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FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 19, 2015
COACH FISHER: Very excited about our win this weekend against Louisville. Again, I said Louisville is a very good football team going in, their record was not indicative of their talent, and the way they played, had some tough breaks.
Again they were a very good front seven team that we knew we knew was going to get pressure and give our lines some challenges early. They did, we made adjustments. Our guys battled and did a good job. Secondary-wise, they have very good players. We knew the quarterback was going to be a challenge. Very proud of the way our defense kept contained pressure of the quarterback. Got five sacks in the game, effected, batted a lot of balls, made some plays that way. Special teams did a nice job.
And now we've got to move on. We have to keep getting better and move on. Playing a Georgia Tech team that -- very tough. I think this game -- you know, all games are disciplined in toughness but I think this one especially is because they are going to limit your possessions on offense. You have to get off the field on third down and stop them when you get a chance because they can eat the clock, play angles, play the pitch, play the quarterback and all of a sudden the play-actions and the verticals and swing routes. They are very challenging and the cut blocks and all the things they do when they run their offense; Paul is a heck of a football coach.
Defensively, very aggressive. Force turnovers. Play great leverage on the football, tackle well, very fast, very athletic defense, a lot of the same guys we played against last year. A lot of returning starters in that group, big, physical guys inside, athletic guys. We recruited a lot of those guys. Be a very disciplined game.
We are going to have to play with a lot of discipline because possessions could be limited and you have to make sure you maximize those and play from a position of strength which will be very hard. This will be a very challenging game, as it always is and we have to get better this week and accept the challenge.
Q. What Georgia Tech does on offense -- is it different than anyone you've seen so far this year?
COACH FISHER: Oh, no doubt. It's the true bone and ham bone and all that stuff you used to call, the motions, but then they got the wheel routes, the pass routes, the quarterbacks -- you've got so many different options. And the way they block, which is not il -- it's clean, it's good blocking. You've got to play those cut blocks and that's what this offense is based on, and years ago that's what football was across the country. They are very disciplined and good at it and Paul knows it. It's tough.
Q. With Marshall out, are you looking a number of candidates?
COACH FISHER: We have some guys, some young guys that are really emerging in practice. I think you'll start to see, you'll get Tyler Hunter in that group; Javien Elliott who is playing tremendous football. Those two young corners are really emerging in that thing, Marcus Lewis and Tavarus McFadden I think in the last two or three weeks -- and I keep selling those freshmen out each week and you see them jump in. Those guys have gotten healthy. That was the big string. One had a hamstring and one had a bruise.
Now those guys are healthy and those guys, Marcus can play star, he can play safety, he can play corner. You've still got to be able to move Jalen in. They are playing outside. There's a multitude of things in which we can do and we will do at that position.
But not -- we are happy with Tyler and all that, but for matchups. And Tyler has to be able to play corner. He's played safety. He's done a lot of things. And getting those two freshmen back in the mix I think will be very critical for us.
Q. Trey's injury, what was he doing well, tough to replace --
COACH FISHER: You name it: Making calls, being physical, tackling in space, covering. Just competing. The amount of time he's on his own studying -- and that's what I was so proud of. I hate he got injured because I mean, this game rewards you when you do things right. You cut corners, it punishes you and it's like life, it's no different.
But this guy was doing everything right to play well. It wasn't just about ability. It wasn't just about instincts. It was putting the preparation in, the hard work, the practice, the conditioning. Everything he had to do to be a good football player, and he was doing it.
Q. When you lose a guy like that early on in the game, you have to make adjustments, how difficult was the last two weeks --
COACH FISHER: Well, it was two different scenarios, two different teams. And you saw the first two was miscommunication, was two different guys and they got a play and we got it adjusted and we got back to the sideline. But those guys are like losing quarterbacks back there. They are tough. And he manages those very well.
Q. It seems like every game, there's either injury or DQ in the secondary and you have to adjust. What have you seen from Derwin?
COACH FISHER: He's learning to not play hesitant. Playing fast. And he made some mistakes. Some of them, there's mistakes and you can't see. But sometimes he'll play so hard he'll overcome them or somebody else will.
