We all know Jimbo Fisher is the guy in Tallahassee now.
Many knew he was the guy over the course of the last three seasons when he took FSU's Offense from a joke to a perennial Top 25 caliber unit.
While Jimbo has primarily focused on his offensive unit and Quarterback play; not much else has really been under Coach Fisher's control—until now.
Pictured are Jimbo's new guys (from left to right).
Defensive Coordinator Mark Stoops (Former Arizona DC), Linebackers Coach Greg Hudson (Former East Carolina DC), Running Backs Coach Eddie Gran (Former Tennessee RB Coach), Quarterbacks Coach Dameyune Craig (Former South Alabama HC), and Defensive Ends Coach Darin Eliot (Former Rice D-Line/Recruiting Coordinator).
With each of these welcome additions comes not only impressive ability on the coaching side of the ball, but experience in grooming some of the most undisciplined players at the College level.
In his time at Arizona, Stoops improved his Defense from the ranks of 86th in 2005, to 49th the following season, 53rd in 2007, 24th in 2008, and 25th in 2009.
For all of this improvement in his time at Arizona, Stoops never had the level of athletic talent around him that Florida State will readily provide.
This should easily help FSU return to a formidable defensive unit, provided Stoops has the right support in place. It is no surprise that Stoops is a coveted coach that will likely only be in Tallahassee a few seasons before he is elevated to the next level.
How do you preemptively prepare for such attrition?
You hire another Defensive Coordinator to be the "DC in waiting."
Enter Greg Hudson from ECU. Rumor has it that Hudson could have, and very nearly did become FSU's next Defensive Coordinator. A Linebacker specialist in his time at places like Notre Dame and Minnesota, Hudson made a name for himself with the Pirates as a work-hard no-nonsense coach who focused on fundamentals over strength and speed.
It should come as no surprise that Hudson was also a coveted coach and was looked at by many big name programs before accepting a reduced role as Linebacker Coach at FSU. A steal by most accounts, Hudson will likely be Stoops replacement following Stoops' three year contract.
This certainly is a change from the old-guard mentality instilled during the Bowden administration where coaches seemed to stay for ages (Andrews), or returned after failing at the next level (Amato).
Fisher is no stranger to the mentality behind success, and preparing for "next year's staff" is always a consideration, just like recruiting or on-field changes.
Rounding out the Defensive newcomers is Darin Eliot. By most accounts, Eliot is being leaned on heavily to be a producer on the recruiting trail more than as a Defensive End Coach.
As Rice's Recruiting Coordinator, a school known more for academics than athletes, Eliot was instrumental in recruiting the talent necessary to get the Owls to their first bowl game in 45 years in 2006, and their first bowl victory since 1954 in the 2008 Texas Bowl.
At Tulsa, Eliot also personally coached DE Nick Bunting to Conference USA's Player of the Year honors. Eliot is no stranger to the main show, having spent time as a graduate assistant to the Secondary and Special Teams with Miami during their last National Championship appearance in 2002.
On the Offensive side of the ball, former Carolina Panthers backup QB and Auburn Tigers Starting QB, Dameyune Craig offers an array of experience as both a player and a coach.
In his professional coaching career, he has spent time under Nick Saban with both the LSU Tigers (alongside Fisher who was the Quarterbacks Coach) and the Miami Dolphins. Craig then left Saban in favor of a position at D-II Tuskeegee, where he coached QBs again, and helped the Golden Tigers to two consecutive SIAC Conference Titles. He then spent a year at South Alabama as the Wide Receivers Coach.
Craig's Offensive understanding and influence in the hotbed of Alabama recruiting will be instrumental in the success of Fisher's newly installed offense.
To compliment this pass attack, Fisher also brought over Running Backs coach Eddie Gran from Tennessee. Gran spent 10 years prior to his time in Tennessee coaching at Auburn.
In his time there, Gran coached Auburn to 8 bowl games, including an undefeated 2004 squad, and mentored the talented likes of Ronnie Brown, Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, Brandon Jacobs, and Kenny Irons—all of whom were responsible for 1,000 plus yard seasons in their time as starter for the Tigers.