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FSU football coaching search: Monday morning update

The field at Doak Campbell Stadium is getting painted. As for the field of coaching candidates...
Osceola and Renegade on the field during the Florida State season opener vs. Boise State on Aug. 31. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Osceola and Renegade on the field during the Florida State season opener vs. Boise State on Aug. 31. [MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Dec. 2, 2019

Finally, there appears to be some movement at Florida State. The Seminoles are painting the field at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Yes, really. That qualifies for news in a hush-hush coaching search that is entering its fifth week. FSU, presumably, is preparing for the arrival of its next coach. Whoever that guy is.

I’m hearing the same names most others are: Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Penn State’s James Franklin and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly (in no particular order). There’s still some Bob Stoops speculation (Stoopsulation, because I never came up with a better name for it) floating around, but I’m still highly, highly skeptical the former Oklahoma coach takes over the Seminoles.

Although lack of reportable information can be frustrating for fans, it’s not a bad thing at all. Neither is the fact that the search is still ongoing. The season ended Saturday for most teams, and most deals take more than 24 hours to come together. It took two days from the end of Dan Mullen’s 2017 season until he got offered the job at Florida, even though he was a known commodity in Gainesville and had previously coached under athletic director Scott Stricklin.

To the extent that there was news Sunday, it was mostly good for FSU. Clay Helton remains USC’s coach (as of Monday morning). That means the Seminoles are still the top open job on the market.

RELATED: Which is the better job: Florida State or USC?

Some other Power Five jobs have come open (Ole Miss and Boston College on Sunday, Missouri on Saturday and Arkansas last month), but FSU is a more attractive opening than all of them. Although there could be some overlap with some potential targets like Norvell, those candidate pools are largely different than the one in Tallahassee. Same with USF, which fired Charlie Strong on Sunday.

FSU fans should hope the Bulls end up hiring former Seminoles and USF coach Willie Taggart. His initial agreement with FSU calls for an offset if he gets another job, so his $18 million buyout could shrink if he does come back to Tampa. That’s all subject to negotiations and potential litigation, of course.

RELATED: Who replaces Charlie Strong at USF? Here’s our list of possible (and impossible) candidates

We’ll know more about USF’s potential timetable later today. Until then, I don’t think much has changed with the one at FSU. I still expect a decision and announcement in the next few days.

Check back later for updates. It’ll be entertaining than watching paint dry.


  1. Former USF quarterback Quinton Flowers is on the opening-day 52-man roster for the XFL's Tampa Bay Vipers. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Plant High’s Aaron Murray and Wharton High’s Chase Litton join USF’s career total yardage leader in the quarterback room.
  2. Jan. 22• Florida State Seminoles
    We'll know a lot about the 2020 Florida State team after their first five games of the season. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    FSU could be in for a rocky start to the Mike Norvell era, and why Nov. 7 could be a big day in the state.
  3. Jan. 22• Florida State Seminoles
    The Miami Hurricanes mascot Sebastian the Ibis cheers during last season's opener against Florida at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]
    Manny Diaz’s Hurricanes will host Florida State and potential top-25 North Carolina.
  4. Jan. 22• Florida State Seminoles
    Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell speaks at a news conference Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. 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]
    The Mike Norvell era opens in Atlanta against West Virginia and includes trips to Louisville and Miami.
  5. Houston Cougars quarterback D'Eriq King (4) starts his touchdown running play during the fourth quarter of a 2017 game between USF and Houston at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The score put the Cougars into the lead and eventually won the game. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The U added a lot of transfers last year and still went 6-7. Manny Diaz can’t afford a repeat.
  6. Florida State guard M.J. Walker tries to block the shot of Miami guard Dejan Vasiljevic during the second half of their game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
    FSU forces 24 turnovers and storms back from a nine-point deficit for its ninth consecutive victory.
  7. Florida State forward Malik Osborne dances with his teammates during player introductions before their game against Virginia on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Tallahassee. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    Florida State, in a three-way tie atop the ACC standings, goes on the road Saturday in search of its ninth straight victory.
  8. Miami LB Shaquille Quarterman (55) during drills for the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field on Monday. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    “They don’t yet have the mentality of a Miami Hurricane,” the linebacker says during the days leading up to the East-West Shrine Game.
  9. Former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was considered the front-runner for the Florida State job after Willie Taggart was fired. Instead, Stoops stayed with the XFL. [TONY GUTIERREZ  |  AP]
    “The’s amazing," Seminoles AD David Coburn said of fan reactions. We read the emails. They are amazing.
  10. Florida State guard Anthony Polite and Virginia guard Braxton Key react to Polite's 3-point shot during the second half of their game Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Tallahassee. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    FSU forces 18 turnovers in a stellar defensive effort to take down the defending national champion.