Mike Gundy admits he doesn’t know Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher very well, despite a few similarities in their rise to college football coaching prominence.
Gundy is 46. Fisher is 48. Both were former offensive coordinators promoted from within to take head coaching jobs. And before that, each worked as offensive assistants at a number of schools to work their way up the coaching ranks.
“(Fisher) spent a number of years on the other side of the country,” Gundy said. “We don’t really cross paths in recruiting.”
But the two were connected Thursday afternoon, each taking part in a media teleconference to discuss the storylines leading up to Aug. 30, when the Cowboys face the Seminoles at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Here are the three biggest takeaways from the call.
Gundy confirmed JW Walsh is getting the most practice repetitions at quarterback. Two days after he said Daxx Garman is preparing to take “10-to-12” snaps against Florida State, the OSU coach gave some insight into how those opportunities are being divided in practice.
“We’ve given JW (Walsh) 50 percent of the reps,” Gundy said. “And then Mason (Rudolph) and Daxx are getting 25 percent each.”
Jimbo Fisher said he’s been keeping tabs on the Cowboys’ quarterback depth chart, with the understanding that more than one could make an appearance in the opener.
“Mike has a lot of options,” Fisher said. “He’s a tremendous quarterback coach himself … Everybody says that’s a problem, not me, that’s a good thing. That means you’ve got three guys who can go out there to play in a game and win the game. So I think you have to know each guy’s strengths when they come in and you have to adjust accordingly.”
Count Gundy impressed by the talent Florida State returns with this season. And that’s no surprise. The Seminoles return four NFL-ready offensive lineman and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston at quarterback. And defensively, FSU features two of the top cornerbacks in the nation (Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams) and a slew of talent from last season’s national championship team.
“They have double digit players, in my opinion, that will be on draft boards of NFL teams,” Gundy said. “When you look at the talent level that they have, and the depth they have this year, they really don’t have weaknesses.”
But Fisher said there are plenty of new faces among the Seminoles who will be thrust into the spotlight for the first time as well.
“We have a lot coming back, but we have a lot of new personnel hat will be in the game for the first time,” Fisher said. “We all have that, and I think that’s part of the excitement when you have a kickoff game.”
The two coaches disagreed when it comes to nonconference game scheduling. The OSU-FSU opener is part of a larger national trend of schools scheduling single games against nonconference opponents at notable neutral-site venues – as opposed to scheduling home-and-home series.
“I lean toward home-and-home,” Gundy said. “I just hate to take away a home game from our students and for the team and for the fans. But there are a lot of different ways to look at it and a lot of dollars involved.”
Fisher countered that he prefers the current trend. And considering his rationale and confidence in the Seminoles, it makes sense as Fisher said playing in for the national championship “is always our goal at Florida State.”
Plus, FSU already has a marquee home matchup with a nonconference opponent: Florida.
“I like how these are set up, I really do,” Fisher said. “I think it gives your kids a different place to go to, a different atmosphere and environment … It creates more like a playoff game or bowl game.”