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FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 23, 2015
COACH FISHER: All right. Very excited about the game we played Saturday. I thought our kids played inspired, passionate, and thought they played hard. Competed in the game the way we want to compete in the game from the first play to the last play.
Happy we got a lot of those young guys in the game. You saw a lot of those young players get out there and make plays offensively and defensively. You see the flash and the abilities. And getting them in the games is so big for their futures and even the depth for which we have to finish this season off with Florida and the bowl game. Those guys will all be needed. It was great played a lot of guys. Thought defense was outstanding in the game. They got a couple little plays early, and we really settled down. They're a good football team, very well coached. Controlled the line of scrimmage. Tackled well, for the most part.
Missed one tackle. Give them a field goal there on the second or third drive. We had the stop. Other than that I thought we did a nice job. Offensively very efficient. Scored eight out of the nine drives. Executed in the red zone.
Had one hiccup down there on the goal line, we just missed a block, it was that simple. Missed a block and didn't get in. But very efficient.
Sean played outstanding. Thought Dal was outstanding. Kermit, the receivers, everybody, I thought, did a really nice job on the day. Kicking game, I thought we were good. Great to see Nyqwan go in there and get some punts also, punt return game going on.
Unfortunately, Kermit had the fumble. It was a great return, blocked well. He just had poor ball security. Had the ball down, it was loose away from his body and got it knocked out. We gotta make sure we clean that up. Thought we punted the ball, punted it well. And Roberto kicked the ball well. Outstanding.
Putting that all aside. Now, one of the reasons you come to Florida State, play the University of Florida. Outstanding team. Jim has done a tremendous job, they're 10-1, ranked in the top 10. Right now they're outstanding the way he coaches.
He's a great person, first of all, and he's a great coach. Done a great job with those guys. Offensively, you know, Taylor is a heck of a back, great young lineman, good skill guys out wide. Robinson and (indiscernible), those guys can really play out wide. And Powell in the slot, I mean the tight ends, Harris, we recruited, outstanding with his legs, can throw it deep. Does a really nice job in the game.
Defensively, they're outstanding. They're one of the top units in the country -- they're strong against the run, strong against the pass. There's not a weakness on their defense.
They played all the way through. Good in the kicking game. Typical Florida-Florida State matchup. Both of us are ranked very high. Both of us have a lot on the line to play for, and that's why you come to Florida State, to be able to compete in these games.
It will be a tough, hostile environment, we know that. That's why you come here. They're outstanding as heck. Hargreaves and those guys, Morrison and Bullard and Brantley, I mean, all those guys, they're all outstanding players.
I can go on and on, offensively and defensively, and everybody they've got. But that's why you're here. We're a good team, they're a good team. We'll square off and play on Saturday night.
Q. As far as that defense, it's another tough defense --
COACH FISHER: It's like every week. Every time we face somebody it's a top 10. We faced -- as I look at it, I get caught up in it, but, man, we have faced about everybody in the top 10 or 15, have we not?
Q. With your offense, how have you seen them improve especially going into a game like this, the course of the season is long?
COACH FISHER: Getting more consistent. We've had -- against some outstanding defense, we've scored four, five times in a row, and touchdowns and got going in the game. Hopefully we're learning to start faster, play a little better in those regards. But we've faced some outstanding teams throughout the year on the defensive side of the football.
But the consistency, and I think understanding the level at which you gotta play. When you go play those guys, when you play those outstanding defenses, offensively you've got to raise your game, you've got to know it going in.
There's no easy yards. You know, sometimes you play folks and sometimes there's some things in their scheme they're willing to give up to not to prevent something big. And you're able to go to the well and create things. But a lot of the teams we play this year, there's not those easy yards. You have to earn every yard, you've got to make every block. All of a sudden you make six blocks and the seventh block is the one that's a three-yard gain instead of 30-yard gain. We've had numerous, numerous plays that things like that going on all year, whether it's a pass hair off or just miss -- make six out of seven blocks.
