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FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 31, 2015
COACH FISHER: Great to be here. Great to kick off another season, sixth season. Really looking forward to it.
Again, I'm extremely pleased with this team in camp. I think for a team that has the youth it has, inexperience it has, at the same time it has some experience and those guys have really put their stamp on this team. But there's young guys that have taken advantage of opportunities. Very pleased where we are in a depth situation as far as the quality of people not only we have talent wise but how I feel comfortable now in putting them in games. Very pleased in a lot of different areas that way.
This team has a great attitude. I think it's looking forward to a very successful season, but there's a lot of work to be done. We have to go out on the field, play, perform, do those kind of things. From an attitude standpoint, from a work ethic standpoint and personality standpoint, very pleased with how camp went. Very physical, hard camp. Right now getting guys back healthy.
Really comfortable going into game week. I don't have everybody quite healthy, but most of them we do. We're in a good situation, in my opinion, and I feel very comfortable going into this week.
Texas State is a very tough opponent. Dennis Franchione has been around a long time. John Thompson on defense, been around each other a bunch of times. (Indiscernible), all the things he does. Heck of a coach.
Cause a lot of problems as far as the running options, spread read zones, I mean all the things that make us throw the football. Defense comes in and blitzes in different packages. Three down, four down, they're all standing out there moving around. They come at different angles, different things. Present a lot of problems.
They've done a great job with that program right now. Getting guys drafted, also playing in the league. They got a great football team. They have a bunch of good guys coming back. I know they're going to come in ready to play. We have to play a good game, our A game, and hopefully we can do the things we need to do and get better as a football team.
Q. Some of those guys are trying to get back health wise, who are they?
COACH FISHER: (Indiscernible), gave him a couple days off. He feels really good getting back in there. Hoefeld, getting him back out there, which is very critical, the guy has played center and done a lot of things.
Of course we got Dalvin back out there for another situation. Getting our receivers back. Getting Travis who had some nicks and knacks, he and Norman, getting those guys fully healthy. They look really good. Bobo and all that head group. Ja'Vonn, get (indiscernible) back out there, played very well.
On defense, we're pretty healthy in the secondary, even though Nate got that thumb. He's practicing good. It's not bothering him anymore. Those young guys are coming on there.
Got Casher back, which is real critical. Two weeks early. That's a surprise. He's playing really well. Getting that big body back, that athleticism. That's just quite a few guys off the top of my head.
I think (indiscernible) is supposed to be back in practice today, too, who was having a tremendous camp.
Q. Have you made a decision at quarterback or you're just waiting?
COACH FISHER: We'll know here very soon. We'll know here very soon. I have a good idea which way we're going with things. We'll talk to our team and I'll let y'all know very quickly, very quickly.
Q. Like in the next 10, 15 minutes? Just kidding.
COACH FISHER: Did you hear that noise? That's me in the next 10 minutes (laughter).
No, not in the next 10 or 15 minutes. I would tell our team before I told y'all. I want you to hear it from me, not coming across a ticker.
Q. You haven't told anybody?
COACH FISHER: I mean, just like I said with Winston, once Jameis took off. They both played tremendous. These guys both have had their moments and shined. They have done the things in their strengths they normally do. Have really improved in a lot of their weaknesses, not perceived weaknesses, things they didn't do as well.
I really feel comfortable with either guy playing, I really do. Both guys are really good football player. That's a good thing.
Q. What have you seen from Everett in terms of growth?
COACH FISHER: First of all, his comfort level. How we practice, the way we do things, the demands we put on our quarterback, the expectations we put on them. The way you go about your business daily. Whether it's individual, to team, to meetings, all those things, I've seen him grow and grow. The knowledge he gained. Knowledge of what we're trying to do. But then his performance on the field. The more times you do it, the more times you see it, the better you get at it. He's doing that.
Q. When you see his comfortable getting there, can you elaborate?
COACH FISHER: It makes me comfortable. It makes me a heck of a lot more comfortable. You say as a coach, what you know doesn't matter. What you can get him to know. What you can get him to understand from you about what you want when you call something, when you do something, when this situation is there, when that situation is there. To be an extension of you.
That comfort level does come because every call I make, what am I doing here. In any call involved, it could be a guard, a tackle, a tight end, a receiver, a runningback, a quarterback, usually putting a stress point somewhere on your football team. Somebody has to step up. That's just the way the game is.
