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Florida State Seminoles

FSU apparently hiring Kendal Briles as OC casts shadow for Noles

Matt Zemek

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USA Today Sports

It’s a “feel-good Christmas story.”

The son of a man who presided over one of the worst, most pervasive, most appalling sexual assault scandals in recent times — a massive scandal on its own terms, whether in the realm of college sports or not — moved up the ladder to get the open offensive coordinator job at Florida State.

That is the report, anyway, from multiple sources on Saturday night:

Kendal Briles, as public speaker, educator and activist Brenda Tracy has noted, has never taken ownership for his role in what happened under Art Briles’ watch at Baylor, as a member of his father’s coaching staff. This is a big reason why Tracy has not been shy about speaking out about the need for schools to avoid hiring Kendal as an offensive coordinator:

The added backdrop to this situation is that even when Florida State was winning big — in 2013, when it captured the ACC title and then the national championship — a sexual assault allegation toward Jameis Winston placed a cloud over the Seminoles’ unbeaten season. Subsequent behavioral incidents at FSU and then in the NFL have not improved Winston’s overall reputation, which doesn’t reflect well on Florida State.

Yes, FSU needs an elite offensive coordinator, not someone learning on the job as Walt Bell seemed to be doing in 2018. The real question for Florida State, and Tennessee (which was also rumored to have been in the Kendal Briles search) is this: “Can you find an elite offensive coordinator other than Kendal Briles?”

The real answer: “If you do your homework, yes — you should be able to find someone.” Is it a total piece of cake? Maybe not… but any school should be able to find a good option, either someone unemployed or someone who wants to make an upward move. A school in Florida State’s position should be especially aware of the need — and public relations value — to not hire the son of Art Briles to its coaching staff, in such a prominent position. (Offensive analyst is one thing; offensive coordinator is quite another.)

If I — as with anyone else writing about how bad this Briles hire is — put forth the claim that good options are available, I obviously have to mention a few names.

Matt Canada, no longer the offensive coordinator at Maryland due to the changes on that coaching staff. He would be a top target.

Larry Fedora is looking for work and would represent a highly qualified play-caller after being fired as the head coach at North Carolina. He would be a top target.

Rhett Lashlee worked under Gus Malzahn at Auburn and coached against the Seminoles in the 2014 BCS National Championship Game. You could reasonably say that he hasn’t done great at Connecticut and SMU since leaving Auburn… but that’s UConn and SMU. Lashlee has coached in massive games and done well in them. He would not need Walt Bell-style training wheels. If FSU whiffed on Canada or Fedora, this would be a fallback plan.

Another fallback plan: Doug Meacham, a veteran assistant coach who helped get the most out of Trevone Boykin at TCU a few years ago. Meacham struggled at Kansas, much as Lashlee struggled at UConn and SMU… but again, he would have quality talent to work with in Tallahassee.

That’s two really good Plan As and two decent Plan Bs.

Florida State didn’t need to hire a member of the Briles family.

Is Kendal Briles a good X-and-O man? Yes. Should he upgrade the offense? Yes.

This isn’t about football acumen, though. This is about being able to hire a quality offensive coordinator without traveling the grimy, uncomfortable route.

This doesn’t make Florida State unique among football schools. This doesn’t make FSU an initiator or creator of a problem. It does, however, represent a failure by Florida State to become more of the solution and more of a positive voice in the sport.

Merry Christmas. Don’t file away this story in the catalog of feel-good Hallmark holiday movies.

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at radioinfluence.com. Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: mzemek@hotmail.com. You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

Florida State Seminoles

FSU and LSU announced two game neutral site series Tuesday

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In an effort to continue to beef up their out-of-conference schedules, FSU announced on Tuesday that they will play newly-crowned National Champion, LSU in two neutral site games coming soon in 2022 and 2023.

The Seminoles made the announcement through social media and their website that they will be playing the “Bayou Bengals” first in New Orleans and then, in Orlando:

Both teams will be given the benefit of essentially a “home-away-from-home neutral-site game” on Labor Day weekend. LSU considers New Orleans to be their second home and just won the College Football Playoff National Championship game over Clemson there on January 12.

The first game with the Noles will be on Saturday night September 4th, 2022.