But the thing I ask him: You can't sit and worry about every little thing. You have got to play fast, you have to play free and you have to react to things, and he's doing that. He's taken to everything I'm trying to say and doing that. Everything's not perfect but his adjustments, his ability to blitz, tackling in space. I mean, he's emerging into the kind of football player we thought he could be.
Q. What is Nate's status?
COACH FISHER: He had a little pressure on his knee. It was just bothering him a little bit and there was no need to put him in there. He'll rest a couple days this week and should be good about the middle of the week.
Q. For a kid to come in like Elliot did --
COACH FISHER: But I'm going to say this: To do what he's done at the level he's doing it at on the talent, the kind of team that we are recruiting consistently, it's hard. Walk-ons do, you have those special ones that come in, and I think he's done a great job.
But there was a guy on scout team a year or two ago, and you said, man, he's got a little ability. And he was showing it on scout. He wasn't just going throw the motions. He was able to play. We said, maybe this is a guy we need to look at on special teams.
Those guys, it rewards guys who hustle, whatever their role is. I always tell a guy: If you have got one play, whatever your role in this team is, be the best at it you can be. If you're a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper in the world If you're a dentist, be the best dentist. If you're a ditch digger, be the best ditch digger. Whatever you do, be the best at it. Take pride in it.
And he did that as a scout team player and we noticed him, got him on special teams, all of a sudden, he's got ability. I said, we could use him here. Let's get him some reps. He's over here, so let's rep him in the secondary, he could be a guy we could put in and all of the sudden, he's learning; he's doing. He can make plays. He's practicing at the ones and twos, and all of the sudden he sees: I can make plays. He gets confidence and it's just tremendous. I'm very happy for him.
Q. And you went to him over some guys who have been on scholarship. There are other guys on this team that you've seen on the field --
COACH FISHER: Ain't no way -- ain't no -- who -- you play well, you play. You practice well, you play. And it's nothing against those guys. He is just -- been exceptional in what he's trying to do, his whole attitude.
Q. The physicality last year against Georgia Tech, Trey and Jalen had a lot of physicality on the edges. If you have to play some of the younger quarters?
COACH FISHER: But also you can play with safeties, those backers, you've got to do that but put them in different positions to do it, however you've got to do it. There's always concern when you do that because that game tests it. You have to make them.
Q. Is there anything that you can do for your freshmen seeing this offense for the first time; is there anything in particular to prepare them?
COACH FISHER: We worked in the off-season on it. We worked in the off-week on it. That was one of the teams we worked on. We knew it would be tough coming in. We put packages in. We're ready to go.
Q. Third year or fourth year where they really start to blossom. For Kermit, is anything other than maturation as to why he's been so successful?
COACH FISHER: I think Kermit, if you go back and watch Kermit, he's been asking to play a position, he still really never played in high school, or his whole life because what I mean is, everybody always gave the ball to Kermit. You pitched it to him, you punted it to him, you kicked it to him; occasionally you threw it to him. But they weren't a school who threw the ball a lot.
And what a lot of fast guys do is they are fast with the ball; they don't ever learn how to play without the ball. You've got to be fast or faster; as a receiver, it's more important to be faster without the ball, you know what I'm saying, to create the space to get open; and then understand how to run routes, understand how to run coverage.
So really Kermit, even though he's a receiver, but he had to learn how to play receiver. Does that make any sense? I mean, and all the little things about it. And then also, it was hard and we've talked about with him, it was hard for him to play fast without the ball because he'd never done it.
Again it goes back to what I would say: You know the direction as to where you're going. If you know, you can go real fast. If you don't, you're stopping at every sign, looking and turning and guessing, you know what I mean. The comfort level of doing it; now he's done it enough, he's had some success with it, his confidence is growing and like I say, he feels more comfortable, and he still has a lot to do. But he's getting much better and very proud of the work and the time he's put in.
Q. A lot of team are going with bigger receivers and you have some taller guys. What's the value in still having someone who is 5-8 like Kermit and having a different type?
