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August 31, 2016

Jimbo Fisher

Greensboro, North Carolina

JIMBO FISHER: Looking forward to an opening game again next Monday. Camp was -- we felt very good about our camp, had a very tough, hard camp as most people do, but very hot, a lot of situations, got a lot of adversity worked into camps so these kids could overcome.

I like the attitude of this team. It's working very hard, has a great demeanor. Again, looking forward to playing someone else. I think they're tired of looking at each other. But we know we have one heck of an opener with Ole Miss. They're a great team, and then our schedule really kicks off, Charleston, Southern Louisville, South Florida and so on, North Carolina, Miami, right on down the line. We're going to have our hands full and we need to be playing great football right out of the gate.

We've got some experience coming back. We're still a relatively young team with a minimal number of seniors, but a lot of guys that have started and played a lot of games. I think just to watch those guys take those extended roles that have played, and I've seem them in camp and seem to be doing very well, and some of those young guys who is going to emerge into those spots.

Just like everybody else across the country, there's things that we all know and things we don't know. That's what makes opening weekend so fun and also so crazy for coaches.

But it's part of it and looking forward to a great opener. Should be a great environment down in Orlando on Monday night.


Q. Everybody talks about Chad Kelly, and rightly so, but what stands out about Ole Miss's receiving corps between Stringfellow, Adeboyejo, Evan Engram, and especially Markell Pack, who he was reserve last year but he still got a lot of playing time.
JIMBO FISHER: Well, I think size, athleticism, run very disciplined routes and really attack the football and use their hands very well.

Q. Just in the past 18 hours or so, are you surprised with Travis Rudolph having lunch with a kid, how viral the photo and the reception has gone?
JIMBO FISHER: Nothing on social media surprises me. But you know, also, we had -- Travis was there, but we had other guys -- we got a call from their principal who said it was the best day she's ever had there. You know, Travis was there, Dalvin was there and spent a lot of time with some children, Derwin was there, Deondre Francois was there and Jalen Wilkerson. We had five guys there, the picture just happened to come of Travis, but it was tremendous by him, but all five of our guys -- the principal called and she said she wanted to make sure she told us all five guys did a wonderful job. Travis was getting that, but it doesn't surprise me. That's the kind of guys they are. Those guys, they went over there, that's what they represent -- and it's funny, it's how they've practiced and played during camp, too. It's how they've acted off the field, in classroom. It's amazing how you start making good decisions, and I'm very proud of these guys, and like I said, we've got tremendous guys on our football team.

Q. What impressed you the most about Francois this year?
JIMBO FISHER: I think just his grind. I think playing quarterback is a grind because I know there's going to be good days, going to be bad days, going to be things you can control, you can't control, and I think his ability to come to work every day and study the game and study his own habits and really learn himself, I mean, he doesn't -- he doesn't get too high, he doesn't get too low. He kind of keeps even keel, which I really like, and pushes himself.

Q. To kind of go off of that with Francois, just what you can say about his leadership and what you've seen through him, through the fall, and how he's been able to command the offense and obviously turn some heads for you.
JIMBO FISHER: Not only command the offense but get the respect of the players. The players on the team respect him and like him for how he works, not just because of him. They like him as a person, but they respect his work ethic and his competitiveness, and I think that's incredibly important for a quarterback, not only to win over his offense but to win over his football team because that defense knows we just keep playing hard when we get a guy like that the ball he's got great potential. He's got great arm strength, he works his tail off. He's going to make plays for us, and I think that's a great sign for your football team. They just respect him by the way he goes about his business daily.

Q. What are the three keys for Monday night to play against a really tough Ole Miss team because I know they have a good quarterback in Kelly, great defense that's probably coming back from last year's Sugar Bowl win. What do you need for you guys to win that game Monday night in Orlando?
JIMBO FISHER: Well, I think first of all, come out with great habits and not let the moment overwhelm you, which we shouldn't, but keep your poise and be able to execute on an opening game and not try to do too much. Again, take care of the football. You've got to take care of it and you've got to try to create turnovers on the other side, and you've got to control the line of scrimmage. You've got to stop the run and be able to run the football and then eliminate big plays and make big plays. It always gets down to a lot of the same things. And also, in first games, kicking game, making sure you're sound in your kicking game and penalties, not having the anxious jump offsides, put yourself in negative things when you do things, not getting behind the 8-ball.

Q. I was doing some research, we don't do really well on Labor Day night. What's the reason why? A couple years ago we played against Miami and all that stuff and it was tough games, first game of the year. What's been the reason why?
JIMBO FISHER: I have no idea. We've had success in the first game since I've been here. We've played well, had some big games, so I don't -- I couldn't answer that. It doesn't matter to me whether you play on Monday night, Wednesday, Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night. It's your first game. Nights of the week don't matter to us.

Q. Going up against Kelly this weekend, what's your assessment of your secondary and your pass rush going into this game?
JIMBO FISHER: Well, I mean, we feel like we have good players and we've done a great job in camp, but we're going to have to be disciplined. We're going to have to cover guys, going to have to make him throw in tight windows, which he can do, and those receivers catch the ball well. We're going to have to challenge every catch. We're going to have to tackle well. We're going to have to mix our coverages. We're going to have to mix our blitzes, you're going to have to mix your fronts, and you're going to have to pressure the quarterback and affect him sometimes with four-man rush, sometimes three-man rush, sometimes with five-, six-, seven-man rush, whatever it may be. But you've got to affect him. You can't let him get comfortable, and at the same time rush in lanes because he can really run the football, too, and he's very competitive.

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