I read a column today by Bart Wright here
, where he talks about how this thing all went into the toilet.
I can see where he is coming from in this argument. Bowden was once a decent offensive coordinator, under Terry in his undefeated season at Auburn, where he coached current Miami OC Patrick Nix (Auburns QB) in essentially the same offense. He was once more hands-on, it seemed to me, with Rodriguez and to some extent with O'Cain. I think the deal with O'Cain was his interjection in some of the play-calling when things went south with the offense. Bowden, as Wright suggests, might have once had more fire in his belly.
But I disagree with Wright. In reality, this team has had a myriad of problems that continued to take place since 2000. It has always been one issue after another. Its not just that Bowden lost his passion, he never saw problems and fixed them from the start.
Lets review a few...In 2000, it was our pass defense that caused us to blow games. We gave up tons of yards and points to Duke, barely held against NC State, and then GT burst the bubble and FSU spanked us. This was not a secondary laden with underclassmen either.
Now I'm not going to nitpick every game we lost, I'm just going to point out trends.
Starting in 2001, our Defense got worse again statistically and people like Cris Ard started calling for Herring's head. We blew up late in nearly every game, a problem Bowden could not fix. The offense became so infuriatingly predictable under Brad Scott that I could actually call the plays myself based on formation. I should not be able to do that.
In '02 Herring was gone, Lovett came in, and the offense was still infuriatingly predictable. Bowden fixed one and not the other, probably because Brad ran a successful offense at FSU. Special teams gaffes started to pick up.
Then Bowden replaced Scott with O'Cain, since apparently he had a rapport with Whitehurst. The offense was up and down until FSU in 2003. Lovett had improved the defense for the most part, it appeared.
In 2004, the D went back in the tank. After the season Lovett was gone. The offense was woefully inconsistent, the special teams were awful. Remember Georgia Tech and the blocked punt that caused the loss?
In 2005 the special teams werent fixed, they got worse and worse until Bowden finally hired a special teams coach (Andre Powell after 2007). The offense and defense improved through 2006, but at crunch time, all faltered, even through last year. The offensive line, falling apart in 2006 at the end, still hasnt been fixed this season. Sure we've been slammed by injuries, but as I said in an earlier post
, that problem is ultimately laid on Bowden and Scott.
So you see, from my point of view, its always been something, if one problem appears fixed, an old one comes back to bite us. There are some things that are correctable on a football team, and all these things were correctable within a season, but for the most part they werent corrected within one season or even the offseason following unless a coach was moved around or fired.
So I dont believe it was that Bowden lost his fire, not totally, I think the man couldnt run a football team from the start.