FSU kicks off spring with talented roster

FSU kicks off spring with talented roster

Published Mar. 30, 2012 12:46 p.m. ET

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher is an avid NASCAR fan.  Fisher admired Dale Earnhardt Sr. and admits that was his guy.

If he could, Fisher would take the wheel of a stock car, mash the gas and take a few laps around the track.

Fisher’s role at Florida State is more of a crew chief than a driver, though, tinkering with the mechanics to achieve top performance.

“You’re multi-tasking,” Fisher said. “You have a master game plan then you have to make the critical decisions but you have to have those guys helping you as a team.”

Spring football has begun in Tallahassee and Fisher has begun the task of assembling his master game plan for the Seminoles’ 2012 season.

Not that 2011 ended poorly. Florida State finished 9-4, swept their in-state rivals Miami and Florida and defeated Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl with four freshmen starting on the offensive line.  Still,  national championship aspirations went unfulfilled, and there was a three-game losing streak in the middle of the season and injuries to key players, including quarterback E.J Manuel.

“You have to find a way to win when you’re not at your best,” Fisher said.  “I think our program learned that at times.”

How the players responded to the adversity of last season was telling.

“It revealed a lot to me about our kids and I was really excited about what I got back from them when those situations occurred.”

Which is why Jimbo Fisher is excited about spring practice.

“One, I think we are a talented football team,” Fisher said. “Two we have good experience and three we learned those valuable lessons.”

In other words Fisher sees this Seminole team coming of age.

“I think there is a maturity stage you have to go through as a player and a program to get to where you want to go and I’m anxious to see how we take the next steps,” Fisher said.

Fisher and his coaching staff need to take a wrench and adjust the offensive line, tighten a few key components on offense and defense and hopefully stay healthy.

Then Florida State might have a finely tuned machine for the 2012 season.