AFCA 2013 Notes: Jimbo Fisher on Creating a Positive Atmosphere and Player Accountability

Jimbo Fisher has had the weight of the world on his shoulders the past few months. Besides the obvious stress of following in the footsteps of a legend (which Bill O’Brien can tell you is never easy), the longtime Saban and Bowden assistant had to deal with a firestorm of legal trouble surrounding his true-freshman, Heisman winning quarterback. Through it all, he hasn’t allowed his players to become distracted and take their eyes off of their ultimate goal. Or, if you ask him, and read some of the things he had to say last year in Nashville, it was the leaders on the team who didn’t allow their team mates to become distracted.

Tonight is Florida State’s first BCS Championship appearance since Fisher took the reigns from one of the all-time greats in Bobby Bowden. To hear him tell the story of his program’s success this season, you’d think his team is the underdog, as he’s tried everything he can to keep his team from falling victim to apathy during practice the past week.

Fisher is a Saban disciple, so it’s no surprise that he believes in a lot of the same principles as the man leading the Crimson Tide. However, as all great coaches do, he puts his own personality on things, and allows his players a great deal of freedom- provided of course, that they produce on Saturdays. Read on to learn what kinds of things Jimbo Fisher does to make his teams believe in one another, especially when dealing with kids who’ve never had a great deal of confidence in anyone, least of all themselves. » Read more

AFCA 2013 Notes: Bill O’Brien on “The Blueprint” and his Keys to Success

As of New Year’s Day, Bill O’Brien is the new head coach of the Houston Texans. There were probably several reasons for this, but it’s clear that a big motivation to leave Happy Valley was all of the political games that O’Brien was tired of playing.

Apparently fed up with all the “Paterno people,” O’Brien returns to the NFL, and takes over a Houston team that most assumed would be hosting a playoff game this weekend, and not hiring a new head coach.

Given all of the unprecedented drama of the past couple of years at Penn State, it’s probably fair to say that O’Brien did about as well as could be expected, since he had to field a Big Ten team with about half the scholarships of the rest of his opponents. Still, no matter what your feelings are about him taking another job before the Nittany Lion football team emerged from sanctions, there’s no doubt that at least in some small way, he has helped clean up the image of Penn State Football.

Read on to learn what he had to say at last year’s AFCA Convention in Nashville, fresh off an impressive season, and after winning Coach of the Year. » Read more