Exclusive: FSU coach Jimbo Fisher recalls Darryl Rudolph as supportive, hard-working, family man

 

The father of former FSU star receiver Travis Rudolph was shot and killed on Friday. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher remembers the late Darryl Rudolph, the father of former Seminoles star receiver, Travis Rudolph, as being a hard-working, supportive parent whose children were his life.

“Just great family,” Fisher said today, hours before he was leaving to attend Thursday’s NFL draft in Philadelphia.

“Parents … mom, dad were involved in their kid’s life. They were at everything he did. They supported him. Just a typical, loving, close, very hard-working, blue-collar, just really good family. Raised him tremendously well. A lot of respect from him to them and them to him.

“Their kids were the focal point of their life.”

Darryl Rudolph was killed late Friday while doing handyman work in the backroom of Sugar Daddy’s Adult Cabaret in West Palm Beach. The incident occurred one week before Travis is expected to be selected in the NFL draft. Travis, who was raised in West Palm Beach and starred at Cardinal Newman High School, decided to skip his senior year at FSU and enter the draft after being the Noles’ most productive receiver over the last three years.

Darryl, 55, was struck in the back/neck area by a gunshot from an adjacent room that penetrated the wall. The gun, which law enforcement sources told The Post was a rifle, discharged when a coworker was moving the firearm off a shelf. Darryl was not a full-time employee of the club but was hired occasionally to do handyman jobs.

On Tuesday, Paul Senat, 36, of Lantana was arrested and charged with Darryl’s shooting death by Palm Beach County sheriff’s detectives.

Fisher was with Travis at an on-campus event in the Champions Club on Friday hours before the incident. Travis had left Tallahassee when Fisher attempted to contact him.

“At first you didn’t believe it,” said Fisher, who has spoken with Travis’ mom, Linda. “It was shock. Travis is ready to fulfill his dream (of being drafted). His dad is getting to watch him do it. I had to just sit down for a minute and say ‘Oh my God.’

“Then my thoughts went to him and his wife and everything else, Travis and the family.”

Fisher, who spent time in the Rudolph home when recruiting Travis, said the university is ready to support Travis in any way necessary.

“He’s part of our family and we’ll do everything we can to help,” Fisher said. “Travis is going to have a great career. He’s going to come back and finish his degree. Anything we can humanly do to help them and the family get through a tough time … anything they want us to do and anything we can do.”

Fisher says he is “heartbroken” not only by Darry’s death but the timing. Travis, 21, concludes his career seventh in school history with 153 receptions and eighth with 2,311 receiving yards after leading the Seminoles with 56 catches, 840 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns last season.

Rudolph was named second-team All-ACC in 2016 and was one of 11 recipients of the Extraordinary Sportsmanship award at the Musial Awards. Last summer, when visiting a Tallahassee middle school with his teammates, Rudolph spotted an autistic student who was eating alone and sat down and dined with the boy.

Rudolph, 6-foot, 189 pounds, is projected to be taken on the third day of draft, anywhere from the fifth to seventh round. He is ranked anywhere from the 30th to 40th best receiver in the draft.

Fisher believes scouts are putting too much emphasis on his 40 time (4.65) rather than his production.

“He can run the route tree, he has good size,” Fisher said. “He’s not a blazer, but he’s fast. And if you watch, he makes big plays.

“You go back and watch our film, there’s a lot of long touchdown throws and catches and runs after (the catch). Like he did against Florida this year. There’s a lot of plays like that.”

Travis scored on a 46-yard catch-and-run from Deondre Francois that gave FSU a 17-6 lead over the Gators, the 18th and final touchdown reception of his career. The Seminoles went on to a 31-13 victory.

Fisher also praised Travis’ downfield blocking skills and his intelligence.

“He’s a very multi-talented receiver because he can go in and out to catch the ball,” Fisher said. “He’s just a really good athlete and he understands. Travis is really smart.”

Rudolph’s agents sent an email to all NFL teams saying that, despite the tragedy, Rudolph remained intent on pursuing his pro football aspirations.

Are LSU, Florida State set to battle over Jimbo Fisher?

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Florida State fans are experiencing déjà vu as rumors swirl around head coach Jimbo Fisher’s reported interested in the coaching vacancy at LSU.

Following the midseason firing of longtime coach Les Miles, LSU is looking for a premier head coach to replace him, and Jimbo Fisher fits the bill. In his seven years as the head man at Florida State, Fisher has gone 76-17, winning the National Championship in 2013, one year after winning the Orange Bowl.

