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November 16, 2016

Jimbo Fisher

Greensboro, North Carolina

JIMBO FISHER: Very proud of our team against Boston College. Played very well defensively. Played outstanding football, great leverage on the football, tackled well, contested third downs. Just did a great job overall. Very complete football game. Played very complete, offense, very efficient.

Started well, started fast. Threw the ball well. Again, they're a very good defensive football team that causes you problems, and we executed very well. And we were able to run the football and throw the football. On special teams we kicked the wall well in coverage and did those things we need to do. Continue to grow as a team and continued to get better.

We need to put that behind us, going into Syracuse. Extremely tough place to play. It will be Senior Day. All the things they'll go, they'll have emotions and be ready to play. They've gotten better and better the whole year. Offensively they spread the football out and it goes fast. Sometimes some of those games they're having 110, 150 plays, throwing the ball around, receivers are have I good. No matter who is playing quarterback, whether Dungey or the other, those guys can throw the football and make great plays. When Dungey's there, he's a great player and they run the ball. Special teams is very sound. Two very good returners returners in kickoff return and punt return. Defensively causing a lot of twisting, stunting, blitzing type packages. Mixes it up. Do a great job, and it will be a tough place to play.

Now hopefully we played well at home, and we have to, in my opinion, go on the road and see if we can play a complete football game on the road again and keep getting better.

Q. When the committee is assessing team's resumés, their stated goal is not a factor in margin of victory. What do you think about that approach?
JIMBO FISHER: You're saying they don't factor in margin of victory?

Q. That's correct, yes.
JIMBO FISHER: Yes, I'm not a big fan of margin of victory because match-ups make people, you have injuries and different things that go on in the season, and what development is, and what kind of team you're working with and things change too much. I agree with that. I'm not a huge margin of victory -- I think it's one of the least indicators of teams in my opinion.

Now you can see teams that are totally dominant and dominate everybody and do those kind of things all the time, but when you compare a team to this team, well, that team beat that team by that much, I don't think that's a very good indicator of teams in my opinion.

Q. Do you think it's possible to discuss teams, especially when you have 12 people in a room, and you mentioned it too kind of when you see when teams are dominant. Do you think it's possible to have those discussions and not, in some way, kind of factor in margin of victory?
JIMBO FISHER: No, I don't think it's about margin of victory all the time. So you should go run up points if you have that opportunity as a coach? I don't think that's what football's about. I don't think that's what we want to get at.

If that's where we want to go, I think we're making a huge mistake. And I don't. No, I don't. How you play, the consistency, look at the film. They need to be able to watch film and understand film and understand when teams are very good football teams.

Q. I know last Saturday Dino Babers said Dungey was doubtful to play. Are you preparing for a Zack Mahoney QB, are you preparing for all three? What's that been like this week?
JIMBO FISHER: That's tough. We've got to anticipate Dungey will play. They'll list him like that, but you have to anticipate for Dungey to play, and you have to look at the other guys and prepare for them. It makes it tough. It makes it difficult. But they do some different things.

Obviously, Dungey's a better player or he wouldn't be starting, but you have to adjust to the other guys or be ready for Dungey. You have to be ready for all three.

Q. So what is that adjustment? How are preparations different for Mahoney versus Dungey?
JIMBO FISHER: There's not a ton of different preparations. But maybe how they call plays. One's athletic ability, one's escapability, different pressures or packages or calls you'd make possibly if they were in the game. Just like if certain receivers were in the game, you have game plans. Certain tight ends are in the game, you have different calls based off personnels.

Q. I know first three games after the Louisville game, you said Dalvin wasn't struggling. But just over the last seven, eight games is there one aspect of his game that stood out as far as improvement?
JIMBO FISHER: Well, again, probably not. I don't think anything jumps out. I just think his level of consistency. That's the thing about him. He's so consistent in everything he does. How he goes to work every day. There is nothing that really jumps out. He'll find 1 or 2% in how he runs the counter, how's he runs the stretch, how he runs the power. Little consistent cuts and things like that in his visions and things that just continually grow, and sometimes they sneak up on you in how much he's improving.

