35 at Houston.

2. Mark Stoops, Kentucky: Watch how the other Stoops deals with a banged-up quarterback position against Vanderbilt, a game the Wildcats probably need to win to qualify for a bowl.

3. Odell Haggins, Florida State: The two-time interim coach will likely improve to 4-Odell by blowing out Alabama State and has players’ support. Would an upset over the Gators on Nov. 30 be enough to put him on the short list?

4. Deion Sanders: Ha ha, just kidding.

RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit has three criteria for FSU’s next coach. Who checks those boxes?

Bulls’ big steps

One undeniable positive for USF: The Bulls’ third-down offense is improving. Over the past five games, the Bulls have converted on 35 of their 70 opportunities. That’s massive growth from their first four games (19-of-61). USF will need to take advantage of every chance it gets to upset No. 17 Cincinnati, one of the top contenders for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

RELATED: Late arriving to USF football games? You aren’t missing much

Nasty Nasirildeen

Florida State safety Hamsah Nasirildeen’s 22-tackle game at Wake Forest was just his latest big game. Add in his 17-tackle game against Syracuse, and he’s the first Seminole since Marvin Jones (1990) to have multiple 17-tackle games in the same season. His 85 tackles this season are 32 more than any other FSU player.

RELATED: Trio of Big Ten teams with Tampa Bay rooting interests

Hit and Miss-ouri

Missouri coach Barry Odom coaches against Georgia Nov. 9 in Athens, Ga. [JOHN AMIS | AP]

The Tigers are a completely different team in Columbia than they are on the road, as the No. 11 Gators will learn today:

Missouri at home

Record: 4-0

Points per game: 40.4 (22nd nationally)

Points allowed per game: 11.6 (T-11th)

Yards per play: 6.22 (59th)

Yards per play allowed: 3.58 (fifth)

Missouri away from home

Record: 0-4

Points per game: 13.0 (121st nationally)

Points allowed per game: 28.5 (T-53rd)

Yards per play: 4.75 (100th)

Yards per play allowed: 5.80 (51st)

RELATED: What will the Florida Gators’ quarterback room look like in 2020?

By the numbers: Week 12

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh during the third quarter of the win over Notre Dame earlier this season. [TONY DING | AP]

2-6 Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s record against rivals Michigan State and Ohio State heading into Saturday’s game against the Spartans

43-10 Harbaugh’s record against everyone else

6 Teams yet to allow more than 24 points in a game: Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio State and San Diego State

3 USF transfers at Alabama State (defensive backs Naytron Culpepper and Donelle Thomas and Hillsborough High product Duran Bell)

182 Rushing yards needed by FSU’s Cam Akers to pass Larry Key (2,953) for fifth-most in program history

1978 The last time Navy won six consecutive games in the same season, which it can do by beating the Irish

RELATED: Are Willie Taggart, Chad Morris firings college football’s new normal?


  1. New FAU coach Willie Taggart faces one of his old teams, USF, on Sept. 26, 2020 in Boca Raton. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [JONES, OCTAVIO  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    He moves to his fourth program in the past 36 months. Adding intrigue to the hire, FAU hosts USF in 2020.
  2. LSU players celebrate after the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Atlanta. LSU won 37-10. [JOHN BAZEMORE  |  AP]
    “Members of Congress care about college sports. They recognize how important it is to American society."
  3. Florida State Seminoles fans cheer during player intros before the Florida State Seminoles game against the Boise State Broncos at Doak Campbell Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Tallahassee, Florida.  [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The four-star recruit would be a big loss for the Seminoles’ 2020 recruiting class.
  4. Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell speaks at a news conference Sunday. [PHIL SEARS  |  AP]
    His Seminoles demands will keep him from leading the Tigers in the Cotton Bowl.
  5. Florida State football coach Mike Norvell speaks at a news conference Sunday in Tallahassee. Norvell is Florida State's new coach, taking over a Seminoles program that has struggled while he was helping to build Memphis into a Group of Five power. [PHIL SEARS  |  AP]
    Athletic director David Coburn said he thought the midseason move would give FSU a significant advantage. He was right.
  6. Florida State guard Sammie Puisis, seen in a game against LSU last month, has 17 points against Clemson. [TYLER KAUFMAN  |  AP]
    The Seminoles are 9-0 for the second time in three seasons.
  7. Florida State's Nathaniel Jack, center, and teammates flash 3s late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Clemson in Tallahassee, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Florida State defeated Clemson 72-53. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser) [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    The Seminoles make 15 3-pointers after having 11 in their three previous games combined.
  8. FSU interim coach Odell Haggins said Sunday he'll lead the 'Noles through the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl, with new coach Mike Norvell alongside him. (AP Photo/John Raoux) [JOHN RAOUX  |  AP]
    FSU’s interim coach said the ‘Noles’ new coach will be ‘right out there with me’ in bowl preparations
  9. Running back DeeJay Dallas (13) and Miami will spend bowl season in Shreveport, La., for the Independence Bowl. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    Starting Dec. 20, there is almost a full month of couch potato fun ahead if you love college football.
  10. Florida State new head football coach Mike Norvell, wife Maria and 5-year-old daughter Mila are introduced during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Clemson in Tallahassee on Sunday. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    Florida State’s new coach has a lot in common with its old one, but the differences will be vital to the Seminoles’ success.