There was a little vintage Jimbo Fisher unplugged, complete with some one-liners and a few stories.
What coaches also got was Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher plugged in and doing what he does best — talking fast to make sure he could talk about as much offense as possible.
“I hope I didn’t go too fast,” Fisher said afterward. “Call me any time. I’ll be happy to get you whatever you need.”
Fisher was scheduled to do two 50-minute sessions to help close out the Louisiana High School Coaches Association’s annual Coaches Clinic on Thursday morning at the Crowne Plaza.
With permission from the coaches, Fisher called an audible. He talked offense for more than two straight hours. There was no break as Fisher got into a rhythm transitioning from film clips to dry-erase board where he diagrammed plays.
Several coaches asked questions, including one of his former players, ex-LSU quarterback Marcus Randall, now the first-year head football coach at Southern Lab.
At one point Fisher glanced in Randall’s direction and said, “Receivers … they mess everything up. The quarterback is always right.” The exchange elicited more than a few smiles around the room.
Fisher also recalled plays and other players from his tenure at LSU from 2000-2006 during his first trip back to Baton Rouge since leaving for FSU.
Afterward, Randall and many others came up and posed for pictures with Fisher.
“I have an unbelievable tremendous amount of respect for the state of Louisiana, the coaches association and the players,” Fisher said. “There’s just so many fond memories. LSU is a very special place, a very special place for me and my family. It was tremendous to be able to come back.”
Fisher told the media he still follows LSU and pulls for LSU. He said he thinks Les Miles is a tremendous coach.
He talked about Louisiana’s talent-rich football tradition and recalled picking up on Randall, a Glen Oaks standout, as a recruit while watching film of former Tulane and NFL running back Mewelde Moore, who prepped at Belaire. Fisher told the group the Tigers found future NFL defensive back Corey Webster of St. James much the same way.
As Fisher reviewed plays from Florida State games from the past couple of years, Randall and others in the audience recalled the game and score when the play happened.
While detailing a play against Louisville that led to touchdown pass last season, Fisher provided a little insight about his teaching process with Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, now of the Tampa Bay Bucs.
“He got a touchdown and a butt-chewing on that one,” Fisher said, noting that Winston forced the ball between two defenders who luckily had their backs turned.
Fisher’s roots in teaching include his mother Gloria, a high school teacher in Clarksburg, West Virginia. So it was natural for him to ask the coaches in the audience to respond to his teaching points.
Fisher also handled the nonfootball issues with ease. Two days after ESPN published a story in which Fisher took the blame for FSU’s recent off-the-field issues — the dismissal of two players, quarterback De’Andre Johnson and running back Dalvin Cook for domestic violence issues — he spoke candidly.
“Everything kids do is magnified today because of social media, but it should be,” Fisher said. “When you’re in a high-profile program you have to understand this as a player and a person.
“You have to be able to manage it. We’re not playing kids four years any more. As redshirt juniors and sophomores they’re gone to the NFL. The physicality comes earlier and I think we’re putting kids in situations they’re not ready for maturity-wise.
“So we have to do a better job of educating them and putting programs in place to ensure they make the right decisions. One mistake can cost you a future. That’s a big lesson for all of us.”
Offense and insight, all in one Fisher audible.