If you have to do that constantly with your quarterback, a very tough game to call. With Sean I don't feel that way. With Everett, I don't feel that way at all either. That allows me to be more free in how we're going to do things.
Q. When he's more free, have you been able to see more athleticism?
COACH FISHER: Oh, yeah. Then you start to see the athletic ability come out. I say you never can see what a guy's capable of until he totally understands what to do and how to do it so he can play fast. You know what I mean? Knowledge allows you to be fast. You can be the fastest guy in the world, if you don't know what to do, you play (indiscernible). You hear it all the time.
Their knowledge growth, it allows their true athletic ability and instincts to take over.
Q. The last two years at quarterback, elite guys, knew your system, your game, did you have to change your approach with the way you handled these two quarterbacks?
COACH FISHER: A little bit because of what their skill level is. I had to play from BJ to Jameis. Each guy, you go back in the history, each guy has been different. What makes him tick, the way he looks at the game, what he sees what he is capable of learning.
I think one of the most important things as a coach, he's got to see it like you see it, but you also has to see it how he sees it. It can't be a one way street. There has to be a bond there and a relationship that you understand so you know how to coach the guy.
Q. Obviously you knew going into fall camp things would be a little different?
COACH FISHER: No doubt. No doubt. The skill set, the things we're going to do. We'll keep a lot of the same things. How we call it, the way we do it, the technique we do it with may be different, whatever it may be.
Q. How has Sean handled the quarterback competition this year compared to years past?
COACH FISHER: I think he really ramped it up this year because I think he felt like he was the guy. You know what I'm saying? I've been very pleased with him at camp, his attitude and everything, his workouts. It's like your redshirt junior year, you know what I'm saying? Your redshirt senior.
Just like what I'm saying, junior redshirt senior, just like Peter Tom back in the day. You go back in the history of Florida State quarterbacks, none of them played when they were juniors anyway. That maturity level, you see that in all the players. When they hit that redshirt junior level, they've got it all figured out a little bit.
The thing that matters, they really don't matter, you kind of learn to walk out and focus and become such a better player. I've seen that out of him.
Q. In general when you're evaluating quarterbacks, how much do you take into account the other players on the roster? Does that make a difference?
COACH FISHER: Yeah. It's not about the quarterback. It's about how the how the quarterback lets the other 10 guys function and play. At the end of the day, what is your job at quarterback? Don't turn it over. Make good decisions and be accurate with the ball. In a nutshell, that's what it's about.
If you could run down the field by yourself, that would be great. The other 10 guys, their skill level, what you do in relationship to them, you know what I'm saying, is very critical.
Q. With that, the importance of the offensive line this year, how do you feel about their comfort level?
COACH FISHER: Really good. I was out there for practice. I was kind of biting my tongue, biting my lip a little bit, not wanting to say it. Their communication, solidifying fronts. We brought every blitz known to man. How we pick up blitzes, quarterbacks, receivers getting the ball out, blocking it, whatever it may be, making all those adjustments. To me that's a very big sign of where your offensive line is because that's where all the stress comes in those situations.
We put them under some unbelievably stressful situations on purpose to do that. Their continuity, their size and athleticism, I think we're probably more athletic than we've ever been.
Q. (Question about the first game.)
COACH FISHER: I feel very confident. What they have to realize is not be ready today, be ready on Saturday. Make sure they spend enough time preparing. You always hear Lamarcus Joyner say it all the time, and we preach it, the power of preparation. It's fun to go do something when you're prepared and you know what's going to happen and you know you know, which allows you to play fast, like you were talking about. I think that's going to be the key. But I think so far it's been tremendous.
Q. With Josh Sweat, what are some of the things you said to him and his family and his coaches?
COACH FISHER: I can't believe this, how is this happening (laughter)? I mean, you're going, you're waiting for this. All of a sudden I put him in a drill. He can do a little bit, okay. How you feel?
I'm fine, coach.
Let's do a little more. All right, how does that feel?
Good coach. Good coach.
You're going, Wow. He healed. I mean, he healed. He's worked hard.
I think the big thing for him, it's not just feeling, but then taking it to the field in your mind, allowing yourself the first time you got cut, the first time you fell in a pile, the first time somebody fell on your leg. You look up, you go, It's okay.
Those are things I think he's really gotten through in camp that is making me very pleased. The amazing thing to me is his eagerness to do it.