But when you play good teams, you've got to make them across the board. That's why it's hard to move against great defenses and this is another one.
Q. With Sean's, the confidence his teammates have in Sean, the confidence you and coaching staff have in him, what part does the loyalty he sends to the program play in that?
COACH FISHER: You know, you say loyalty --
Q. Transfer --
COACH FISHER: That is tremendous. But that's the way it used to be all the time. That's why a lot of our world is missing right now. You know what I'm saying, as far as that goes. And I have the utmost respect for Sean Maguire. I mean, coming here, things didn't work out always like he wanted. He keeps working. He's the ultimate sign of what happens to you when you're a tremendous young man, you've been raised right, you've got great values, you are who you are as a person. I can't say enough good things about Sean Maguire. I have tremendous respect for Sean Maguire.
Now he is learning to allow himself to be the player he can be. You know what I'm saying? And I'm not saying that in a negative way. Sometimes you want something too much, like I said before. But his loyalty and the character he has and the things he's doing and what he stands for, you know what, those teammates see it. Those teammates see it and they respond to it. It's not that the other guys don't.
But he's an outstanding, outstanding young man and I'm glad that good things are happening for him. They should. Does that answer your question?
Q. And had you ever talked or crossed paths with Jim McElwain before through Nick --
COACH FISHER: No, because he was a West Coast guy. You know what I'm saying? It was just more when he was with Nick and talking there.
Q. He's turned around Florida so quickly. You had Florida State in the ACC championship game your first year. And maybe you don't really know what's going on over in Gainesville. But for you, how tough is it or how are you able to maybe have that huge first-year jump that they've been able to have?
COACH FISHER: Everybody thinks it's about -- first of all, you've got to have players. They've got good players. They've had guys drafted. You look -- ever since we've been here, we said it, they've had some good years and not so good years, but still six to eight, nine guys drafted every year, plus other guys get -- they've had good players.
I think Jim has come in with great structure, great organization and a great big-picture plan, and implemented that and got everyone over there to buy into it and become one. And I think that's the key. It's structure, organization, which then allows you to start changing culture, which is the most important thing if you're going to turn a program around.
Q. What do you say about maybe the similarities between the two of your teams in terms of like you guys use two different quarterbacks and you've got strong defenses and --
COACH FISHER: It is. We are probably very similar. We both run the football, young offensive teams. Have used multiple quarterbacks, very strong on defense. They are.
It's funny how that evolves. That wasn't planned, I promise you, by either one of us. But I think that's just -- I think also one of the key roles as a coach is identifying who you are and what each team is, and where its strengths and weaknesses lie, so how you gotta play the game or how you gotta coach the game. And Jim's done a great job of that, and hopefully we've done a great job with that. Each team has its own personality and identity. It's ironic that we are very similar, we really are.
Q. In a game where two really good defenses are playing against each other, how important are those hidden yards and special teams?
COACH FISHER: The field position, the hidden yards, the returns, kicking game. It's all -- even in other games, and I say this because you go back and research. We've had a ton of them this year and we have in the past -- how many 75, 80-yard drives you get? When you get one -- if you get two in a game, that's like earth shattering, really, in real ball, when you're playing good people. We've had a lot of those.
So winning that field position, I think we've done a better job of that in the last -- we even did a great job of that against Clemson. I think that was one of the reasons we were able to control them defensively pointwise. Even though they had yards in that game. Continually on offense we would still move it, punt it, punt them down. They had to go the whole field. They would drive out to midfield and we'd punt back and forth, but it kept that score very close in a lot of ways, you know what I'm saying? So I think that's still something involved today that I still put a premium on.
And I think that we don't talk enough about it because we get so caught up in offense and defense anymore. In the old days, when you played field position we think you score points. Guys, that's still critical for success, extremely.
