Florida State beginning a new life after Bowden

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Some of the more significant changes Fisher made after taking over in January were off the field. He hired a sports psychologist and brought in outside speakers to preach positive thinking and mental conditioning.

“They showed us how snipers breathe,” center Ryan McMahon said. “If their heart’s beating they’ve got to shoot the shot between heart beats or it would be off.”

McMahon said players can use the same technique on the field to keep from losing concentration.

“Sometimes you get too excited,” he said. “You might have to take a deep breath and just kind of bring everything back into focus.”

Fisher also hired a nutritionist to create individual diets, most heavy on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, geared to whether a player needs to gain, lose or maintain his weight.

“I don’t eat fast food any more,” linebacker Mister Alexander said. “I haven’t eaten fried chicken in I can’t tell you.”

Alexander said the diet has paid off by cutting his body fat from 13.5 percent to 7.4 percent.

Florida State’s offense already has been shaped by Fisher and probably will be little changed. The defense that last year was Florida State’s weakness will be different under new coordinator Mark Stoops. He previously held the same position at Arizona where his brother, Mike, is head coach. The Seminoles now will feature more zone schemes. Andrews had favored a man-to-man approach.

“You’re not chasing everybody around the field,” Alexander said. “You’re not getting as tired.”

Fisher should quickly find out where his rebuilding effort stands. After a warmup against lower-division Samford, Bowden’s alma mater, the Seminoles travel to Oklahoma, which is coached by another Stoops brother, Bob. Then Brigham Young comes to Tallahassee before the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule starts.

While Smith is confident the Seminoles can emulate Florida’s turnaround under Meyer, who won national championships in his second and fourth years, there are differences that may make it tougher for Fisher.

Since Meyer took over in 2005, Florida State and Miami, his main rivals for talent in a state known for producing lots of it, have been struggling. The Seminoles have finished 7-6 in three of the last four years.

Fisher, in contrast, must recruit against and play a Miami team that’s on the rebound as well as the Gators, who even in a rebuilding year seem well stocked.

“I think you’ve got to give a couple years to get his guys in there,” said Florida State fan John Fillion, an information technologist from Tampa. “I don’t think anyone thinks, ‘Hey, we’re supposed to go to a national championship this year.’”

Fillion said fans’ patience, though, has its limits. If Florida State keeps going 7-6 or 8-5 in the next four years, he said, “Jimbo’s probably going to be in trouble.”

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