We all know the current lay of the land: Miami beat FSU 27-10 and then Noles HC Willie Taggart got fired the next day. That win was Miami’s 3rd consecutive victory over the rival Noles. (I know you know that, but it’s always nice to say that)
Since Taggart’s firing, pretty much everyone in the world of sports has had an opinion or insight or “heard things” about who FSU is going to hire to replace Taggart and lead the Noles’ program moving forward. I could sit here and debate the merits of Bob Stoops or Odell Haggins or Mike Stoops or Mike Norvell or Matt Campbell or any other coach that FSU could hire. Do a T-chart. Positives and negatives. All that. But instead of doing that I have something to tell you:
Florida State doesn’t scare me.
That’s a Bob Stoops-led FSU. That’s a Mike Norvell coached Seminoles team. That’s anybody out there that FSU could hire. They. Don’t. Scare. Me.
Florida State was once — very recently — a juggernaut. Under Jimbo Fisher, the Noles were a recruiting and performing monster. Their success was largely buoyed by 2 generational talents — QB Jameis Winston and RB Dalvin Cook — and FSU struck while the iron was hot to win a National Championship and routinely ruin Miami’s season.
Florida State also had incredible success over nearly 40 years with 2 coaches: Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher. And, in their 3 championship seasons they had generational talents at QB: Heisman winners Charlie Ward, 28 year old Chris Weinke after his baseball career flamed out, and Jameis Winston. What’s the likelihood that repeats itself with a new coach in Tallahassee? Probably pretty low.
And, even with Bowden at the helm (not Fisher because Miami never beat FSU — although we should have a few couple times — when he was the coach), several GREAT Florida State teams had their championship aspirations ruined because they couldn’t beat Miami. You love to see it.
Returning to the present, FSU is not that team, that monster, that juggernaut, anymore. They’re not an unbeatable opponent. They’re not the recruiting factory getting top 5 classes yearly to load the roster with an overwhelming amount of talent. They’re not any of that.
And they don’t scare me.
The main thing in any year, and I’ve said this for YEARS even when Al Golden was Miami’s coach (and before, but I wasn’t blogging then), is that Miami has to do what Miami has to do. That means recruiting the way that fits our program. Playing the style and to the standard of excellence we have. Worrying about and controlling the things that Miami can control. And, with very few exceptions, when Miami handles their business, the Canes have been good and have also beaten Florida State along the way.
With Manny Diaz as HC and a solid staff surrounding him — look at the performance and development this season, it’s true — I’m more confident in the stewardship and direction of the Canes program than I’ve been in a long time. Not only is this a talented roster, it’s young (50 of 75 scholarship players are freshmen or sophomores) with plenty of room to grow. Diaz is installing a never quit, tenacious mentality across the entire team (not just the defense he ran to great success) and that’s paying dividends. And with that focus on the development and future for Miami, I have no room to think about, let alone be scared of, what Florida State is going to do for their coaching situation.
Unlike some, I fully expect Miami-FSU to be a battle EVERY YEAR. Coaches, players, announcers, journalists, and fans have all correctly stated for eons that Miami-FSU is a DIFFERENT game than other games, and each team brings their best when the rivals play. That won’t change. That’s never going to change. And while FSU is a tough opponent, and will be a tough opponent, the Seminoles didn’t scare me when they had Winston and Cook, and they damn sure don’t scare me now.
If I were scared, I would be incessantly checking the reports for FSU coaching search news. evaluating the potential choices, and thinking about the implications. But I don’t care. My focus is on the Miami Hurricanes, our roster, our coaching staff, and our recruiting efforts, our player development, and the way we can get and be better moving forward.
So go ahead, FSU; Hire whoever you want. Stoops. Stoops. Haggins. Norvell. Campbell. Other.
But you don’t scare me and instead of me thinking about how Miami is going to deal with who you hire, you should be thinking about how your team is gonna deal with The U.