Jimbo Fisher has been itching to get Karlos Williams at running back for a year now. He finally got his wish when Williams moved to offense after Florida State's season opener.
Historically, Fisher hasn't been shy about moving players to new positions at Florida State. His record with those changes bodes well for Williams' future at running back.
Lamarcus Joyner was an All-ACC safety in 2012, but moved to cornerback for his senior season in 2013. Before him, Xavier Rhodes came to campus as a wide receiver and left as a first-round NFL draft pick at cornerback. Starting fullback Chad Abram switched from safety in high school to fullback in college and is now the Seminoles' starter.
"We trust in Coach Fisher's philosophy and the way he does things," Joyner said. "Xavier moving, me moving, now Karlos. He always gives you options. It's never a force thing. Players trust coach Fisher and if he suggests something you're going to go with it and make it work."
Williams already has some experience with that; he already changed from linebacker to defensive back in the offseason. He's also seen Cameron Erving go from defensive tackle out of high school to starting left tackle at Florida State.
Even when switches don't work out, Fisher has shown he doesn't mind moving a player back. Dan Hicks started at defensive end, moved to tight end but quickly bounced back to defense for his senior season and is now on the starting depth chart there.
"It's like I told Cam, 'Just try this, give me a spring,'" Fisher said. "If you don't, I'll move you right back into the same rotation you were at D tackle. You won't lose a spot and you'll keep your same reps. You've got to trust me on this. And it's got to be for both things -- it's for our football team and for him individually. That's what I believe."
Erving said the decision came down to trust, and added that Fisher's track record with previous switches makes players more willing to switch positions.
"I've trusted Jimbo," Erving said. "When I signed my letter of intent to come to Florida State, that was my trust. I trusted that he was going to put me in then best position to make plays or help the team or for my future. It was hard to swallow at first when he asked me to move to offense, but at the end of the day I just want this team to do well."
Fisher said he tries not to put players into specific roles if he's recruiting them, rather tries to find athletes that can fill multiple roles. He mentioned a number of NFL players as well who he'd recruited as one thing that ended up as different positions in the pros, for example Devery Henderson, who Fisher coached at LSU as a cornerback and played in the NFL as a wide receiver..
"I don't think there's anything, you just have to have the ability to judge," Fisher said. "Sometimes you make a mistake -- you move a guy and you move him back.
I think you just see things in guys and go with your gut, go with your instincts and your ability to have done it in the past and also what your team needs, too. Talk with him and discuss it with the young man."
Joyner echoed that sentiment as well, adding that Fisher takes players' requests into consideration during the recruiting process. For example, James Wilder was a highly regarded linebacker in high school that most colleges wanted as a linebacker. Wilder was adamant about his desire to play running back and Fisher acquiesced, and now Wilder is the starting running back.
"When you have someone with so much prestige ad Coach Fisher, and he's taking words from you, you want to play for a guy like that. He gives you options," Joyner said, adding that Fisher mentioned to him several positions during his recruitment, some of them half-joking. "I believe if I'd have told Coach Fisher I had wanted to play running back he'd have given me a shot at it. That's just the kind of coach he is."
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