COACH FISHER: Well, getting the ball in his hand, he's so dynamic, pure speed, athleticism, change of direction. Think about this, I know it sounds crazy, but when you tackle little guys, if they are special, I think great quickness or something special about them, you know what I mean. When you go to tackle them and you're 6-2 or 6-3, what do you have to do most of the time? When you're going to pick something up or get something shorter than you --
Q. You've got to get low.
COACH FISHER: And what else do you do? As soon as you get low -- as soon as you start to get low, what do you do --
Q. Slow down.
COACH FISHER: -- slow down. You slow down. You get slow, you know what I mean. To run through a little guy, it's hard. You go, and you go to bend down, you're running full and you start to slow -- all of a sudden those guys are that electric quick or even if they are not great speed, just great change of direction guys. You see it all the time. They are hard to get on the ground.
And the thing about Kermit you don't realize, even though he's short, shorter than me -- make sure you tell him that -- he's not little; and what I mean by that, he's strong in his features and his bone structure. He's not a frail guy. He has -- if you look at his legs, and his rear end, his thighs, I mean, the power, he can explode. When he hits guys, he can explode into guys. And that's why he can run as a short guy to have that distance in the 100 and 200 and the amount of power he had. And he's thick up here; he's strong in the weight room. He's short but he's not little, if that makes any sense.
So he can take punishment. He can change direction. You've got to slow to catch. It's hard to run through a guy like that, you know what I'm saying, and then you have to bend down to do it, and by that time he's gone. He's a very good player. And he's got toughness. He's got some toughness.
Q. You talked about the difficulty preparing for Georgia Tech, specifically, the cut blocking. You can't emulate that in practice, can you?
COACH FISHER: Well, you can. We do it. We cut each other and we'll do it. We do cut drills all the time. You don't like to tackle all the time in practice because of injuries and taking guys to the ground but you've got to simulate it at times. And we'll do that and we'll have cut drills and we'll have individual; but still they are going to do it better than we can practice it. But you've just got to have experienced guys and trust your technique and play fast.
Q. Dalvin's hamstring, is there a chance without having to take a bunch of rest that he can move past that?
COACH FISHER: It's getting stronger and stronger. Like he says, it's not like it was the first time. And it's just something that's like anything, you've just got to continue to strengthen. And we'll have to monitor how much time we give him off to how much we work him and things like that.
Q. So you will -- is there any reason just to sit? Can you just sit him during practice?
COACH FISHER: Yeah, we do. I do sometimes.
Q. A whole week?
COACH FISHER: If you had to. If you had to. But sometimes, that can be more detrimental than it is helpful. It goes back into the training method, you know what I mean. What we think is best with the physical therapist and things for how they are training the hamstring, you know what I'm saying.
Sometimes it is but sometimes by the degree of the pull or whatever it is, you got have to keep strength in it, can make it worse. You're going over my head on that stuff.
Q. In terms of the GPS numbers and technology, how does that help in terms of Dalvin and a hamstring injury?
COACH FISHER: Well, we can limit how many yards we want, how many accelerations we want, how many max accelerations. Do we not want him to get over 12 miles an hour, 15 miles an hour, 14 miles an hour, 16 miles an hour, 18 miles an hour.
You can limit that and see okay, we don't want that, and if there's so many over that, that's enough of that. And then, you know, can we give him a little more long distance; and do we want him to strain and keep that speed up for a while, or do we just want burst. I mean, controlling how we practice, we see that, Dalvin, and let him feel, okay, that was one, that's about where we want you right there, you know what I'm saying, and not having to strain or let up. We need five more like that, but then after that we can go back, you know what I'm saying, and having that regime and that information right there to be able to train.
Q. Has he been good about being honest with you --
COACH FISHER: Extremely. I trust him whole heart -- and I told him, I said, if you're really hurt and I find out, me and you going to have a problem. Me and you going to have a big, big problem. Because there's nothing that's ever worth any player's safety and that's the truth. But he is -- everything he's told me has been dead on.
Q. How fast can he get there coming off --
COACH FISHER: He broke 23 in training and things in the summers. He broke 23, high 22s, 23 at times.
Q. With his speed, he can really hit that second gear when he's in games. He doesn't hit that gear in practice?
COACH FISHER: When he wants to. He does sometimes. Them guys get competitive now. He'll get 20, 21, 22. He can hit 23 in a game -- that was in the summer; he ain't had to, you know what I'm mean. He's hit 21, 22 in practice. Them guys get to talking and competing in practice; they get going. Some of our best competition, now I keep saying this, we love -- that's why we practice like we do. We practice good on good every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Q. You talked about how important it is to get them off the field on third-and-long, this past week --
COACH FISHER: Not very good. And it was silly things. I mean, we're setting there and the backer is chasing a five-yard drag and we had a 15-yard dig and it's third and 14. We are going to react. Just undisciplined. We are in a seam and we're wide to the numbers and we're supposed to be two yards outside the hash and we are almost to the numbers on the back side, that one, they come off the goal line. And the backer drops another yard. I mean, we should have been setting right there.
Just alignments, assignments, you know what I mean, little technique and some of those younger guys, some of those younger players that you're playing but they have got to go through that. You've got to show it and do it and make plays and they hit a couple good plays. But it's just we've got to get better at it.
Q. A running quarterback like --
COACH FISHER: It's execution. Goes back to execution. We have to coach it better and they have to do it better.
Q. Going against Lamar Jackson, how does that prepare you for Georgia Tech?
COACH FISHER: It's different because of the true runs and the option you're going to do. But they ran quarterback run now. It's similar in that you've got to have leverage on the ball. You're got to tackle well and you've got to get people to the ball. They didn't pitch it. Of course, now we go tackle this guy, he's going to get rid of it or give it to somebody else.
But your zone read is kind of like that. Really when you go zone read, people don't realize -- veer, your zone read, crash as I pull it (indiscernible) guy comes to me, I pitch it on a back or a throw a bubble. It's really all triple option. But this is different because the blocking schemes are different.
Q. Terrance Smith?
COACH FISHER: Getting better and better. It's day-to-day. He's feeling better. But those high ankles, sometimes just got to see how much power's in it. But he's rehabbing the heck out of it. It looks good, but now you've got to get the strength back in it.
Q. You said after the game, something to the effect of, you still don't think your team knows how good it can be. So how good do you think this team can be?
COACH FISHER: I think it can be if it keeps playing -- we're going to find out. That's our job as a coach to get them to be as good as they can be. I think we can be a heck of a football team, we will really do. We have all the things in place. We just have to play well and understand that and take advantage of the opportunities.
Q. How much of the cornerback commitment to stopping the run is a concerted effort by the coaching staff this season? Seems like they have really stepped up to bat, and what else have you seen on the film from the secondary --
COACH FISHER: Well, it has been the secondary and we are committed, we've always been committed but I think our front people are playing -- using our hat and hands better, playing with better leverage, not getting us out of our gaps, being disciplined.
I think our backers have learned to come downhill much better and fit gaps, and also take blockers off our down guys which has been critical which has been bouncing things to unblock secondary players and we are tackling well in space. I think it's a combination of all three.
Q. Nile the other day, looked like he played as well he had --
COACH FISHER: He has.
Q. What does he bring to you?
COACH FISHER: Experience, knowledge. He's feeling like that fifth year senior, the confidence, strength, he's powerful, he's athletic. Just emerging into the kind of player we thought he could be.
Q. He's pretty quick --
COACH FISHER: Remember now, he was a 280-pound middle linebacker. He stood up. He never put his hand to the ground until he came here. I mean, he is very -- he is athletic to move.
Q. Is there a sense of urgency for him, knowing it's his last year?
COACH FISHER: I think it is that; plus he went through the injury. Was playing real well early and then lost it. And sometimes, you know you love something, but all of a sudden it's gone how much you really love it and you want to make sure you get the most of the opportunity you have next.
Q. The two young cornerbacks, in preseason camp -- from injuries -- is it a matter of the injury or falling behind?
COACH FISHER: Well, it was a matter of the injury and falling behind. But now they have gotten caught -- the last two or three weeks, we felt really good about playing them in the game. They are ready. You can see they are big, they are long, they are athletic, you know what I mean, and they can play multiple positions.