FSU will, then play “hosts” in Orlando against the Tigers the following year on Saturday night September 3rd. The Noles recently played a season-opening game with Ole Miss, whom they defeated, at Camping World Stadium in 2016.

New Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell had this to say in the school statement about adding the games coming soon,

“I’m excited about this series,” head coach Mike Norvell said. “Florida State has a rich tradition in Louisiana, the home of many former Seminoles including Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor, and all three of our national championship teams had at least one player from Louisiana. It continues to be an important area for us now. We added two players from Louisiana in our first signing class, and it will be great for them and other future Noles to be able to play back in their home state.

This series matches two of the iconic brands in college football, and I know our fans will have a great time in New Orleans and Orlando. I want to thank our administration for all their hard work on this and for continuing to pursue first-class experiences for our student-athletes.”

These will be the 10th and 11th times that Florida State and LSU will meet. The Noles hold a 7 – 2 advantage, including winning four straight games in the series. It is the first time the two schools will have played since 1991.

Further, Florida State is 9 – 2 in their last 11 games opening a season on a neutral field. The Seminoles were to have played Boise State in Jacksonville last Labor Day weekend, but the threat of Hurricane Dorian moved the game to Tallahasse.

That’s where the Broncos upset the Seminoles and sent coach Willie Taggart into a second year spiral that resulted in his firing in November.

The Noles are also 8 – 2 all-time in games  at the Superdome with the most prominent one coming in the BCS Championship Game win over Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.

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Florida State Seminoles

Deion tells Dan Patrick he’d consider coaching Hurricanes

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Hall of Famer and former Seminoles All-American defensive back Deion Sanders is making the rounds for broadcast outlets at Super Bowl 54 in Miami,. And it’s not just his NFL Network duties that made some news on Tuesday. Rather, it’s an interview, where he expressed more desire for coaching college football and maybe, even in the city where he currently is working this week.

Sanders appeared on The Dan Patrick television – radio show Tuesday in advance of the 49ers and the Chiefs meeting for pro football’s title at Hard Rock stadium Sunday night.

And, while most of the interview centered around the NFL and the Super Bowl match-up, Patrick naturally turned to Deion’s desire to apparently be a head coach in college football and maybe, as soon as next year.

This subject came up after Sanders was apparently under consideration to possibly be the new head coach at FSU, when they fired Willie Taggart in early November. The school and AD David Coburn did confirm that they had a serious formal discussion with “Prime Time” about building a staff, etc.

That’s when Patrick turn the questioning to Sanders’ son and what might test his loyalty to FSU and possibly, coaching at a hated-rival like the University of Miami.

“What if ‘The U’ called?” Patrick asked.

“You know what is so funny, cuz I saw that when I was watching you on television (earlier in the day when Patrick said he would ask Sanders about Miami). My son is a phenomenal quarterback. My youngest son. He has a plethora of offers. We’re going to visit ‘The U’ on Saturday,” Sanders said.

“But would you coach the U?,” Patrick quickly asked again.

“You know what. You never know,” Sanders replied leaving the door open, like most do.

“Are you a ‘package deal’ with your son,” asked Patrick?

“I’ve never been a package deal with any-body,” Sanders shot back, which drew laughter from the studio audience at Patrick’s Super Bowl show site.

Now, the Hurricanes have obviously floundered for much of the 2010s, including 2019 with first-year coach Manny Diaz struggling mightily down the stretch of his first season. Miami lost it’s final two games to finish 6 – 6, and then, were shutout humiliatingly by Louisiana Tech 14 – 0 in the Independence Bowl.

Miami has swapped offensive coordinators after Diaz fired Dan Enos after just his first season. The Canes have hired former Auburn and SMU play-caller Rhett Lashlee to replace him. And, they secured Houston dual threat transfer QB D’Eriq King for this season.

Sanders was a two-time All-American at Florida State (1987, ’88), and won the Jim Thorpe Award during his final season playing for the Seminoles in 1988. He was selected in the first round of the 1989 draft by the Atlanta Falcons and played in the NFL through the 2005 season.

His elite level of play earned him inductions into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Sanders has been analyst for the NFL Network for the past 10 years and clearly has the desire to try something else.

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