Seven months removed from winning a national title, Jimbo Fisher will not allow complacency to set in.
But as he begins his fifth year as Florida State's head coach, there is some comfort in realizing what has been accomplished and how far the program has come.
FSU returns to remodeled locker rooms and coaches' offices as well as a plush, new residence hall that will house freshmen and sophomores. Those improvements, as well as the opening of the indoor practice facility in August 2013, indicate a significant financial commitment by boosters to fulfill Fisher's vision for the program.
FSU was a dynasty under legendary coach Bobby Bowden, finishing in the top four in the Associated Press poll for 14 straight seasons (1987-2000). There were national titles in 1993 and 1999, but FSU's last ACC title under Bowden came in 2005 and the program began to slide. Bowden hired Fisher to re-energize the offense in 2007, and Fisher was named head-coach-in-waiting the next year.
Since taking over for Bowden at the start of the 2010 season, Fisher is 45-10. There have been growing pains, of course, but there have also been back-to-back ACC titles and a national title. Under Fisher, FSU is 4-0 against Miami, 3-1 against Florida and has won 14 straight ACC games.
''We wanted to have a culture that expected to be great,'' Fisher said on Monday afternoon. ''It's easy to expect to be great. It's easy to say, 'I want to do this.' But to put the pieces in place… We're getting there.''
|FSU yearly records under Jimbo Fisher|
|Year||Overall record||ACC record|
|FSU media guides|
The Seminoles returned to the practice field on Monday afternoon for the first of three weeks of preseason practice. Then the fun begins as FSU begins game-week preparation for the season opener against Oklahoma State on Aug. 30 in Arlington, Texas.
On Monday, a reporter asked Fisher how FSU can improve on 2013. It was tough enough to go 14-0, but FSU will need to go 15-0, including a pair of wins in the playoffs. To Fisher, though, wins are just part of the equation, not every piece of the puzzle.
"It's not about the record," Fisher said. "It's about the program. How it improves our people… Your record, as they saw, is who you are. But you can still improve in so many ways and not have won every game. That's our goal and that's what we plan on doing, but at the same time, it's about the culture in which you create and the people in which you develop."
Fisher acknowledged that there are a number of position battles that need to be settled but said he is confident in the team's abilities and leadership.
''We have a very good team. I love our team,'' Fisher said. ''We still have warts like everybody else. We have to develop depth at certain places, we have to develop starters at certain places.''
While Fisher has often stated that FSU is not ''defending'' and is instead looking to ''repeat'' as champion, one thing he would like to see carry over from 2013 is the team's chemistry.
''I thought the selflessness of our team and the true cohesiveness of our team was extremely critical [last year], and was one of the best that I had been around,'' Fisher said. ''There's no reason to say that this one can't be, but that has to develop each year.''
Bob Ferrante is the Florida State lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bob on Twitter.