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November 5, 2014

Jimbo Fisher

JIMBO FISHER:  Very proud of our team being able to go into Louisville, which is a very hostile, very good environment on Thursday night, sold‑out crowd, electric atmosphere, national TV, and great recognition for the ACC and the quality of finish in our league and how we're playing and how much passion we have for it, and very proud of our kids the way we competed in the game and were able to persevere and come back and come out victorious against a very, very good Louisville team.  They've got the receiver and quarterback and those guys back.  They're a very dynamic team along with Michael Dyer and that whole group of defense.  They were the No.1 defense in the country so they have a very good group, very well coached.
That one is past us, now we've got to get ready for Virginia.  They bring a lot of challenges.  I know Virginia has hit a little skid here lately, but they're still playing very good football.  Very talented defense, they bring a lot of different pressures, a lot of different three‑man, four‑man fronts and then different coverages.  Jon Tenuta has always been one of the great defensive coordinators in football.  They do a great job there offensively.  They're able to run the ball, have balance, they move the ball extremely well, a lot of different sets, a lot of pro‑style system things they do, which I think are very good.
They cause you a lot of problems with special teams.  They cover kicks well.  Good athletes on special teams.  Mike has always done a good job, and we're going to have to be ready to play.
Anxious to get back to our home field here at Doak Campbell and play a great game, so looking forward to that opportunity Saturday night.

Q.  Having won all eight games to start this season and obviously you know what happened last season, what have you learned about this year's team specifically through these eight games?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I think it's a very strong mental group.  They're a very tight‑knit group.  They care a lot about each other and they're able to handle a lot of different situations.  As I say, as people bring their "A" game to us and play very well against us, and we understand that.
But they do a great job in my opinion of being able to handle that situation and just keep executing and play the next play.  Very good group, very fun group, very hard‑working group, mentally tough group.

Q.  And then as far as how you would describe Jameis Winston from the times of recruiting him to where he is today, on and off the field, all the adversity that he has faced, how would you describe him in this moment going forward?
JIMBO FISHER:  I think we all learn from our experiences and I think we always‑‑ Jameis is a very intelligent young man.  I think he continues to grow as a person, as a player and in all aspects of his life.  I think he is growing in those areas extremely well.  I think he's affecting his teammates in a great way daily on how he's doing things, and very proud of where he's going.

Q.  Talk about how your relationship with Mike has developed and what you share with Ethan and Tyson, and how have you guys‑‑ there's been a bond between you two since you've shared that with your families.
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I mean, it is.  It's hard‑‑ we have a very professional relationship, and we don't speak a lot, but I have a lot of respect for Mike.  I think he's a great coach and a great person.  But I think it's just hard to understand from the outside, and I think this is‑‑ it's not a slight on anything; until one of your kids is truly affected with something that serious of how you really feel and how it is daily to think of those situations and how you have to go about your day‑to‑day business and whether it's work or the other family members or things, but that's always lingering in the back of your mind and how to deal with that.
I think it's always‑‑ you know there's someone there that can understand if you ever have to talk or be there.  I think it's just hard to understand unless you're ever in that situation, and I have a lot of respect for what he's been able to do and how he's been able to persevere through his, and I know his daughter is doing extremely well right now.  She's in college, and very happy for them.

Q.  Lastly, what does it mean to you to have your players step up and do what they have done in the last year or so or even longer to help raise money?
JIMBO FISHER:  See, I think, and that totally caught me off guard when they did that, and to me it just signifies how many good young men we have in our organization, in our team, in our family here, that they get the big picture, that it's not about them and how they can affect other lives.  To me when you go forward in your life, whatever venue, as I say, the air is out of the ball at some time, and to have that mindset that it's not about me, it's a selfless group and I can go help someone make a difference in their lives and that people aren't as fortunate as me, and to me what's that you want when you want your kids to leave a program.  That's what you want them to get out of your program, and I'm extremely proud and happy to be a part of them.  I'm proud of them.

Q.  Your program has had a lot of luck with kickers these last several years, and I was wondering how difficult a position is that to evaluate during the recruiting process, and what specifically do you kind of look for when you're trying to find out what kind of kicker might work best once they get into the pressure situation of college?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I mean, pressure situations, again, you go back to it's your feel, and you get around people and talk to the people around him, but evaluating a kicker is very hard.  And then the one thing about it is for us, is he kicking off the ground.  Those guys have a hard time adjusting because in high school they'll have tees and things, and can they adjust to getting on the ground.  Some guys can be super that way and just can't make that adjustment to be able to get it up.  We study a lot of different things, how the lift is, how the drive is, leg strength.
Just like everybody else, there's no magical formula.  We just try to spend a lot of ‑‑ we have a kicking and punting and snapping camp here, and we try to hopefully get as many of those guys to come in that we can evaluate, and we talk to the top people across the country who have seen those guys that we have faith in.
It's just like any other position; you do all your due diligence, you have your checklist of things, and then at the end you still keep your fingers crossed.

Q.  You guys have won 24 straight, but you've had a few close calls this year.  Is the league becoming more competitive in your eyes, and do you foresee a day when teams like Syracuse, Pitt and Boston College in the Northeast can challenge for a league title?
JIMBO FISHER:  Oh, definitely.  Boston College has won one since we've been here, since I've been at Florida State.  I think there's no doubt all those programs‑‑ go look at all those programs, they have great history and great tradition of their conferences.  Pitt and Syracuse I know have won national titles.  I'm not sure if Boston College has, but I know they've won a bunch of conference ‑‑ you go look at the list of pro players and that have been through that organization and coaches that have coached there, I don't think there's any doubt that those teams are‑‑ yes, this league is continually growing and getting better.  Look at the number of players in pro ball, which I always say is second every year, first or second, quality teams, quality coaches, and I think when you have success, I think people do spend a lot of time studying and doing things to you in your off‑season which is what we do to all good teams.  We study people who have success, and I think it brings the league that much closer together, without a doubt.

Q.  Is winning the game in the fashion you did last week more beneficial to your team than if you'd had a blowout victory?
JIMBO FISHER:  You know, I mean, I think you learn from those things because you put yourself in those positions, but also I think you've got to learn not to put yourself in those positions, too.  I think there's give and take both ways.  I think whether you blow a team out or you've won a close game or however you‑‑ I think there's benefits good and bad because there's always positives and negatives, but you do know that you have the ability to reach down deep inside yourself and be able to do those things in pressure situations on the road in those tough environments.  There is something to that.  But at the same time we have to learn to eliminate those situations, also.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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