Q. (Indiscernible) first start Clemson. Next one's going to be at Florida. How big was it to get that first one to kind of show he can rally, not fall apart?
COACH FISHER: I think not just only road but the implications of that game. You know what I'm saying? I said that day in Clemson that game did not overwhelm him. I've been with young guys on the roads in big-game situations where they come off, I mean, like a deer in the headlights. You know what I mean, when they come off with the information they're giving back or what they're saying or just the look in their eye, their body language. That whole day was not too big for him.
And I think that will help him tremendously going forward in his career and this weekend, I definitely do.
Q. Going back to the question about field position and the defenses. Does that make you as a play caller to be a little bit more conservative knowing you can rely on the D and your punter or do you have to take your shots?
COACH FISHER: No, I don't think you rely on your defense. I think understanding what position maybe to put your offense in. And how much do you hang them out when you're wanting to take shots, knowing, all right, if I go to here and I can get them in this formation and I can get that one-on-one, but also they get a one-on-one up front that I may not like, or they get a one-on-one on the back. You know what I'm saying? Everybody says you gotta throw it here.
You've got to create ways to create those plays, but also when you do it a lot of times you become just as vulnerable as they do. You get a matchup, they get a matchup. It's like somebody's band's going to play and you take chances, you know what I'm saying? So how you call the game is very critical.
I think the experience of your guys matter, the experience of your quarterback, how you think he handles (dropped audio), he knows that. I think all those things, it's not just relying on the defense, but it's also, it's the exposure you give your own team and when to do it, when not to do it.
Those are all critical things in play calling that a lot of folks want to be wide open all the time. It's why I say it's not always about scoring points. The ultimate goal is to score points but how you do it, control the clock, where do you expose yourself; do you cause yourself to get -- for instance, what game was it they were playing the other day?
Somebody they were playing, I'm trying to think, on film. It was 13-0 in the game Florida was playing. They ran a double move. It came wide open. It's going to be 13-7.
Well, they got sacked -- he's throwing the ball, the quarterback got hit, they picked it up, went in to score, the next drive, on the 20. It went from a 13-7 game to a 20-0 game and it was the right call. It was there. But you got vulnerable on the backside.
It was one of the films I was watching from them. You know what I'm saying? As a coach you have to find ways to help chip, making sure that that one-on-one that you have, can you get help chip to him? Can you slide to him? Can that guy hold him for the 2.4 or 2.8 seconds you need? All those things are critical. And people don't see it. Well, you got beat 29 -- you gave up a fumble. But, yet, if that guy had blocked him for .3 seconds more, it's 13-7.
All those things fans and people don't always see, those things as a coach you're constantly calculating in everything you do. It's critical because those matchups become both ways.
Q. You've had two really good kickers in your time here and that's the only part of their special teams that it's a struggle. Every other aspect is very good. But you talk about play calling, what is having a kicker like a Roberto or Dustin Hoffmans (phonetic) do for your play calling especially when you get around midfield?
COACH FISHER: People say at midfield but also it does when you get to the red zone, tight zone. You're at that 20-, 25-, 30-yard line and all of a sudden you can't afford, a lot of guys when you don't have range on a kicker, and he's pretty accurate from 45 in or say 44 in, that would put you at 27, 26-yard line. All right. How do you still call plays? Are you aggressive going into the end zone when you're dropping back? Or did you get a sack on the 30, 32 and it's still a 51-yarder? You still feel confident in how he kicks the ball. Everybody says it's about midfield. It's even more so when it really gets down in there because then when you start getting into that tight zone, then the pressure flips to the quarterback because they don't have to drop. Everything becomes tighter, faster. The red zone it's tight in the tight zone, it's real, real, real -- that's why it's called tight zone. It's real, real tight. So even how you call plays there, and the aggression and the drops and the plays you call there, with the range of those guys, is even more important in that regard to me. A lot of guys are, 42 or 43 yards in, very accurate but they're not outside of that. Or some guys, where is that limit for them? You know what I'm saying? Where they become inconsistent. And then you call plays accordingly in that regard. Especially -- and again your opponent, too. If I got good matchups and I feel we can block them across the board, then you can do that. If I don't, in the tightness of the game, the importance of the game, all those things.
