FSU Promotes Charles Kelly to DC

After Florida State lost defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to Georgia, the search for a new one began.

It didn’t have to go very far. Jimbo Fisher is promoting linebackers coach Charles Kelly to the position just two weeks after Pruitt announced his leave.

Charles Kelly

Noles247 is also reporting that defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri will receive the title of Assistant Head Coach, which will also give him a bigger salary.

From the beginning, Tomahawk Nation maintained that Kelly was one of the few candidates who fit what Jimbo Fisher was looking for in a defensive coordinator (along with Geoff Collins of Mississippi State).

Kelly will move to defensive backs coach as well, which opens up a spot at linebackers coach. While Sunseri does have experience with linebackers as well, he is not expected to move.

Kelly played defensive back in college, and has 12 years experience coaching defensive backs, plus another seven as a defensive coordinator, at Jacksonville State, Nicholls State and Georgia Tech.

Experience with defensive backs is important for Fisher, who said before hiring Pruitt in 2012 that experience in the back end of the defense was very important because of the need to match a secondary’s coverage to the front a defense is playing.

He also wanted a defensive coordinator with a background in defensive backs, like Nick Saban.

In today’s game, being able to go back to front is very critical, because of the spread,” Fisher said. “You have to be able to match your secondary coverages to your fronts. Who’s going to fit, how they’re going to fit, how you’re going to handle certain play actions, how you’re going to handle certain coverages. And I think it is much easier to go back to front than it is front to back. I think that knowledge is [crucial], especially the way the game is being played today, with such a spread dynamic to it.

Fisher added Charles Kelly to coach linebackers, another coach with experience in the defensive system Saban uses. Kelly had been at Georgia Tech under Al Groh, a defensive coach who had previously been with Saban and Bill Belichick at other stops in his career. And like Sunseri, Kelly also had defensive coordinator experience at the BCS level.

We are all off the same tree,” Fisher said. “The intensity with which we coach, how hard we coach, the time we put into the game, how guys are done. And we’ve all had success doing it our way and winning championships. When you believe those same things, you don’t have those controversies. It goes back to chemistry of staff.

The one thing that I was familiar with was the terminology that Jeremy uses with his coverages, and some of the pressures. Al [Groh] and I visited Alabama several times, so that gave me more insight,” Kelly told me. “It’s the most unselfish bunch of coaches I have ever been around. And Jeremy is a very good teacher. I know how it is being a coordinator. When something tears up, you gotta fix it within your system. But us all understanding that system helps. We had never worked together, but I knew him. I would call him and ask about the secondary when I was coaching the secondary at Georgia Tech.

Florida State will try to defend their National Champion title in 2014. See their full schedule here.

For more on this story, please visit: Bud Elliot, Tomahawk Nation