Q. Just as far as him as a receiver out of the back field, how much has he improved on that since the beginning of the season?
JIMBO FISHER: I think he really has, not just his hands. I mean, he's always caught the ball well. But understanding how to run routes where leverages are and how to set holds. I think he's taken a much greater, not pride in it, but before you're trying to forget how to run, all the reads and he's expanding his game. Now he's got certain things down and he keeps adding to his repertoire.

Q. Little off topic here, with all the prime signaling that's going on the sidelines these days, do you think there are a lot of teams stealing signs in college football?
JIMBO FISHER: Oh, no doubt. Everybody does. Everybody does. It's not stealing. If you see it, I mean, people do it. Done it for years and years and years. I think it's a huge part of that. People do it all the time.

Q. So you don't think there's any ethical problem with it? It's part of the game?
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, I mean, if someone tells you what they're going to do, it's like a key, you know what I'm saying? It's like baseball signals. If you get their signals and you know the third base's steal signal, you know when they're stealing. But that's been a -- I don't mean to -- that's been going on for years and years and years.

Q. And how much time do you actually practice the signaling?
JIMBO FISHER: We don't. I call my plays and go. But people do it. I know people have done it to us.

Q. But if you do send in signals from the sideline and you have people from the sidelines --
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, you have dummy guys, you have false signals, you have indicators, you have to do all the things to do to know what's live and what's not live to keep the confusion going.

We don't do it. I'm not saying acting like we're holier than thou. If I knew a signal and a guy was gonna blitz and I saw something maybe I would do it. But we don't spend time working on it or putting it on film and video. I know people match up the video to the signals on the sideline based off TV and all that stuff. I know people do that all the time. We don't do it. I don't want to spend the time. I've got enough problems coaching our own stuff.

Q. I guess my question was how much time do you practice the signaling?
JIMBO FISHER: We do it every day. We signal every practice of every play. We change them constantly. Every signal of every practice is signals.

Q. Now's the time of year where teams are trying to lobby for playoff position. Do you think Louisville is a top four team in this country?
JIMBO FISHER: They're a very well-deserving team. To say that, yes. At the same time, I'm not taking anything away from anybody else. Louisville is a heck of a football team. If they're in the playoffs, they're deserving in my opinion.

Now there are other great teams. I haven't seen all the resumes. I mean Ohio State's a great team. Michigan's a great team. Washington's a great team. I understand that. But Louisville is very well deserving.

This league is as good as anybody. You can draw it up any way you want. Take the players, and our division on our side and all the things, this is a very, very -- and they're playing a tremendous league schedule, tremendous league schedule.

Q. Having said that, do you feel like being a conference champion should be some sort of tiebreaker between teams?
JIMBO FISHER: It's got to be in some way or it means nothing. It's a championship, it means something. I don't know what a tiebreaker is compared to another league. But here's the thing: We're all asking questions and we don't know exactly what the criterias are. They haven't been set. And I don't know if they can be set, in their defense. I don't know if they can be set. I really don't. But being a champion is being a champion.

Now if you get two losses or something else because some leagues you can be a two-loss champion. So you're saying being a champion there, and that other team only lost one so that game doesn't mean as much? You're opening up Pandora's Box.

There's not an answer to the question, in my opinion. It's getting down -- at the end of the day, it's still about opinion. You have certain guidelines, but it's still opinionated, much more than it's ever been. I'm not so sure now that it's not more confusing than it's ever been.

Q. How do you feel about that as a coach?
JIMBO FISHER: It is what it is. I can't control that. I have to play be the rules that are set. But you have to come up with a system somehow. I don't know the system. I mean, we complained about the BCS, but how many times did the BCS really get it wrong? There are times they have and we're going to have the same thing now. I don't think things are ever going to change because it's the nature of the beast and what we've created.

Q. Having won four of your last five games, what have you liked in general about your defense down the stretch?
JIMBO FISHER: I just think the consistency we're playing with, the physicality, the ability to set edges on our defense, the ability to contest things. You just play with a lot more consistency in our assignments and our techniques. And I think it's really showing up on the practice field, not just on the defense, I think the offense, everybody. I think it really has.

It's learning to practice with better habits and understand that being able to take it from the practice field to the game field.

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