Q. What kind of security blanket having guys like Dustin?
COACH FISHER: You do. To me it's a security blanket and it's something you have to -- as a coach you gotta go put time in those kickers just like you do a quarterback and receiver and everything else. Go research. You don't always know on any player you about you've got to put time in and find those kickers and the importance of it. Because that makes you a better offensive play caller, makes you a better coach, better team. I think that's one of the things our staff has done a great job of is really putting time into recruiting the kicking game whether it's returners. Look at this -- we've got great kickers, good punters. Then the kickoff return, we had one of the best kickoff return guys out of high school, ever in Kermit Whitfield. That has been an important role in the national championship as any. So all those things as our staff has done a great job understanding all aspects of the game can affect all aspects of the game. That's what I say all the time. Even how you call special teams is affecting offense by what you're saying there. Special teams is affecting defense by what we were talking about a minute ago. That's why I say we get caught up in offense and defense, understand how the team meshes together to win the game. And those kickers are a huge part of what we're doing. Did I confuse you good? (Laughter) I know I talk in circles, but I'm trying to make a point, I do. How we call offensive and defensive plays and special teams things, it's based on our whole team not just that segment.
Q. I understand rivalries are always intense and emotional, but this year, like you have said after the game a lot of implications, 2012 had a lot of implications, but this rivalry hasn't had that as much recently. Can you sense in a year when both teams are really good maybe things are a little bit more intensified in the rivalry?
COACH FISHER: No, I don't. Really when we go -- in 2013 I don't think we were having a good year but we had national championship implications on it. To me it was just as important. I think when these teams, it's not a joke. It's 0-11, it's the same way. I just feel that way.
Q. Do you have a favorite memory against UF?
COACH FISHER: Yeah, four of them. One of them I don't. At the end of the day (laughter) I just respect the rivalry. I really do. I respect the rivalry and what they've -- and been accomplished and what we've accomplished. And just fortunate to be able to coach. And I've been in some great ones, and this is one of the best ones ever.
Q. This particular team how big would a win be over the rival?
COACH FISHER: I think it is. Finishing out the season the way you want to finish, have another double-digit win season, break a school record for most wins by a senior class. Definitely puts you probably in one of the playoff bowl game or whatever that thing is -- BC -- you know what I'm saying. But anyway. But there's a lot for that, I mean a lot to accomplish.
Just the pride of playing your rival and having success in the game.
Q. Dalvin had a big game against Florida last year. I guess the series gives those great players an opportunity to put their stamp on things. Do you see that with him and how have you seen that in the past with some other players?
COACH FISHER: Guys always rise up -- big games, big moments, big players always rise up. Last year, who would have thought it was Dalvin? I mean, he was playing well, but he wasn't a household name. He was just making his own way. He took advantage of an opportunity.
But it's rivalry games like that always seem to do that.
Q. You've been down there so much in the swamp -- LSU, Auburn, now Florida State. What's so unique about that place that makes it so difficult?
COACH FISHER: They've got good players. I joke about that. People say, what makes a place so tough to play? Good players, good coaches. You can draw all those -- you can put 200,000 people in there. If there aren't good coaches or players in there, it's not a tough place to play, it's a fun place to play. And that's definitely not. They've had good coaches, good tradition, good players.
But then it sits right down on top of you will. It's loud. They've got great fans and it's passionate. It's a typical southeastern-part-of-the-country game, you know what I'm saying? And it is players, coaches first. But then they're coached well, they do well. They have high expectations. They have tradition, you know what I'm saying, all those things. That's what makes it tough. It's a tough, loud place.
