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October 8, 2014

Jimbo Fisher

JIMBO FISHER:  Well, very proud of our team coming off a good win against Wake Forest.  I thought our defense played extremely well, did a great job.  Some of those young guys are really developing and providing us a lot of depth in key areas.  Our secondary is getting healthy again with our corners now really looking physically like they did at the end of last year as far as getting over nicks and knacks and some pulls, so getting some back on defense is good, special teams and things.  I thought our kickers, of course, Roberto was outstanding.  Cason Beatty did a nice job kicking the ball.  Return game we know as far as those two things on special teams, coverage, kicks very well.  I thought offensively we started off with two turnovers, which we don't need to do, then we got in a groove and moved the football and had some key injuries at center.  We had Ryan Hoefeld come in and did an outstanding job at center, who we think is going to be a really good player for us.
Rashad Greene went down, had two young freshmen really step un, Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph, and our young backs Mario Pender and Dalvin Cook filling in for Carlos Williams, who got nicked in the game.  We had a lot of adversity, and our offense, I thought we overcame it, moved the ball very well, had a very solid day, and then continued to have a good week of practice and get better.
Got to go to the Carrier Dome, play Coach Shafer.  They do a great job on defense, very multiple on defense, different blitz packages, different looks, come at you from all different angles, create a lot of turnovers, their defense does.  The Carrier Dome is always a very tough place to play, loud, noise, and I know it's a homecoming so it'll be packed so it'll be a very challenging situation as far as that goes.
Offensively I know they lost a quarterback so we'll have to prepare for two different quarterbacks.  Got to get that preparation in and be very sound in the kicking game because they do a great job.  Any time you go on the road it's extremely challenging, so we have a lot of tough challenges this week, but hopefully we'll have a good week and continue to progress as a team.
Questions, please.

Q.  Obviously you talked about going into the Carrier Dome, going up against a team that now has a new quarterback situation with the starter going out.  How have you assessed that in practice and gone up against that because there isn't a lot of film out there except for Austin Wilson with the time that he played?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, you have to go off the film you have, look what they have, and then you know the other young man, and they've made comment, is a very good athlete, so you may have to think of more quarterback runs and draws and things of that nature, but at the same time can still throw the ball.  And you play against wildcat situation, you kind of almost play against that every week when you play running quarterbacks, so from that standpoint it does help preparation that we have that in our repertoire for our packages, but at the same time, how play calling is going to go and those things, you have to sort it out through the game, so it's going to be a very challenging test for our defense.

Q.  And then as far as playing inside of a dome as opposed to what you're used to in Tallahassee, what can you say about that experience and what you try to tell your guys about that.  It can get hot in there sometimes, it is going to be homecoming, so that entire environment that you're preparing for?
JIMBO FISHER:  Yeah, it will be.  It's going to be very hostile.  We had to play in a dome, of course we were in Dallas this year.  We did that earlier in the year against Oklahoma State, but it's a much larger place than the Carrier Dome.  The Carrier Dome from what I understand sits down on top of you much tighter, like I said, gets very hot, and it can be a very tough, tough place to play that way and noise.
Those are the things we have to prepare‑‑ we have an indoor facility, so we'll try to simulate some of those things in our indoor and also crank up the crowd noise where it's deafening inside to try to prepare as much as you can.  But you never can prepare for all of it.  The only thing you can do is do the best you can do.

Q.  I think because last year people kind of expected you to come out and dominate an opponent from the very first minute again this year and it's obviously not the case, what have you found the identity of this year's team to be?
JIMBO FISHER:  Extremely competitive, understand how to win, play together, nothing seems to bother them as far as situations, and a very tough, tough team.  I think we're, like I say, still scoring a lot of points.  Defensively we're getting much better as time goes on.  I love our kids.  I think we have an extremely good team, and very proud of the way we've done things.

Q.  And also, how is Rashad looking for this week?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, we'll find out.  He's actually going to be able to practice today, run around with some individual drills.  He's been cleared to do that, and then we'll judge as practice goes and make decisions.  If he has any recurring things he won't get hit today, and then if he does, if he's okay today, he could possibly get hit tomorrow and get banged around a little bit.
But as of right now, he's progressed extremely well.  At Wake we didn't know if this would happen, and his responses have been really good, but there's still a lot of tests and situations he has to go through.

Q.  I know all these big offensive weapons always get the recognition, but talk about how Roberto was able to go from being a red shirt to the best kicker in the country and the model of consistency he's given you guys?
JIMBO FISHER:  He has.  I think he had a great mentor in Dustin Hopkins and being able to prepare himself mentally and how to limit kicks during the week so he's at his best on Saturday, but then he has unbelievable work ethic.  Of course his fundamentals and talent are tremendous, but when you combine that with a very intelligent young man, a guy that works very hard, he's a tremendous, tremendous football player, there's no doubt.

Q.  I know the offense wasn't as good for Syracuse last week, but how will you guys look to attack their defense, especially their middle linebackers that have impressed so far?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, you have to account for them.  Their backers blitz.  I know Williams is the leading sack guy in the conference.  They bring multiple packages, different looks.  Up front they bring different looks, and it's extremely challenging, create a lot of turnovers, so we're going to have to be able to identify, put a hat on a hat and still we're going to have to block them because they're very physically gifted.

Q.  Talk about the wide receiver.  I know Greene probably will play on Saturday if he is cleared to play, but talk about Jesus Wilson being the No.2 wide receiver to Greene and how will he step into that role on Saturday.
JIMBO FISHER:  I don't think there's any doubt.  I think he played outstanding almost every game this year that he's been in.  He can run with it, he can go deep.  He's short, he's got great ability after he catches it, and then you combine that with Ermon Lane, Travis Rudolph, Kermit, Christian Green, those guys all have a lot of ability and have played extremely well, especially the last two weeks.  But it's a big step up, but I think it's something that he will definitely handle.  I've been very pleased with his progress.

Q.  You said you're playing in the Carrier Dome on Saturday and you're going to simulate it in the practice facility.  Is it tough to simulate a stadium that you haven't been to before because I know Florida State hasn't been there since 1987 or sometime in the '80s.
JIMBO FISHER:  '91.  I think it was '90 or '91 when T‑Buckley was up there and had a great punt return.  Yeah, but there's nothing you can ever simulate to match that, but you've just got to try to maybe noise and that type of stuff as much as you possibly can.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about Syracuse safety Durell Eskridge.  He's a Florida kid, grew up in Miami?
JIMBO FISHER:  Miami Central.  Very good friends with Devonta Freeman.

Q.  Kind of a two‑part question here.  Is he anybody that you kind of remember being on your recruiting radar at one point, and has he jumped out on film since you've been looking at Syracuse?
JIMBO FISHER:  He was a guy we knew about, was a very good player out of high school, and he does jump out.  He had a big pick six if I'm not mistaken at Notre Dame, big, long guy, can cover a lot of ground, very physical when he gets there, has great speed and change of direction.  We think he's an outstanding player.

Q.  How close are you with Bobby Bowden, and what kind of role has he played in your life?
JIMBO FISHER:  Coach Bowden, I'm very close with Coach.  We don't speak a lot right now because he's speaking everywhere and I'm coaching as far as that goes.  But I always consider Coach Bowden a mentor, a guy that was very influential in the early years of my coaching when I first became a coach because I played for his son Terry and with Jeff, coached with Tommy.  I've been around ‑‑ I've coached with every Bowden:  Tommy, Terry, Jeff, and Coach Bowden.  I've been around their family, stayed at their family home, went different places with them.  They were all very influential in my coaching career early, and Coach Bowden and the philosophies and things that I did as a young coach, standing around talking to him a lot, dealing with kids, how you deal with issues, how to deal with problems, being a father figure to kids, being some of the reason that you're the last hope they have to be able to be successful in life.  A lot of those philosophies and beliefs, and also coaching philosophies came from Coach Bowden.  I have the utmost respect for him, and he was a tremendous influence in my coaching career.

Q.  What's it like for Jameis Winston to balance his time and energy between training for football with you and then also baseball?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I mean, he's able to compartmentalize from season to season.  He does that very well.  I mean, he's handled it very well because he's been very successful in both.  He does it probably as well as anybody I've been around.

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