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FSU hires defensive coordinator; UGA begins bowl practice

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State has its new defensive coordinator -- Arizona's Mark Stoops.

A university official familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press on Saturday that Stoops has agreed to join new Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher in early January after both schools' bowl games.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because neither Stoops or Fisher has signed new contracts yet.

Stoops, 42, is Arizona's defensive coordinator. He is the younger brother of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and Arizona coach Mike Stoops.

Mark Stoops inherits a Seminole defense that ranked 110th nationally in 2009, surrendering 444.3 yards and 30.8 points a game. He succeeds Mickey Andrews, who is retiring after 26 seasons as Florida State's defensive coordinator.

Arizona's defense ranks 21st nationally, giving up 315 yards a game a game.

Stoops in not unfamiliar with Florida, having coached three seasons at Miami as secondary coach for the Hurricanes before joining brother Mike at Arizona in 2004.

Fisher, who is replacing Bobby Bowden, still has several positions to fill.

The contracts of running backs coach Dexter Carter, defensive end coach Jody Allen, strength coach Todd Stroud and longtime Bowden assistant and former North Carolina State head coach Chuck Amato are not being renewed.

Fisher has apparently decided to retain receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey, defensive line coach Odell Haggins, offensive line coach Rick Trickett along with tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator James Coley.

Dawsey and Haggins, along with Carter, were all star players for the iconic Bowden, who announced last week that he'll retire after 34 seasons at Florida State after its Jan. 1 Gator Bowl game against 18th-ranked West Virginia.

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UGA READIES FOR INDEPENDENCE BOWL:

A trimmed-down staff of assistants is in charge of the defense as Georgia opened practice for the Independence Bowl on Saturday.

Georgia coach Mark Richt fired defensive coordinator Willie Martinez and two more assistants following a 7-5 regular season. Richt also fired defensive ends coach Jon Fabris and linebackers coach Jon Jancek.

Richt, assistant head coach Rodney Garner and graduate assistants Mitch Doolittle and Todd Hartley worked with the defense for Saturday's practice.

Garner says the firings caused "a lot of emotions" for players and coaches.

The Bulldogs will face Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 28 in Shreveport, La