Q. Seems like you've gotten a little continuity on the offensive line the last couple of weeks. What's the key to transitioning against a much better defensive front?
COACH FISHER: Confidence and communication. Just being together, playing as one. I mean making sure we're all on the same page, getting a hat to a hat, being technically sound and understanding how to do it quicker, how to know where your help, how to know how you're going to -- if you have them double-teamed this guy, how he steps compared to where I -- you know, one guy may take a bigger step, one guy a littler step. Just the continuity of them, how they mesh together. A lot of those blocks, inches make a difference, or pad level here to a pad level here. I'm used to doing it with that guy, he does it this -- so hopefully keeping these guys in the same places three or four weeks in a row will increase all those things.
Q. Can you talk about the struggles on offense -- you may have asked it, I can't hear all the questions. But the struggles of offense on the road (indiscernible) such a disparity in the numbers between home and road offensively?
COACH FISHER: Let's go through them a minute. First of all, I went through these -- we played BC the first part of the year. We were beat up on the offensive line, we're not together, we're still coming together as a unit. We left four, five touchdowns on the field, like I said, with opportunities -- Everett was learning the offense, and we found out that's the No. 1 defense in the country. And Wake Forest, we actually played extremely well on offense. We scored four out of six drives. We only had the ball six times going into the fourth quarter. We scored three touchdowns, a field goal. Four out of six drives we didn't have it. Defensively, remember, they kept the ball the whole time. Then we had one drive at the end where I thought we could have ran out the clock, and we didn't. We didn't play well but we didn't play poorly in that game. They're a good defensive. Clemson, outstanding, I know they were an outstanding team. We were an inch away. That was just a slugfest. They're one of the top defenses in the country. We had opportunity to make a couple plays, we're in the red zone. We just made a poor decision. We missed two short yardages. Otherwise we moved the ball extremely well. We've got to play a complete game. I think that came from continuity up front and different fronts, and we had to play different people. We had to change at halftime in that game, if you remember, or in the third quarter. We had to change fronts in that game. Who else would be the other two?
Q. Georgia Tech.
COACH FISHER: Georgia Tech, we didn't play well. We screwed up two red zones and we jumped offsides seven times. That was just continuity, jumping offsides and having penalties -- and we didn't in the Clemson game a little bit. We got the young guy up front, put us behind the eight ball and lost some field position in those two games. We missed a red zone opportunity. We're down there, first and four at the four, jump offsides twice, and have a ball that's open and we missed it. And on another field goal we have a slant that's open, we hit the inside guy, make a poor decision there. But running the ball, just the continuity and communication, I think it has a lot to do with young offensive linemen, different offensive linemen, and different young guys playing in different positions, and just getting that communications, like Ira was talking a minute ago, in regard to what we had. Who were the others?
Q. That's it.
COACH FISHER: And like I say, Clemson and Boston College were outstanding defenses. And we went -- early in the season we weren't close to where we needed to be, and we had a lot of changes still to make on the offensive line, had a lot of guys hurt. And Everett was still learning the system. We had things going on. And they're a really good defensive football team as we see throughout the year.
Q. You touched on this earlier as far as getting the young guys in the game, but to have a game like you had last week and to have a season like you've had offensively, where it's taken time having to develop, what does that do for confidence just knowing this is the best offense, this is the group that's going forward? What does it do for confidence to have that kind of game?
COACH FISHER: It does. It was funny but we had it going in. If you go back to Syracuse, it was pretty good on defense. Louisville, we had five straight drives we scored. South Florida, as we're finding out, wasn't a bad football team. I knew that coming in.
I knew South Florida was fixin' to get really good. They may win and go to their conference championship game now. They've beat really good teams. And there's times all year we've had that -- we've scored five drives in a row, six drives in a row, four drives in a row. Then we get two or three guys hurt and then we get this.
It's not an excuse but the communication things, but hopefully now with the continuity we've got going in this, hopefully we can go on the road and communicate. And again, say you're going down there and score a ton of points. I don't want to say that, but I don't want to say we're not. I want to leave that door open. We can go get hot and make plays, but realistically this is a heck of a defensive team. We have to play well and play efficiently. I think that's the key, like I was trying to tell Ira, consistent. Eliminate negative plays, eliminate self-inflected wounds, and when you have those opportunities to hit those plays, make them. And a couple guys got to make some exceptional plays to make it work.
Q. The offensive line, what's your injury situation, and do you think that will help your O line?
COACH FISHER: I mean, everybody's banged up now. You go through it -- we're banged up on the offensive line, we're banged up on the defensive line. Everybody this time of year, there's not a team in America that's not banged up. It doesn't -- that's just part of it. But they've got great players. I don't know, hopefully we'll play well. No matter what, whenever it seems like they take one of those guys out, when put another guy in it doesn't seem like there's a big difference in them. They've got depth and they've got good players. They'll have a lot of guys drafted. From that standpoint it's just that time of year, now you gotta gut it through and finish it out.
Q. Any word on (indiscernible)?
COACH FISHER: Much better than we thought. Still that door's open. He may sit out today but he's walking on his own. He's moving around a lot better, a lot better. We're excited about that.
Q. A lot of speculation up in Louisiana that Les Miles could be on his way out at LSU, and you would be their top target. What's your reaction?
COACH FISHER: I have no comment on that. I have a policy, I don't speak about jobs. It's unfair to the players there, the players that are here, the coaches here and there. And there's no job opening. So I have no comment on that. That's a policy in which I have. I'm not going to comment on any job in any way, shape, or form.
Q. Now, the game this week, what about Florida's secondary kind of impresses you the most?
COACH FISHER: We were joking the other day, I think they've got DBs over there on the side they just keep pouring in. I've never seen a team with so many defensive backs. Dadgum, they've got them everywhere. I look up and there's guys covering. Is that number six or 42 or twenty- -- no, that's -- wait a minute, now, is that 7? They've got them everywhere. Their corners can cover. They're athletic. They're long. They're big. The safeties are big. We recruited a lot of them, so I know them.
When you go down from Marcus Maye, Marcell Harris, to Neal, to Washington and Tabor is a great corner. Quincy Wilson we recruited, Vernon Hargreaves and Poole. Duke Dawson. They all can tackle. They can cover. And they can play multiple positions.
They play nickel, they play dime, they play safety, they play corner. They can play everywhere.
Q. When you were talking about guys like Hargreaves, of course, so much of it is been about Jalen and Vernon. In your mind what do you think makes those guys stand out to people like they do, especially when that talk about things like the upcoming draft?
COACH FISHER: I think first of all you see the athleticism on both guys. And then you see the competitiveness. You watch both guys play, I mean those guys, they play hard. Hargreaves plays hard. Jennings plays, I mean, he's one of the best competitors I've ever been around. And Hargreaves is the same way. He's diving, jumping, playing, emotional, talking. In a good way. You see him just competing. I think those guys are very smart, they're very intelligent. They can play the deep ball, they can play the underneath. They play big receivers, small receivers. They're complete football players and great competitors.
Q. Along those lines, seems like this is a game that guys will be able to make a name for themselves. What do you think makes this game to where guys not only, A, improve what their pro prospects, but, B, who have been some guys you've seen in this game stand out that just went, like, wow. They've had such a good game and maybe their draft prospects improve?
COACH FISHER: I think one a couple of years ago was KB down there. I mean, we had great players and how he dominated the football game in so many different ways. Inside, he was in the slot. He was outside. Just his overall dominance. I mean, Dalvin made a great name for himself last year. Couple years ago their backs did. They ran the football and played really well on defense.
I don't know if the guy's made names. Usually when they're at this place, and they're making plays at both these places people know about them. I don't know if they're jumping through the roof. But you just know you play big in big games.
Q. Nate Andrews, seems like he keeps getting better and better each week --
COACH FISHER: Getting healthier.
Q. What does he do for your defense when he's right?
COACH FISHER: I say this about Nate, you can't say enough good things about Nate Andrews. I talk about the person. That's why he plays -- he's just an unbelievable human being, unbelievable teammate. Work ethic, character, he's got everything and he puts his heart and soul into everything he does. He's tremendous, tremendous.
Q. To have that versatility, I guess you're going seven defensive backs a lot?
COACH FISHER: He'll go play up, he'll play back, he can play everywhere. And he's intelligent. He learns. And he takes the time to make sure he knows it.
Q. Kermit, the last two weeks especially, has added a lot to the passing game. Is there something in particular that he's been able to do?
COACH FISHER: Consistent in his routes. Running through the ball. I told him we cut that grass. Couple times he fell down, so I got the grass cut down. I don't know if I can get it cut in Florida. So he'll have to manage that on his own so he doesn't trip anymore. I was just teasing him, just giving him a hard time. But I think just learning to have confidence and poise in what he's doing. He's doing it more and more, and all of a sudden that light's clicking on, hey, I can do it with the ball, I can do it without the ball -- understanding running routes and learning to play fast without the ball, which is allowing him to get the ball. And then once he gets it, he can be down there, and keeping the poise to finish those things. And he's just working hard.
I'm very happy for him. It's very well deserved.
Q. You mentioned learning to play fast. When he adds his speed and the other elements does he make him a unique player?
COACH FISHER: It makes him extremely unique. You're talking about a guy that's world class. People say -- it's hard to run and learn how to play and what you're learning and all those things. It takes time to learn how to play and he's doing it.
Q. James (indiscernible) excelled for them. Is it a matter of not having a full depth chart or --
COACH FISHER: Talent, maturity, work ethic. I mean, there's so many opportunities. Like you say, some of it is opportunity. Some of it is maturity. Some of it is ability. Some of it your demeanor, your competitiveness, some guys come in. They beat guys out. But just having the ability to adjust to being away from home in college life quicker, and then that goes back to maturity and those things. I think that's a huge part of it.
COACH FISHER: Yes.
Q. What are some things that make him stand out?
COACH FISHER: Size, ball skills, body quickness, gets in and out of cuts, finishes cuts and then finishes plays on long runs.
Q. Looking at Treon Harris, what do you see?
COACH FISHER: Athletic, a winner, throws the deep ball extremely well, ball spins out of his hand very well. Tough guy, competitor, a winner, all those things.
Q. He was committed to you guys. Was he committed as a quarterback or?
COACH FISHER: Yes, he was going to play quarterback.
Q. You saw something in high school?
COACH FISHER: That guy won a lot of games, did a lot of things. He really did.
Q. More of a broader question, not specifically about a job or not. But with guys like Mark Richt and Les Miles under the gun and under the fire, what does that kind of say about --
COACH FISHER: Well, look at today, Syracuse, Scott Shafer, who is a great guy and a great coach, had some tough breaks throughout the year. Again, we talk about this. It's the way -- it's the nature of the business. It's patience and things that go on. There's none of that anymore. And it's what have you done for me lately, and how are you going to do it? I don't know. I really don't. Never seen a year like this year. There's so many jobs and situations out there, and I think when the coaches deal with pressure, how they deal with this. I mean, it's a whole different world. I mean not only talking about players, the pressure, social media, coaches, assistant coaches, families -- it's a whole different family than it used to be even five years ago. People don't want to always hear that but, folks, it's a fact.
I think part of it, too, I'm going to say this, adding the playoff and things, I think, it's only adding to this, because, like, you gotta get in the playoff, you can't do this, can't do that. I think all these things are critical components. That's where I think leaders of a university have to understand what they want, how they want it, be very explanatory to the people there. And then if you do something, you know, just make sure you communicate. Just a different day and time.
Q. When you have the success you guys have had, you know that your name is going to be out there anytime jobs do come open. How do you handle it? Have you seen, did Nick give you advice?
COACH FISHER: I watched him do it all the time. And it does. And to me, again, I don't want to ever speak -- I think it's so unprofessional. I think it's disrespectful to even do those things, you know what I'm saying? When people say -- when somebody asks you in recruiting, well, to me I look at it as a positive. That means we're doing things right here.
That means people like what we're doing. They're encouraged by what we're doing. They think we have the right folks. Then you ask a recruit, wait a minute, those other schools are recruiting you, nobody wants their coach?
Maybe somebody wants you, maybe you're coming to a good place when you come here, you know what I'm saying? I don't say that, but those things are all part of it and how you do that.
And you're honest. And I'm always straight up and honest. But I'm never going to be disrespectful for anybody or anything in this profession. Those guys are all friends and colleagues, and I think we want to write a story, and I understand that, but there's a respect thing in this business, and you only got one name in how you do things.
Q. Do you think, you said it's unfair, do you think your players or your assistant coaches also hear that?
COACH FISHER: They do, but I think it's a norm. Tell me when you don't hear it. I mean, it's just part of life. It's in recruiting. Like saying when the guy's committed, but he's taking four visits, and he's going over here. Do we hear that? Yes, but call the guy, talk to the guy or whatever, guys. We're fine. We know a lot of the inner story.
That's just the world today. Whatever it is that's going on that people have interest in, somebody's going to write this happened, this happened and this happened. Now you decide which four you believe. It's just that's the world we're in today. Again, I say that's the craziness of it.
Q. It's got to be tough for a coach to answer any questions about another coaching job. Maybe there isn't --
COACH FISHER: That's why you don't make any. And it's more out of one thing, out of respect for the kids here, the kids there and anywhere else.
Q. Considering that Miami and Florida don't face each other every year, is it still big, the mythical state title?
COACH FISHER: Heck, yeah, it is. It is for us. That's our two biggest rivals. And that's our rivalry games. And it's important for this state and what it means here. It's extremely important. Extremely important. That's one of the reasons you're the head coach here. Those games are important.
Q. You're a busy dude these days. Did you watch the Tampa Bay game yesterday?
COACH FISHER: Parts of it. I texted right after. We texted a long time last night at times and talked.
Q. What do you think about the rookie season he's having?
COACH FISHER: Just smiling. I'm not going to say it yet. I'll tell you when it's over with. But and think of all the injuries he's had. He's getting receivers back in Evans and Vincent and all those guys. The guy's a learning curve.
The ability to put confidence in people around him. His ability to improve. His ability to compete. His strive and competitiveness. It's just infectious. And it comes across everybody he's around, anytime he's around all the time. The guy's the real McCoy. And he is as a person too. Time will tell.
Q. Rashad changed the game the other night, too.
COACH FISHER: Doesn't surprise me a lick. You look at the success of all of our guys: Rashad, Telvin Smith, DeVante and Carlos and Mario Edwards, rookie of the year. Darby has been rookie of the year. Mario Edwards had 11 tackles and a sack the other day.
Eddie Goldman is playing. And Christian, go through all those guys, I know I'm leaving somebody, I don't mean to -- linemen. And Stork and Tre' Jackson walked into the Patriots and started. We've been blessed to have some tremendous young men here. I'm very proud of them and happy for them as they go on.
Q. Just overall just with this team and yourself, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
COACH FISHER: That we're all together and we're all one and we're all one family. We all care about each other. At the end of the day it's about the relationships you make and the respect you have in the room and helping each other become better men, better people, better coaches, better players, and again the family atmosphere in which we have together and the camaraderie in which we have together and the true love we have for each other. And the respect and to me that's what this whole thing's about.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports