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FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 28, 2015
COACH FISHER: Very excited to be back in game mode. Look forward to going up to the Wake Forest, playing a great game. They are doing a really nice job, that's why they are 2-2 right now. Lost a tough one other day and played Syracuse very well. We know Syracuse is a very good team also. You saw what they did to LSU this weekend.
So I think they are playing very good defensively. A lot of problems, a lot of issues, do a lot of blitzes, a lot of different looks. Very deep at linebacker. Got all their linebackers back on the starting line. Seems like these guys have been there six years. I think they have been there forever playing against us, and a couple of the front guys and one of the safeties.
They do a good job on defense, a lot of multiple looks, fire zone looks and blitz looks, play a lot of man, a lot of different looks on third down, bring a lot of pressure.
Offensively, they are throwing heck out of the ball. Running it some, too, but really throwing it, spreading it out, making plays, getting yard, kicking game. All kind of different formations, fake punts, will do anything. A very well-coached football team, play very hard, very fundamentally sound. Great leverage on defense. Like I say, account for everybody on offense, you can see they have a great plan. Dave does a heck of a job.
We have to go up there, play well, keep continuing to get better, improve on the things we need to improve on. The things we are doing well, we have to keep continuing to get better. We have to grow each week and take the steps necessary to keep being a better football team, so by the end of the year, we want to be who we want to be.
Like I say, another road game, another as I call, double-whammy game and conference game, and interdivisional game so those are doubly important and must play well and do a good job up there. They always play extremely well at home and play us very well.
Q. This is the first team that you're going to see that really -- what do you expect of them?
COACH FISHER: Well, they are going to spread. They are going to throw a lot of the different concepts. They throw a lot of the same concepts we do: They will be in three-wide, four-wide, empties, different personnel formations. We have got to play ball. We have to be able to pressure the passer. We have to be able to affect him. At the same time, we can't -- like their scrambles, got to get out of the lane and scramble and cover. And they will even max up a lot and block a lot at times, too, which you have to be careful of because you get isolated in one-on-one situations with a lot of time to throw the football. They mix it up and do a really good job.
Q. How is Pender doing?
COACH FISHER: Okay. Still in the hospital I believe, getting out today or tomorrow hopefully. I think what happened with him, he went on a -- his lung was fine, but still had just a little bit, needed to inflate back to and they are waiting for that to fill up. So he definitely won't play this weekend --
Q. Looking unlikely for the next few weeks?
COACH FISHER: I can't tell you that. I have no idea. I have no idea.
COACH FISHER: I thought it was really good. We were physical, got better in all phases, worked a lot of things going on. I like the practices we had last week. We'll find out.
Q. More carries on routes --
COACH FISHER: Well, we'll play with Vickers and Jock Liss (ph). Those guys have practiced well. We've been representing with those guys the whole time in practice so they will get him. They are ready to get them.
Q. What do you see out of --
COACH FISHER: Size, speed, knowledge of what's going on, strength. One is 220, one is 235, big, physical fast guys that bring it downhill, hard to tackle, catch the ball well, pass protect well. Even bigger bodies, you know what I'm saying, that are athletic. Like I said all along, I really like those guys.
Q. How is Lorenzo doing?
COACH FISHER: Good. He'll will practice again today. He'll get back in, keep him in the mix and hopefully be able to play this weekend. But I don't know -- we'll just keep playing, play it by ear on how he's doing, but he keeps progressing right where he thought.
Q. About playing along --
COACH FISHER: He was playing really well, really, really well, he really was. Again, just got to get back in the fold of things and make sure that he can sustain the practices and things.
Q. With Wake defensively are they going to be similar to BC, more blitzes, more of that or --
COACH FISHER: They are a little bit different style than those guys but similar in some things. Different but similar. I know that sounds crazy but there are some similarities to them.
Everybody still has -- in the basis of how you get to the quarterback or what you have to play, it's very similar but they do a great job of mixing the looks up, not just for the pass, but for the run, also.
Q. Last year the pass rush seemed like part of the problem -- those plays played a lot of snaps. The way you guys are rotating this year, is that a factor?
COACH FISHER: I think that has a factor in it. Eddie did a good job last year on the ends, but I think we have more fast twitch guys, got more fast twitch guys and had longer guys. No doubt that hurt -- that helps, too, but I think some of the things that we are doing, and I think the body types are a little different.
Q. First and second down -- you mentioned before.
COACH FISHER: Well, that's the other thing. We are in a lot better down and distances to rush the passer which are very critical, too. We are doing a much better job on first down, you're exactly right. To put them in third-and-long, second-and-longs allow you to do those things. That's a great point.
Q. A couple years back, how much easier, the defensive linemen --
COACH FISHER: It is, because you're not trying to play two or three different types of things. And early downs, you've got to play run and transition to pass, you know what I mean and those things are hard. Or if it's a pass look, be able to pass but understand there's certain runs out of it. And you have to think that when it's third-and-long, you still have to play some things, but not to the extent that you do in early downs. Just eliminates problems and frees your mind and frees your body --
COACH FISHER: He's doing well. He's learning the position, playing well, making calls, very knowledgeable guy. Is going to be a heck of a player.
Q. The line --
COACH FISHER: Good, getting those back in. They are in there. Cole Minshew should be back to playing well. Mavety, he will get some more practice time again today. I think he was cleared to do a lot of things today, too. He might not go full but he'll go about three quarters of practice and get him back in, because he's a big, strong, athletic guy and keep building that depth.
Q. You guys still have a mix-and-match, given there's a starting --
COACH FISHER: No, because those guys haven't played yet, anyway. So the other guys, they are in the mix. Those guys are just great additions.
Q. Could you talk more about the plan going in at running back, assuming Mario doesn't play, will you go with the same plan you always would just putting in another guy?
COACH FISHER: It's always going to fall on Dalvin because he's playing and starting and he'll feel that but we are still going to play Vickers and Jock (ph). We are going to keep them right in the rotation and get those guys in there, because again they have practiced extreme -- it's funny, because we were in some tight games, we have been very comfortable, we felt after the second week right there, middle of that second week you just saw him practicing just like they need to. Feel very comfortable with them in all phases.
And during the week a lot of times we'll take a lot of burden off Pender and Dalvin, getting those guys ready because we feel comfortable when they go in with the ones, we don't miss a beat in practice. So as far as knowing what to do and how to do it, you know what I'm saying, getting those guys comfortable with those guys, so I'm anxious to watch him play.
Q. Specifically last year at Syracuse, where that next guy is always ready, so you're confident that -- just ready to step in?
COACH FISHER: Well that's a position you have to be and you're right, you're right, Tom and Coach Graham does a tremendous job of getting those guys ready and having those guys in the right frame of mind so when that opportunity comes, he's done a great job of that.
Q. With Jock in particular in the preseason you said you want to see him run tougher and a little harder, have you been him --
COACH FISHER: Oh, no doubt, learning to play pad level and hit on the rise and use his physicality and size, you know what I mean. Because the thing about him which is scary, too, is he makes you miss. He's nimble with those feet, got great hands, too.
So all that part of it. But just taking a -- the thing about sometimes when you're used to making guy -- even Dalvin went through this in the beginning when he first started playing. He wanted every run to be a touchdown, you know what I mean, and trying to hit things, instead of taking a four-yard run, okay let me just make it a seven- or eight-yard run, let me drop my pads and go right here, you know what I mean, try to dance around and get caught.
He did that early until he learned, you know what I'm saying, and those runs come. And I think that's what I wanted to see with -- all your great players out of high school are so used to breaking things. Sometimes at this level you've just got to drop those pads and make those four-yard runs, make those six-, seven-, eight-yard runs and those big ones come and he's doing that very well.
Q. How do you teach that? Because the instincts are there, so how do you teach that?
COACH FISHER: Coach them. You just coach them and tell them to do it and show them the opportunities and not allow them to do that. One cut, be vertical, go.
And then hard to tell a guy how to run as far as making moves, but you've got to create those opportunities in the tackles. And then when you get in open space, you've got to be able to do what you do but when you're in between defenders, drop the pads and go and we do drills to do it and coach them to do it.
Q. On the offensive line, was a big question -- how do you evaluate how it's been so far?
COACH FISHER: I've been pleased. We are not where we want to be but we've done a nice job of running the football and first two games especially well we did in the last game but we left a lot of plays in the passing game out there in the last game. We had a couple -- Dalvin is an inch away from breaking a 70-yarder down the sideline, also, you remember, that would have been a big score, too. He got about a 30-yard run on it and we had some opportunities. Isn't totally where we want to be, but I've been pleased with their progress, but they are working hard. They are going to be a good group.
Q. Talking a lot about big plays, giving the guys the message of, okay, the little things you're doing in practice -- guys like Dalvin --
COACH FISHER: Well, they are and how every play and every thing you do is important. You don't know what play changes the game and I say little things, big things; that's probably a misquote by me because really in the end of the day, little things do become big things and that's how you have to look at it. All the little things accumulate together and become big things and you have to understand that, because you don't know when it's a flat route that gets busted or you break a tackle; or it's a post route or a go or a dig or a trap or a counter. I mean, all those things; just the ability to do your job every play and just do what the play gives you. And don't try to do more but don't do less.
Q. Are running backs a little hard headed, in high school, they are probably used to every two carries, taking it all the way? Learning to just get seven or eight yards, does it take some time?
COACH FISHER: I think it depends on the person, you know what I mean. But it's natural because you've been somewhat -- usually you've had that ability to do it, and they still have it here. It's just the opportunities won't be as often as much, and you have got to capitalize when they are. Some guys it is.
But you've just got to learn to, as I say, not force this game. This game is bigger than anybody that's ever coached it, or played it or done anything; or any fan that's watched it or thinks they have got all the answers; or any coach that thinks they've got all the answers; or any player that thinks he's got all the answers.
You've got to play the game, take what's in front of you, react and make the right decisions and play. And I say that, because guys -- we want to go out there and say, I'm going to do good today. I didn't play good last game so I'm going to do better this game. Well, no, do your job this play; do your job the next play; do your job the next play and then you will do better. You can't go out there saying, I'm going to play better, I'm going to play harder. You've got to play hard and tough all the time and react to what's happening.
Q. How much have you had to reinforce with your guys that this season is so much about being patient and doing those things, and the big plays will come?
COACH FISHER: Well, I don't know if it's patience is the word, as the urgency to play hard and play well on every play. I think that's where young guys, their minds drift, just like little kids do sometimes with young players. That's why it's hard for younger players to have that huge impact that say a Winston did, or you're seeing Leonard Fournette last year, Dalvin Cook last year. There's very few guys -- I mean, that really, really make -- Nick Chubb is a guy that just comes to mind, just thinking off the top of my head. Guys that did -- but you can count them on one hand, you know what I mean.
Most of the guys, it's not that they don't have the ability. But it's the maturity level to play every play the right way, you know what I'm saying. It's just like anybody who does their job when they first do it and they first learn it and you first get in the business, you think, well, man, I've had four good days and today I can chill just a hair, you know what I'm saying. And I know that sounds crazy but that's a mentality, you know what I'm saying. It's kind of human -- that's what human nature does to you. As human beings, we look for the easy way out. We look to, oh, we've done enough, I need a break, I need a vacation, I need this. I'm taking that in an extreme context but you have to make them understand every day you create the habits that you don't think that way; that every play in practice is the National Championship; every play in practice is the most important play.
So those habits come through when the game comes and allows them to play better with more consistency.
Q. Needs to play better in practice, how is he responding?
COACH FISHER: No, I don't -- not any better. That's a fact. And I think your habits. And I think he will as his knowledge of what's going on gets better. I think he did that last week some and felt better hopefully will continue to do that. It's not a direct criticism on him or anything or that I think he's at fault for what's going on.
But what I do think is that when your quarterback, you get that ball every play, you know what I'm saying. We want to be perfect all the time? No, we'll never be but we want to be excellent in the meantime and I think that's where he's going to get to. And I think he has that mentality. I think that's the work ethic the things that he has.
COACH FISHER: No, not just -- go execute, get used to the players, how the reads are, how the situation, how the things are called and I think he's progressing in that really well.
Q. Are the coaches still getting adjusted because he's only been here a couple months?
COACH FISHER: At times. I think from just understanding what he likes, what he does, you know what I'm saying, but I'm not anywhere -- I'm very happy with where we are at. We're taking care of the football. The decisions we have been made have been good decisions. We've got to make good throws. But also got to run a route better, got to catch better. There's a block or who we've missed when he's had an opportunity to make a big play or two. It wasn't all just effort. It was an accumulation, I said, each guy took a turn, you know what I mean, and all of a sudden there's four or five big ones and that could have been a whole different situation.
But that's ball. You go back and look at any game you ever played, most of them are like that. It's a game of execution. We have to coach better and we have to coach him better.
Q. Bigger target in the lanes --
COACH FISHER: Practice better. Be consistent.
COACH FISHER: Multiple in defense, like I said a lot of different looks, play great leverage on the football. They are very aggressive offensively. Very well coached, formations, what they do, a lot of trick plays, will move you around and do different things in that regard. Very sound kicking game. They are a very well-coached team, play very hard.
Q. Will you make a decision, you said Sean, trying to break him in --
COACH FISHER: He's practiced well.
Q. Going to try to keep competing?
COACH FISHER: Oh, yes, he's right in there. He had a really good practice last week. He had a really good week of practice last week. I liked what he did. Really exceptionally skillful. We still feel very comfortable with both quarterbacks.
Q. That could go either way.
COACH FISHER: Oh, yeah because you can say, well, blew my opportunity. That shows you the quality of the young man.
COACH FISHER: I heard about it. Caught a few glimpses. We were up here. Can't be happier.
Q. Is he one of those guys that you just saw --
COACH FISHER: See, there's another guy. You talk about guys that had personalities of a team. You talk about missing a guy as far as, not just his play, his personality. The things you were just talking about, how every play was the most important play in the world and if he made a mistake, the look in his eye wasn't that he -- he let you down, you know what I'm saying.
He felt that that's the kind of guy he was and how big of an effect he had on teammates. You couldn't work him hard enough, practice him hard enough, do anything. He just had that special it factor. Like I said, him and Joyner used to run down the field 40 yards just to go meet so they could run into each other and run back, even after a play.
Just the personality and I've talked about Telvin (ph) and Joyner and all those guys -- but that guy, wilder was, there's a lot of those, guys that just loved to practice and everything about it, you know what I'm saying. It can't be happening to a better guy who, one, is talented; two, deserves it, works hard, and is a great ambassador for our school and himself and his family.
COACH FISHER: No, because I think just knowledge of the position. Carlos is a size speed guy and up there -- so everybody says well, he's short but not little. And Carlos' size, speed, and I think just knowledge of the position, you know what I'm saying. It's a third year he's played it now. First year he was a great backup role and even as a starter, you know what I mean, and he didn't have the line -- we were struggling inside a little bit at center early in the year and some things. He ended up having -- we scored 11 touchdowns each year he's played, only played the position twice and now up there doing it at that level.
He's a size, speed guy, tough guy, another guy. He's another guy, practice, all day: Yes, sir; no sir; what else can I do, sir; in practice, a thousand miles an hour. I mean, loved everything about football. And it's showing.
And when you get to that level, I say that, those things show, man. We have a lot of those personalities. I think these young guys are, too, but just getting them to understand the level that every -- I mean, those guys didn't play a play off. They practiced all the time. All the time.
Q. During the season teams lose -- inaudible.
COACH FISHER: And we gain them.
Q. How do you provide time during the season to pay attention if something comes up.
COACH FISHER: We bring recruiting up every day and especially Wednesday, Wednesday nights and Thursday nights we make all of our calls and we make those calls. Sometimes we'll make them Monday and Tuesday, but usually Wednesday and Thursday because early in the week is game planning and stuff.
That's something we account for. Every week, we bring some -- we do some form of recruiting every day, and heavy toward the end of the week, we go through everybody, who is calling who, who has been in contact with who and going to evaluate and do all these types of things.
Again, it's just another thing you have to juggle. Again one of the reasons I want an early signing period in August. You take 12, 15, 18 of those guys off the board that you know you had; how much -- the level of work it would take from your assistants. And during a season, because you can't imagine the amount of hours it takes to do that. It would be critical.
Q. And also during the season, it seems like you have -- players can be making visits to schools --
COACH FISHER: No, you officially, like we can call them once a week, but if we officially -- like when I evaluate, if I go on an evaluation to a school, I can't have contact with that person. I can see the coach, but it's an evaluation. It's not a contact.
Now, he can come here on an official visit, or he can come here on an unofficial visit, you know what I mean. You do those things. Now, if he has signed the early letter, he's a mid-term guy; and he signed that scholarship, and I can have contact with him and our coaches can, but he cannot be on school grounds. He can't be at his school. It has to be off the campus of his school -- you know what I mean -- no, no, just the way it is. That's just the way things are.
Q. Would you be okay with the three-yard count rule if they called it?
COACH FISHER: Me personally, I think one or none, because I think it's unfair to defense a personnel and I'm an offensive guy. It's a run or a pass. Clarify it and play football. We ain't magicians. This ain't trickery, slight of hand. That's just my opinion on it but that's the rule it is so you've got to play by it.
Q. What do you think of --
COACH FISHER: I don't know. I ain't even thought about it. I'm worried about our depth. Still trying to figure out Florida State's depth and make sure we have depth at every position.
I watch the films, they are well-coached, good players and good teams. I know that.
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