Major injuries like that are much more mental than they are physical. You know what I'm saying? Trusting things, being able to put yourself in that situation, be able to go for it again. He's been very, very, very willing to do that. It takes courage. That's a courageous young man.
Q. What was the message to him about how his recovery was going to happen here?
COACH FISHER: We said we're going to do what we think is right. If he played this year, we wanted to play him. If he doesn't, we're not going to jeopardize in any way, shape or form his future. If he could never play again, I don't care.
That was a major injury when we took him. I said we would never do anything to jeopardize him. We would treat him like just like one of my two boys. Get him the best possible rehab, care, doctors, everything we could do. If he was ready to play, we'd put him out there. But I would never, ever do that.
Q. Did you think there was any chance he would be ready?
COACH FISHER: No. No, I didn't go into it with that. I went into it with the big picture vision that he eventually would be ready, what he was, what he could be. The thing about him, you don't realize how good a kid, but a young man, how smart, very good student, those types of things. Just want him in our program. I wanted him because of the person he was.
Q. How do you feel about your receivers?
COACH FISHER: I've been very pleased. Just like I said, the blitzes, the routes, we're being healthy back with consistency. I've been extremely pleased these last six, seven days. I've been very pleased. They have responded in a very good manner.
Q. Texas State?
COACH FISHER: I think their versatility and experience they have in their coaching staff. They're very diverse on offense, they're very diverse on defense. They present a lot of different problems. They're aggressive. They're very well coached. They've got good players. I know that sounds clichÃ©, but that's a fact. This is a good program.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH FISHER: He's healthy. He kept himself in tremendous condition, so not one bit.
Q. You've been up and down with your evaluation of the receivers. Where are they right now? What have you seen lately?
COACH FISHER: The last week, I've been extremely pleased. I really have. We've gotten people healthy. Part of it was we were moving them around in different scenarios, different positions. When other guys got injured, young guys, getting too much work on guys, moving them into position, so it was hard to be consistent. Now that we've got everybody back into health. The last practices I've been extremely pleased.
Q. Travis Rudolph, has he shown improvement?
COACH FISHER: He has. He has. He's getting healthy. His leg was bothering him. He's healthy from that right now. His diversity has been really good.
Q. When you made the decision on your quarterback, you talked about the other 10 guys, how much of a difference was there with their interaction with the receiver and the offensive line? The guy you picked, is there a big difference between how the receivers and offensive line respond to him?
COACH FISHER: No. I don't think as far as personality wise, but I think skill sets are a little bit different. You know what I'm saying? That's the other thing which allows us to move the ball where we are right now as an offense.
Q. Josh Sweat, what are realistic expectations for him this week and the early couple games? Obviously he is working back from a major deal.
COACH FISHER: He is, but he practiced. He went through the full camp. Again, it's going to be his first time he ever walked on the field in a major college football game. A guy like him, he could go out there and have a few plays, get his feet wet, fit into special teams. To have an opportunity to play on defense, he's in our rotation right now. We'll have to wait and see. He may one of those guys that (indiscernible). He just takes off and you see him go. I'm as anxious to see it as you are.
Q. Where is the pass rush right now?
COACH FISHER: Very pleased. We've put extra pressure on the passer in camp. Not because our line has been bad, different blitz packages, three man rush, four man rush, all the things we've been able to do, I've been pleased with where we're at. When we get (indiscernible) back, it's going to be even greater.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH FISHER: He got that burst. I tell you what's rare, and I was worried about it, the feel, not be overanxious. A great back, you only see the speed when speed's needed. Most backs, great backs are tempo runners. They know how to take the hand off, know when to half speed, three quarter speed in the backfield. You know what I mean? Just feel the blocks, see what's happening around them.
Sometimes that takes reps and practice till they get back in the groove. He kind of did it the moment he walked out there. Has a natural tempo and feel to run the football. That's what I was worried about. Just getting back into play. He's done extremely well.
Q. You weren't worried at all about the conditioning?
COACH FISHER: He told us what he's doing, what he does. When you look at him, you could see it.
But he's always been a guy, when he's told me things, they've been truthful. You know what I'm saying? I don't doubt any of that.
Q. The secondary, how is that group shaping up?
COACH FISHER: It's much tougher. Our coverage skills, what we've been able to do, the versatility, the multiplicity of guys we can move in different positions to create different matchups. McFadden, Marcus Lewis, I like both of those guys. It brings a lot to us. I've been very pleased with them, I really have.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH FISHER: I didn't put an expectation on it. I really didn't, because I didn't know him as far as you don't ever know a guy till you coach a guy. I don't care what they say.
What does that guy look like on film? I don't know. I know he messed up, but why did he mess up. I know he did good, but why did he do good. You don't ever know a guy till you coach a guy.
From coaching him, I've been very pleased. Done a great job responding to how we do things, the way we do things. I'm happy where he's at right now.
Q. From year one to year two, what have you seen from your twos now?
COACH FISHER: I just hope they stay the same consistency.
Same Roberto. The leg strength is there, the accuracy is there. The consistency is there. Kickoffs are even stronger to me right now.
Q. As a coach, is it difficult to gauge how long the offense is against the defense? When they go against each other, do you get a barometer of what you think they're going to do come Saturday?
COACH FISHER: I wish I knew. I'd sleep better all week. I joke about it. You don't ever know these guys until they get out there. I know both sides have worked extremely hard. Both have had moments when one is better than the other. Had their days. Responded to adversity. From that standpoint, I think we're comfortable with where we're at.
Q. Do you feel the offense has developed an identity?
COACH FISHER: I really do. I think the group up front, the size you get caught up in they're so athletic. You can do a lot of things. I think our skill guys are versatile. We can do a multitude of things how we play and we can throw it. It's going to create some fun watching these guys developing into their roles.
Q. The quarterback competition, will either guy have a short leash?
COACH FISHER: I'm not going to short leash anybody. When I played, I don't want somebody looking over my shoulder every mistake I made. I don't coach that way. In the end I'll put the guy in the game that I think can win the football game.
But you can't play like that. You can't coach like that, you can't play like that, you can't write like that. You write one bad article, it's hard to function like that. You know what I'm saying? I have supreme confidence in it. It takes time.
Q. The pass rusher, what are you seeing?
COACH FISHER: The think the transition from run to pass. What I'm saying is read the run pass keys a lot quicker. You know what I'm saying? That comes with experience and transitioning.
It's hard play action, then that's much harder than people ever dream up. The first thing you have to do is stop the run. If you get in third and long and all that, that's a whole different animal. Once we did that, our guys this year, the whole body types are conducive to doing that. Moving guys around in some of our nickel packages inside to create better rush guys, too.
Q. Was that done in the off season?
COACH FISHER: It was. And experience. It's body types, too, can make a big difference, too, a huge difference. But you go through those years.
Q. Jacob Pugh.
COACH FISHER: Jacob played well. Plays the run really well. He can get there. Hopefully he can do that. He can stand up and cover. Jacob's a very versatile player, very versatile player.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH FISHER: I can't thank them enough not to have to do that. He's a class guy, a great guy. I thank them for that. Like I say, anytime. That happens to be our charity. Anytime we can help any childhood charities or any charity at all, we want to be that way. As an athlete, you can have a huge impact in the large window in which you're seen. I think for him to do that that's a huge gesture and I thank him for that.
Q. Have you had others come to your program and ask?
COACH FISHER: I don't know if we have. I want to say there's one. Don't hold me to it. I would very willingly do it, whatever it is.
Q. Any change as far as how you approach it?
COACH FISHER: No, not from a philosophical standpoint. You try to learn from mistakes of the past. I think as a head coach, it's important to try to see where the game's going. You got to be careful.
The hard thing is you have success, a lot of success, you want to keep things status quo. At the same time, if you sit and do that, people can pass you by. Where the game of football is going, whether it's training, nutrition, mental health, all the things that go into it, sometimes people just don't see.
We constantly make changes. We do every year. Even in our X and O's, we constantly make changes in everything we do. You don't have to get sick to get better. You got to keep pushing that envelope knowing the difference.
It's tough because you say, well, I don't want to change all this. That's been pretty good here for quite a few years. But you got to be willing to push that envelope. To me, that's what it is. They have to make adjustments on the run.
Q. I remember you saying until you're a head coach, you don't know what it's like. What did you not know in 2010?
COACH FISHER: I guess probably a lot. But, no, I just think the finalization of decisions. You know what I mean? I think that's the biggest thing. How many hats you really, really had to wear throughout a season or throughout a year.
In other words, people say you speak, but there's so many other little things daily that you deal with, from dealing with office personnel, dealing with administration personnel, dealing with team issues, school issues. It's endless. What's funny, after five years, they keep bringing new hats. You know what I mean? There's still a new hat or two. I never had to do this before.
It's just the nature of the position, the nature of the beast. I think you have to be a very open minded person and aware of a lot of things in this world as a coach today because of multiplicity of things that go on. Our kids, because of social media, it gets there quicker, they all know about it. You know what I'm saying? I think you have to stay in tune to a lot of things.
Q. Day to day practices, sometimes the fans will try to read good news, bad news.
COACH FISHER: (Indiscernible). He might have made me mad walking over there. You know, he says some dumb things sometimes. He does say some dumb things. Don't get into all that.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH FISHER: I am. I like this team. I don't know where it's going to be, but it's got me extremely excited to coach them and see where they're going to go.
I like the demeanor, I like the attitude, I like the culture around here. I love our coaches. I know the staff, the support staff we have around them are going to do everything possible to be successful. That's all we can do.
Q. (Indiscernible) how the Rose Bowl went in January?
COACH FISHER: No. It's just the culture and expectations here. I don't motivate ourselves off of that, I don't think our players do. I mean, they want to win. This is a new group of guys trying to make their own ways, trying to create their own identity. This team has a one year life expectancy and they want to make it special.
Q. Do you think the players can put that game out of their minds?
COACH FISHER: I do. I mean, again, you win 59 0, what does that get you in the next game? Nothing. You got to go play.
Q. Starting the season here at home, any more comfort in being home?
COACH FISHER: I think there is. I think it's good to be here. Kids look forward to it. I think just the fan base. Great opening up here. I hope the comfort level will allow them to play well.
Q. Any defensive tackles emerge?
COACH FISHER: Christmas, of course Derrick Mitchell is in that group. I have Nnadi in there now. Chris Jones has done a nice job. He's come on really well. Arthur had a concussion, he's coming back. Think that group of young guys are getting better and better.
When you go 3 4, can play the big body in there. Giorgio is another guy playing really well in this. 6'6", 6'7", 270 pounds, very pleased with the way he's played.
Q. When do you think you might get Featherston back?
COACH FISHER: I'm hoping a week or two. You know what I mean? Again, he was one of our top defensive pillars when he got injured. Standing up, doing the multiplicity of things he was doing, being physical. He can change some things. I've been very pleased. Hopefully the next week, two weeks, three at the most maybe.
Q. Picked up some more pass push moves?
COACH FISHER: Just knowledge. Being confident. Being here. Being older. I can do this. Working out in the off season. Going through spring ball, all those things, having success. You know what I mean? I think the things we're doing with him right now, how we're playing, I think is very conducive to it.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH FISHER: He should be released fully. He had a concussion. Went two days, all the reps, no contact. He should be full go Monday, today.
Q. He had such a strong spring.
COACH FISHER: He had a good solid fall camp. Still he's doing some really nice things. Going to be a really good player.
He's a hard worker. He's a tough son of a bitch. He's physical, really is.
Q. We've asked you this before, about Saturday night games. What do you think your players like?
COACH FISHER: I think they like the lights. Once they get over the wait, I think they like the nights. You ask them, probably 50/50. Just like parents, what you think your kids would like, you get it, no, they want something else.
No, I think they like the night games because they're very special.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH FISHER: No, I mean, I hate early, early games, but you hate night games. Whatever, I used to hate early games, I used to hate late games. Don't worry about it, just go out and play.
Q. Do you like the kick game?
COACH FISHER: Yes, I do. That's looked very well in our pre season camp. I'm anxious to see it in the games. Hope we don't have to see it a lot in the games. Good punt returns, that's what I want to see a lot. I think we have better body types at certain positions that allow us to do a better job at different positions.
Q. Coaching to do a better job?
COACH FISHER: No, I don't think it has anything to do with that. I think it has to do with certain body types, certain positions, how you got to do things. Sometimes you just don't have it.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH FISHER: Had a great camp. Really turned himself into a heck of a receiver, inside or outside. You know that sucker can run. He's really turned into a really good route runner. I'm really pleased with him now.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH FISHER: He's going to start and play, yeah.
Q. Were you able to give any walk on scholarships this year?
COACH FISHER: We moved a couple guys. I'll give you a list of those later. We have two guys very well deserving. They've done a great job academically and done a great job on the field, too.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
COACH FISHER: Thank you, guys.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports