Feb. 7, 2007
HEAD COACH Bobby Bowden
I met with John (Lilly) about 15 minutes ago to go over the final list or the list up till now. There are still several good football players out there that haven’t made up their minds yet that we are probably still in the running on but I think it is a very good class. This year is a little different in recruiting as far as I was concerned and really the coaches because I made hiring a staff my No. 1 priority.
The First year I came down here 31 years ago the first thing I felt I had to do was get a good staff and then recruit what you could. That’s the way I addressed it this year. Get a great staff, which we did. They came in and all got to work, did a good job. Did an excellent job. I think we got a good group.
On How He Feels About This Class
I am happy. Here’s some of the things that can happen. Here’s where things probably hurt us this year. Last year I think we got, how many, three guys in January…This year we lost all of our January choices. You love to get them in January. They get a jump on the next year. But at that time we had no coaches. We had four out of nine missing. Then you lose ground because a coach when he recruits a kid he wins him. Then he changes jobs. Now the kid, that assistant coach means a lot to him.
It ended up a real good year. This was not a critical year for us to recruit. In other words, with what we got coming back, except for several positions, kids going to have to have a battle on his hands. They know that.
On Whether The Changes On His Staff Have Re-Invigorated Him
It is like starting all over. It was nearly like that. It was kind of like back then I had to hire a whole staff. This was nearly like hiring a whole staff, five out of nine. Again, it is the first time I have done that in a long time. I have lost a coach and replaced him. I have lost another coach and replaced him. When Brad Scott left I think we lost three coaches. That has been 14 years ago but this is the first time we had to really restructure our staff and you would have to say we went all out. We went all out. We are not going to hold back. We are going after what it takes. I think we got that.
COACH John Lilly
On Signing Day
It is always really, really exciting to add to your football team. This is always a great day for everybody. A day you look forward to and anticipate. It is exciting when you get a chance to get some new Florida State Seminoles.
On This Year’s Class
This probably maybe a more exciting year than some because we feel like we got an excellent team coming back this year off of last year and the things we were able to accomplish last year. Particularly towards the end of the year. Now it is just can we add the right ingredients and the right parts to take this team to the next level in 2007. We feel like we’ve done that.
On The Role The New Coaches Played
We lost some very good coaches. Fortunately we were able to replace them with some very good coaches. I give a tremendous amount of credit to the new coaches, the new people on our staff because they did a great job of jumping right in here. I don’t know if any of them had really unpacked their bags yet. As soon as they got here we sent them right back out. It was kind of one of those welcome to Tallahassee now get on an airplane and leave. They got after it pretty well. I think you can see the dividends of that.
On Filling Needs
The big thing we really looked at in recruiting this year, obviously you are always trying to fill needs and we feel we have done that pretty much across the board. It would have been very, very nice to have gotten a tailback. We felt like that was going to be something we really needed to do to get another tailback. You need a bunch of them to play in the league we play in and at the level we play because we have seen durability can sometimes become an issue there. We really needed a great tailback or a great runner. We weren’t able to meet that need.
Obviously up front we did a great job, probably exceeded our goals a little bit there on the offensive line, which is exciting. I think that will be a great group for coach (Rick) Trickett to work with. I know he is excited about the guys we got.
On Defensive Recruiting
As far as the defensive side of the ball is concerned, it is very difficult when you return 19 of our top 22 there on defense are coming back. You look at our two-deep on defense, you take Buster (Davis) out of it and you take Lawrence Timmons out and you take Darrell Burston out you got 19 guys back. It is very difficult when you got that kind of returning depth, and it is quality depth, to sign across the board on defense. We made a run at some great guys and we signed some great players on the defensive side of the ball, which is a great credit to the guys that recruited any of those individuals.
On What Brought Players To Florida State
Again what it really comes back to a lot, last season we had a situation where we go out and lose six ballgames and five of them I think were by a touchdown or less. I think that is really the big thing we thought about and talked a lot about. Even the recruits looked at and bought into. Is that in five of those games if you change that around we are sitting there at 11-1 at the end of the year. We are probably out in Arizona playing in the National Championship. In those five games we just needed one more guy to make a play. That is really what you see in this class. Who is that guy going to be? We feel there are some guys in this class that can make that play in addition to the guys we got coming back.
On How Difficult It Was To Recruit With Such A Turnover In The Staff
Obviously it presents some challenges, particularly in kind of the interim there when you are almost at that half staff really. We have only got four, five guys and I give an awful lot of credit to Coach (Mickey) Andrews, Coach (Odell) Haggins and Coach (Jody) Allen who were obviously here throughout all of that. There were a couple week period there where you have three, four, five guys trying to do the work that everybody else is doing with 10. So you just have to kind of double up. I think that is one thing we are so excited about. To still get the quality we got in this class when you had to go through a little bit of a transition period.