And they are very smart. They are very intelligent. Just the other guys that have played, Mark and those guys and Trey have been playing really well with Derwin but we feel comfortable in that mix. It's time for them to come on.
Like I said last year, who was Dalvin Cook at this time last engineer? How much had Dalvin Cook done, you know what I mean, the other receivers. Travis Rudolph was just a guy you kind of played a little bit, you know what I'm saying.
About the middle of the year, all those guys, it happens every year, that's where some of these really young freshmen, even the ones that maybe didn't get out of the gate well, got injured, get that second wind. We're into almost NFL seasons now. So you've got to get those, keep developing those guys. That's why we practice like we do, keep developing those guys throughout the year to start adding depth and things into what you need.
Q. Can McFadden play the star or just Lewis?
COACH FISHER: Lewis is probably more natural at the star but he could, but McFadden, those guys are very talented.
Q. Talking about how good this team can be, I understand -- coming out for a few more weeks but do you like where you team is at right now?
COACH FISHER: Yes, I thought we're emerging and evolving like I thought we would. I thought there would be some moments early that wouldn't play to what your potential is.
But you have to go through those -- that process, you know what I'm saying, and play well enough to do the things and just keep looking at yourself and evaluating yourself and keep taking that next step.
And I am very pleased where we're at. Now we just have to keep evolving. But I am pleased, because the attitude is there, the effort is there, the toughness. We just keep getting a little better in execution, keep getting better and adding little packages.
Q. The traditional polls don't mean as much as they used to and some Florida State fans have said one-loss teams have jumped Florida State similar to last year, do you pay attention --
COACH FISHER: I control what I can control. And that's all we can do is play. If we play well and do what we can do, then I'll get in that battle. But right now we have a lot of football left to do and we just need to play football and get better.
And I say that, because, what am I going to do? What am I going to do at the end of the day? The only way you can affect the way people think of you is play, and keep playing well and keep winning games and that's what we do.
Q. Is there a different feeling when you're not -- the last two years, you were the hunted and two years ago, kind of came out --
COACH FISHER: You tell them teams we're playing ain't hunting us. They want to get a piece of us (laughing). Not really.
Q. You're not talked about all the time now; is it a different feeling? Is it better for the kids?
COACH FISHER: I don't know. I mean, you've got to learn to deal with all those things. I think my focus maybe is off of it more because of different -- each team has its own way. As a coach, you have things you have to focus on that you know they are going to make you better. My focus may be on different things, younger guys, developing guys.
But the end of the day, people always, it matters what they say about you and things. People say that all the time but it does. All people care, you know what I mean. Like I tell our guys, the only way you can control things is keep doing your job, go to work, play well each week; things will take care of itself.
Q. You looked at that second half. How good was Everett compared to what he had done before?
COACH FISHER: He wasn't real bad in the first half. We weren't good around him you know what I mean. He left plays on the field and he left plays opponent the field in the second half. He was really good. He made the plays he had, had some opportunities.
Still a lot of things we have to clean up -- and I'm not saying that in critical but a very positive way because you see what he has the potential to do and he was doing that. But he was really good in the game, getting rid of the ball, managing the clock, milking the clock down, snapping the ball at the right times. Making the critical third down throw for the red zone that got us up three scores. Great throw right there, Travis Rudolph. Great drive on the other thing. We had a lot of run pass options and things that were going on with him. He was getting us in and out of the right plays and getting the ball to the right people and I think relaxing.
I think more each week, just getting comfortable with the plays, the reads, what we are wanting and just as I say: Your mind is free, your heart's full. Just react. See things, know it, do what you're coached to do, you know what I mean, and play hard and he's doing that more and more.
Q. That also the offensive line --
COACH FISHER: Oh, they did around him. Everybody's got to be in sync. I mean, everybody's got to be in sync.