[Jimbo Fisher, family united in raising money to find a cure for incurable disease affecting their 10-year-old son]

[Fisher considered leaving Florida State after son’s diagnosis]

LSU’s interest in Fisher has been both public and intense, with the 51-year-old serving as LSU’s “dream candidate,” according to SEC Country.  Fisher has ties to the university, having served as offensive coordinator under Nick Saban and, later, Miles himself.

Despite the speculation, some have called the rumors arrogant and insulting to a Florida State program that has returned to national prominence. The Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi added that he believes that “the Florida State job is better than any job in the SEC.”

Others have pointed out some possible reasons Fisher could leave Tallahassee, starting with the Seminoles’ opponents on Saturday. Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times pointed toward the University of Florida’s game-winning goal-line stand against LSU on Nov. 19 as something that may intensify LSU’s pursuit of Fisher, in essence ousting interim coach and potential candidate Ed Orgeron.

Several other factors may play into Fisher’s decision, including his assistant-coach salary pool, LSU’s impressive facilities and aspects that may make recruiting easier for him if he were to change schools, according to Gridiron Now. Fisher’s ability to escape from the recruiting battles with Miami and Florida — not to mention his desire to take on a new challenge — may sway his decision.

It remains to be seen whether Fisher will leave the school that gave him his first head coaching job, and he has expressed previously his desire to remain at FSU. Time will tell where Fisher ends up next fall.

Hurricane Matthew alters Florida State’s travel plans before UM game

Deondre Francois #12 of the Florida State Seminoles talks to his offense before a play during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)
Deondre Francois #12 of the Florida State Seminoles talks to his offense before a play during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)

It’s not as if Miami fans were rolling out the red carpet to begin with, but Hurricane Matthew has made Florida State’s Miami entrance more challenging.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the Florida State football team was planning on arriving in Miami on Thursday in advance of their highly anticipated rivalry matchup with the Miami Hurricanes, but the hurricane has derailed those plans.

Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher announced on Wednesday that the team would likely not travel on Thursday in an attempt to avoid the storm, which made landfall along Florida’s east coast Thursday afternoon and evening and may linger until Friday afternoon.

Despite little threat to Miami-Dade County, the Seminoles are being cautious with their travel plans, pushing back their regular schedule for a Saturday game. Fisher told the Tallahassee Democrat that the team will attempt to travel on Friday instead.

There has been no indication that the game will be postponed or moved, and both universities and their officials continue to monitor Matthew’s movement.

If, for some unforeseen reason, the game does need to be postponed, it would not be the first time a hurricane would have affected a matchup between the two schools. In 2004, Hurricane Frances forced the schools to reschedule their season-opening game from a Monday night to a Friday night.

In that 2004 game, the fifth-ranked Hurricanes defeated the No. 4 Seminoles 16-10 in a game that went to overtime. The game also marked the Miami Hurricanes’ first game as a member of the ACC.

With the win in 2004, the Hurricanes extended their win streak over the Seminoles to six games, the same number of consecutive wins that the Seminoles currently have over the Hurricanes.

Read more at the Tallahassee Democrat.

Despite setback with injury, QB Sean Maguire says he will ‘be there’ for FSU teammates

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By  Ryan  Clark/Warchant.com

TALLAHASSEE — Sean Maguire had his moments of perspective on Sunday, calling his injury “devastating,” but he quickly shifted to how he feels he can still make an impact for the Florida State football team while on the mend. 

The redshirt senior quarterback, who was making his first public comments since learning he will miss four weeks with a broken bone in his right foot, is scheduled to undergo surgery on Monday. 

“The past few days have been devastating for me and my family,” Maguire said Sunday when FSU held its annual Media Day. “I am getting the surgery [Monday], and after tomorrow, it’s all about getting back to 100 percent. That’s really the only thing on my mind.” 

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters Saturday that Maguire sustained the injury on Wednesday, the second day of preseason camp. Maguire said he felt something in his foot but thought it was just his body getting adjusted to practice or it was discomfort caused by new shoes. 

A day later, he said, the pain became unbearable and he knew something was wrong. 

Maguire’s injury comes as he was battling with redshirt freshman Deondre Francois to become the team’s starting quarterback. Fisher still hasn’t confirmed that Francois will be the Seminoles’ starter in their Sept. 5 season opener against Ole Miss, but the redshirt freshman took all the first-team reps at practice Sunday. 

Maguire attended practice with his foot in a protective boot and was seen offering advice to the other quarterbacks. 

“I’m going to be there for them,” Maguire said. “Not just them but for everyone on the team. Still being at practice, still being in the meetings and everything.” 

The Second Verse 

As has become an annual tradition on Media Day, Florida State held its one open practice for fans inside Doak Campbell Stadium on Sunday. 

Only about 1,000 fans were in attendance as thunderstorms skirted past the stadium, but those who did show up saw a show from sophomore wide receiver Nyqwan Murray. The 5-11, 176-pound Orlando product caught numerous touchdown passes and made several tough grabs in traffic. 

“Murray’s legit,” Fisher said. “Has a chance to be a good player if he continues to play with consistency.” 

Injury Report

Junior WR Travis Rudolph was held out of practice with a sore hamstring, and freshman defensive end Brian Burns was also out with a thigh bruise. Senior safety Nate Andrews went down with a pulled calf muscle during the practice. Fisher said all three should be back soon. 

They said it 

“He’s been able to handle himself on the field and off the field, so much better. He’s worked hard. He’s put on weight. He’s got stronger, faster and just basically became the leader of the group in my opinion.” – WRs coach Lawrence Dawsey on junior receiver Travis Rudolph 

“It’s always hard to see your fellow brother go through an injury like this. But this is the game. That’s the way it is. And Sean’s a great guy. So it’s tough for me seeing a fellow quarterback go through a foot injury. You never want that to happen to anyone on the team.” – Redshirt freshman Deondre Francois on fellow QB Sean Maguire’s broken foot. 

“For a minute, it took them a little while to get in the attitude of practice with it being in here (Doak Campbell Stadium). But once they got into it, it was OK. Good points and bad points on both sides of the ball. One side wins, one side loses. That’s what happens when you get to know each other and compete. Good things on both sides and mistakes on both sides.” – FSU coach Jimbo Fisher on Sunday’s open practice.

For more FSU football coverage, visit Warchant.com.

 

Video: FSU coach Jimbo Fisher talks opener, QB depth

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher is amped up for the season opener against Ole Miss in Orlando and likes his four quarterbacks although he wouldn’t name a starter at ACC Media Days on Friday.

[cmg_cinesport url=”http://cinesport.palmbeachpost.com/embed/palm-beach-sports/jimbo-fisher-talks-opener-qb-depth/”%5D

Jimbo Fisher ordered rings for Florida State playing in New Year’s Six bowl, not just winning state title

 

Jimbo Fisher ordered rings for his players following a season in which they played in a New Year's Six bowl as well as won another state championship and won 49 games in four years.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher did not pay attention to the reaction over his players receiving rings for this season accomplishments.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is amused over the social media storm caused when one of his players Tweeted a picture of the ring that was presented to each player.

Stephen Gabbard, who sent out the tweet, wrote: State Champs but were looking for more #GoNoles.

 

Fisher told me today that that rings were not handed out for winning a state title but because FSU rewards its players for major accomplishments, such as playing in a New Year’s Six, or major, bowl game, win or lose that game.

“We got them because we went to a New Year’s Six Bowl, that’s always a goal,” Fisher said. “That wasn’t because we were state champions.”

Fisher also mentioned another 10-win season and his seniors winning 49 games among those accomplishments but said he would not have ordered rings if FSU had not been invited to a New Year’s Six bowl.

Fisher’s reaction to the criticism: “I don’t care. That’s why I don’t have Twitter or go on social media.”

Bobby Bowden has plenty of rings.
Bobby Bowden has plenty of rings.

Under Fisher, FSU players have received rings for winning the 2013 national title and three ACC titles (one of those being 2013). They also have a ring for defeating Notre Dame in the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl.

Bobby Bowden had a similar philosophy. His last team received a ring for winning his final game, the Gator Bowl following the 2009 season.

And although this year’s ring recognizes the Seminoles’ state championship among the Big Three schools (their fifth in six seasons under Fisher), it also lists the 49 wins in the last four years and the Chick Fil a Bowl, a 28-24 loss to Houston.

“If we go to a major bowl we get a ring,” Fisher said.

 

Florida State’s 2011, 2012 recruiting classes were different but historic

 

Florida State’s 2011 recruiting class likely will go down as the greatest in school history, but Jimbo Fisher is just as impressed with the 2012 class.

With the completion of the 2016 draft, the 2011 class is on the books. The final numbers: Of the 29 players signed, nine were drafted into the NFL, eight others signed as undrafted free agents and six more contributed at FSU during their careers.

Jameis Winston was one of seven FSU players from the 2012 recruiting class selected in top three rounds of the NFL draft.
Jameis Winston was one of seven FSU players from the 2012 recruiting class selected in top three rounds of the NFL draft.

That’s 23 hits – of which you could say 19 were impact players – an ungodly percentage when it comes to the inexact science of recruiting.

The class was ranked No. 1 by ESPN and Scout and No. 2 by 247Sports and Rivals.

Chris Nee, the recruiting analyst for 247 Sports, once told the Palm Beach Post that hitting on 50 percent of recruits is typical. And that’s just counting those who contribute, not those who become impact players. He said FSU’s success rate in 2011 was “absurdly high.”

The top end players in the 2011 class:

Kelvin Benjamin (1st round pick), Cornelius Carradine (2), Timmy Jernigan (2), Tre Jackson (4), Devonta Freeman (4), Rashad Greene (5), Karlos Williams (5), Nick O’Leary (6), Bobby Hart (7).

    Others: Jose Matias (FA), James Wilder (FA), Lamarcus Brutus (FA), Nile Lawrence-Stample (FA), Giorgio Newberry (FA), Jacob Coker (FA), Ruben Carter (FA), Austin Barron, Nick Waisome, Keelin Smith, Tyler Hunter.

Then there was 2012. While the 2011 class had the quantity, the 2012 class was much smaller in numbers (19) but even better at the top.

The 2012 class includes seven players selected in the top three rounds and two more who have signed as free agents. Three – including QB Sean Maguire – have not concluded their college careers.

The class had 10 hits, all being impact players, and that does not including Marvin Bracy, who turned professional in track.

The class was ranked No. 2 by ESPN, No. 3 by 247Sports, No. 6 by Rivals and No. 11 by Scout.

“I’d like to see what it is now,” Fisher said. “The percentage is crazy.”

Actually, 36.7 percent of the 2012 class has been drafted, compared to 31 percent of the 2012 class.

The top end players in the 2012 class:

Mario Edwards
Mario Edwards

Jameis Winston (1st round pick), Ronald Darby (2), Eddie Goldman (2), Menelik Watson (2), Mario Edwards (2), Roberto Aguayo (2), P.J. Williams (2).

    Others: Reggie Northrup (FA), Cason Beatty (FA), Sean Maguire, Chris Casher.

“You find a bunch of really good players (in 2011) and the next class you had all the top end guys,” Fisher said.

“You could argue that without a doubt, pure numbers, it’s a hell of a class,” Fisher said of 2011. “It’s still hard not to take the class that has the first pick in the draft and Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards.”

One more thing: Is it any wonder the Seminoles won the 2013 national championship? Take a look at the names and you a huge part of the team that ran the table and brought FSU its third title.

[RELATED: Secondary is FSU’s deepest, most talented unit]

[RELATED: Cook, Johnson, Walker on future NFL stars list]

[RELATED: Florida State to keep its entire staff together for first time in four years]

 

Secondary is Florida State’s deepest/most talented unit

 

 

Derwin James heads a deep and talented secondary for Florida State.
Derwin James heads a deep and talented secondary for Florida State.

With 17 returning starters, Florida State has few holes to fill after losing an interior defensive lineman, two linebackers and two defensive backs.

But Jimbo Fisher has the program in a position where it’s always thinking a year (or two) ahead in its development and able to anticipate the losses, whether two players are drafted (2016) or 11 (2015).

FSU will be in the top five of most preseason polls which means the talent is not lacking. We take a look at that talent from a positional standpoint and rank those units from deepest to weakest.

1. Secondary: Even after losing the fifth overall pick in the draft (Jalen Ramsey), this position is loaded with future NFL players. We start with the most talented player on defense, sophomore Derwin James, who is garnering All-American talk after forging his way into the starting lineup as a true freshman. James showed his athletic ability after taking over at strong safety. He did make freshman mistakes in 2015, especially in games against Georgia Tech and Houston, but he is poised for a breakout season. The group will receive a big boost with the return of Trey Marshall from injury at the nickel, and safety Nate Andrews is back for a fourth year. The only big question mark is who replaces Ramsey opposite cornerback Marquez White. Tarvarus McFadden appears to have the edge. What also separates the secondary is the depth. A lot of programs would like to have talents like Calvin Brewton, Marcus Lewis, A.J. Westbrook and newcomer Levonta Taylor playing every down.

2. Defensive line: This unit shot to the top when DE DeMarcus Walker decided to forgo the draft and return for his senior season. Walker and sophomore Josh Sweat give FSU one of the top end tandems in the country. And the interior isn’t bad either with junior Derrick Nnadi returning after his first year as a starter and Demarcus Christmas ready to replace Nile Lawrence-Stample. Jacob Pugh and Fred Jones provide the primary depth but the position has been hurt by attrition and needs a few more bodies.

Cook
Cook

3. Running back: One player makes this one of the top units on the team (and in the country) but what keeps it from coming in any higher is the uncertainty behind Dalvin Cook. Cook returns after a record-breaking season and seventh place finish in the Heisman voting and the fullback spot is secure with Freddie Stevenson. But what cannot be totally discounted are the nagging injuries that limited Cook last season and what kind of production FSU will get behind Cook. Jacques Patrick showed flashes as a freshman last season and had a great game against Syracuse when Cook was held out because of an ankle injury. Still, at times he was underwhelming. Ryan Green had a solid spring but the running back turned cornerback turned running back has carried the ball six times in the last two years.

4. Receivers/tight end: The numbers – three receivers with at least 57 catches – are impressive but all agree even more was expected. They all return and the 2014 and 2015 stacked recruiting classes are a year older. The position received a huge boost in the spring with the emergence of Auden Tate. I believe he could become the big (as in 6-5) receiver FSU has lacked since Kelvin Benjamin left. Then there was the maturity and improvement Travis Rudolph showed in the spring. All it will take is one or two more of the young players to emerge to go along with veterans Rudolph, Jesus Wilson and Kermit Whitfield and they could be a dynamite group. As for tight end, Ryan Izzo proved more than capable last year and this, too, is a diverse, deep group.

5. Offensive line: Perhaps the biggest mystery on the team. At times the line was solid last season and at times it looked lost. No question the talent is there and, in fact, some of that talent is in the extraordinary depth this group possesses with 20 offensive linemen on scholarship. But beyond LT Rod Johnson (an All-American candidate and projected first round pick in early mock drafts) a lot has to come together. Coaches are confident LG Kareem Are, C Alec Eberle, RG Wilson Bell and RT Brock Ruble will jell. And the likelihood is they do. But I still need to see it. More than any other position, I believe the offensive line will determine whether Florida State is a true title contender this year.

Maguire
Maguire

6. Quarterback: Two years of Jameis Winston seems so far removed. This position remains somewhat of a mystery – and as always will be scrutinized more than any other during camp – for two reasons: The known (senior Sean Maguire) and the unknown (freshman Deondre Francois). Maguire is capable. He was solid, not spectacular after Everett Golson imploded last year and he does deserve a break for his Peach Bowl performance after playing more than two quarters on a broken ankle. But can he lead FSU to the ACC title and playoffs? That answer varies depending on who you are asking. Francois has all the potential and tools but he has yet to take a snap in a college game. Obviously, this position is hugely important and it could turn out to be a strength or a weakness.

7. Linebackers: The Seminoles lost both their starters, although neither was drafted, but still are confident that juniors Ro’Derrick Hoskins and Matthew Thomas will seamlessly step in. Hoskins is more certain after being a key contributor last year with Reggie Northrup limited early from offseason knee surgery and Terrance Smith missing four games later because of an ankle injury. Thomas is not as reliable only because of a checkered history that last limited him to 12 games since signing in 2013 because of suspensions. The position has had depth issues in the past but coaches hope Josh Brown and Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane will solve that this season.

[RELATED: Cook, Johnson, Walker on future NFL stars list]

[RELATED: Florida State to keep its entire staff together for first time in four years]

[RELATED:  Jimbo Fisher not against tough openers]

[RELATED: FSU strength of schedule pulls in another top 10 rating]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida State to keep its entire staff together for first time in four years

 

Odell Haggins has been at FSU longer than any other coach on Jimbo Fisher's staff.
Odell Haggins has been at FSU longer than any other coach on Jimbo Fisher’s staff.

For the first time since 2012, FSU enters a season with the same coaching staff from the previous year.

Although the stability is nice and if there is one staff Jimbo Fisher is happy to keep together it’s this one, sometimes, though, change is good.

Fisher’s staff was the same for his first three seasons before he had to replace six assistants following 2012.

The result: The single-greatest season in school history that culminated with the 2013 national championship.

“It does help,” Fisher said when turnover is limited. “But there’s times when a little turnover is good. It generates new ideas, new influence, you don’t get in a rut. I don’t want to lose any of our coaches but the consistency definitely does help, there’s no doubt.

“But sometime when you have a change it’s not a bad thing either.”

[RELATED:  Jimbo Fisher not against tough openers]

[RELATED: FSU strength of schedule pulls in another top 10 rating]

[RELATED: Recruiting: Five-star WR Tee Higgins has FSU in top 10]

Following the 2013 season, the Seminoles lost one assistant each of the next two years: DC Jeremy Pruitt left for Georgia and LB coach Sal Sunseri bolted for the Oakland Raiders.

Although Bill Miller replaced Pruitt on the staff in 2014, Charles Kelly was promoted to coordinator. Kelly’s defense took a big step forward last season and should be even better in 2016. The closest any assistant came to leaving this year was when Auburn made a strong push for Kelly, who ultimately turned down a huge pay raise to remain in Tallahassee.

Brad Lawing replaced Sunseri and has been a solid addition, not only in coaching the defensive ends and outside linebackers but especially in recruiting.

The longest tenured assistant on staff is Odell Haggins (associate head coach/DT), who is entering his 23rd season as a coach. Haggins, Rick Trickett (assistant head coach/OL) and Lawrence Dawsey (co-OC/WR) are the three who have been with Fisher from the start.

 

 

Jimbo Fisher not against Florida State opening season against challenging opponent

Florida State is in the midst of a five-year stretch with season-opening games against Pitt (2013), Oklahoma State (2014), Texas St. (2015), Ole Miss (2016) and Alabama (2017).

FSUBama

Three are being played at neutral sites (four away from Doak Campbell Stadium) and two on Labor Day night, including in 3 ½ months when the Seminoles face Ole Miss in Orlando.

Coaches typically have mixed feelings about opening the season against a formidable opponent but much of that depends on the team they have returning.

Nobody could have predicted the success the Seminoles had in 2013 but the thought of opening the season with a road game on Labor Day night likely was not what Jimbo Fisher would have preferred.

Jameis Winston completed all but two of his 27 passes for 356 yards and 4 TDs in a 41-13 win at Pitt in his debut and the 2013 season opener. (AP Photo)
Jameis Winston completed all but two of his 27 passes for 356 yards and 4 TDs in a 41-13 win at Pitt in his debut and the 2013 season opener. (AP Photo)

But that new QB was Jameis Winston and nobody could have predicted his near perfect start and how the game would kick start an historic season.

The next year the Seminoles had to feel good about playing Oklahoma State in Arlington, Texas, with Winston and much of that undefeated, national championship team returning. They struggled but held on.

“I don’t mind it,” Fisher said recently when asked about opening with a tougher opponent.

  “Non-conference, we have always jumped right in there. It makes your summer very interesting.”

FSU will enter the season with a new starting quarterback for the third time in the last four years. Fisher was asked if opening with a ranked opponent impacts his decision when it comes to a quarterback.

“I defer to the guy that gets us up and down the field the best and does what he has to do to win the game,” Fisher said.

But would he give preference to the QB with more experience?

“If I said that, then Jameis wouldn’t have played when we opened up with Pitt (in 2013). It depends on who the guy is. Some guys can handle it, some guys won’t handle it. That’s what we have to try and judge as coaches.”

The decision this year likely comes down to fifth-year senior Sean Maguire, who has played in 21 games and made five starts; or red-shirt freshman Deondre Francois, who impressed during the spring but has yet to take a snap in a college game.

By the way, here is a comparison between how the Seminoles approach their season opener vs. their two in-state rivals:

Florida State: Pitt (2013), Oklahoma State (2014), Texas St. (2015), Ole Miss (2016), Alabama (2017).

Miami: FAU (2013), Louisville (2014), Bethune-Cookman (2015), FAMU (2016), Arkansas St. (2017).

Florida: Toledo 2013), Idaho (2014), New Mexico St. (2015), UMass (2016), Michigan (2017).

[RELATED: Recruiting: Five-star WR Tee Higgins has FSU in top 10]

[RELATED: Fans expect Marcus Mariota to have a better Year 2 than Jameis Winston]

[RELATED: Nothing like a good ole fashioned Twitter war between FSU and Miami recruiters]