Q. When you say in sync, when Everett breaks containment, are receivers getting a better idea of how to --
COACH FISHER: We've got scramble rules. You did that with Jameis. Jameis used to make so many plays when we scramble when you broke the pocket. Those good ones do. They keep their eyes up, the ball up, as they are attacking the line of scrimmage and he's doing a good job of that, and we are getting -- finding those gaps better.
Q. How much of Everett feeling more comfortable, feeling more confident with the receivers and knowing where guys are going to be --
COACH FISHER: Exactly, their body language, even just knowing the play; but how a certain guy runs a route. You want them to all run the same, but everybody's got their own trigger points. You can see when his shoulder goes or his head goes or his arm goes where that trigger point is and what he's going to do. Just learning each other, the more and more you're around each other, I think all those things are factors.
Q. Has that been by design or by coincidence?
COACH FISHER: A little of both. I think it's both. Both guys working hard and taking advantage of opportunities and we've designed some things but again I've been very pleased with Travis Rudolph and Bobo. I've been very pleased with Izzo and Mavin Saunders, Ermon and we've got to get Ermon and Ja'Vonn going in that group, too, can make it really good.
Those young tight ends, Izzo, played his tail off in that game. Blocking, catching balls, doing things, and that guy is evolving into a really good -- Sanders, his role, that catch he made on the sideline, you see what I keep talking about. That's a 6-5, 255-pound guy. Those guys just keep coming.
Q. You're closing in on tying the record foremost wins in the ACC in a row --
COACH FISHER: I didn't know that.
Q. You've obviously been very talented over these last few years but what about the mental things you guys do in your program that's helped you win so many games in a row within ACC competition when you have been targeted as the No. 1 team for quite some time?
COACH FISHER: Well, I think, you know, again goes back to, and I say this, you control what you can control and I think you've got to get yourself mentally, psychologically and physically ready to play.
We spend a lot of times with our kids trying to -- I call it all the time, eliminating the clutter. When there's tons of things in your head, it's hard to focus. And learning how to compartmentalize at the right times of the day, the week, the travel, before a game, after a game; and then when things go on in a game, how you compartmentalize and handle pressure and how you deal with things and the way you get out of it.
We spend a lot of time. Some work, some don't all the time and guys get it at a slower pace. But I think those are all very critical factors. We talk about talent all the time, but you have got to teach guys how -- and there's so many factors that go into success and failures. I mean, it's unlimited.
I sit and think of new things everybody day and somebody else -- I didn't even think of that, that's a factor, you know what I mean. I think the more you can help those guys understand that and just simplify. We all want -- because at the end of the day, we can have all this knowledge. If I'm thinking about 50 things, I'm no good at anything. I do this, this, and this. This, and solidifying the days. Today I've got to do this and this and this. Don't worry about it. Go to bed, quit worrying about all the other stuff and tomorrow do this.
And all of the sudden, when those situations occur, I have my library of things I've got to do. I think teaching young men, women, whatever, how to compete that way and compartmentalize, is extremely critical. We spend a lot of time in that.
Q. Just going back to the rankings real quick. There's been a lot of talk about where Florida State, even if they are undefeated will be in the rankings. Why do you think your team deserves to be ranked among the top in the nation?
COACH FISHER: I think the consistency in which we play with, the way the program is, the history of the program, what it's meant, who it's competed with. This team here, you say each individual team; this team is accepting all the challenges and right, now I'm not worried about it.
At the end of the day, we have got to win the rest of these games. We have some big-time opponents in front of us that they say are highly-ranked. If we take care of our business and do our business, it will take care of itself and I believe that.
Q. Obviously player safety is a big part of targeting -- how frustrating --
COACH FISHER: It is, because you're talking about a guy -- I don't think the players does it on purpose. And everybody knows whose got the ball. I mean, you miss that, that's critical, and again, we've said it; we've got to do what we've got to do.
I don't think they do it on purpose. I don't think officials make bad calls on purpose. But you have to to be responsible. That's a very -- can be a very -- that can be as devastating or more devastating sometimes as injuries or even a targeting call. I hope you'll see it.
Because I'm going to tell you one thing: When 8 and 4 run, usually you're trying to get them from behind when they get out in space. So hopefully we'll see the next one.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports