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FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 21, 2016
COACH FISHER: Very proud of our team. Had a dominating performance on the road. Performance on road. Another step in which I think they really took and very proud of them. Defensively, I thought we played an outstanding game for the second week in a row. Against a team that goes as fast as they go. We're talking about the number of plays and things they do. How fast formation, formation of boundary, sprint, empty, all the different things. And keeping great leverage on the football. Played tremendous run defense. I believe gave up 37 yards in the game. Kept that down. And the quarterback runs, which is very tough when you get spread out. To be able to get eight sacks, the pressure is big.
Transitional defense. When the turnovers came, one time they scored off of them, but the rest of the time they stopped, and had a big interception in the end zone. To me the defense was the talk of the day. I thought they were outstanding the whole day, the pressure and the things in which they did.
Offense, very proud of the way we started the game, very hot. Came out two straight drives, again, taking it to the field from the practice field. Another big third down conversion, first time in the red zone, and converted to a touchdown, which was huge. The next drive was very good. Then we had a couple of falters and a couple of turnovers, uncharacteristic. Came back on a good drive.
Came out in the second half, in the first three times, we got it bang, bang, bang. Had lost momentum in the game just a little bit because of the hail Mary and the things the defense gave up. We need to box out in the end zone. The guys were there. They just let the guy slide in front. They need to box out like basketball, put him on your hip, drive him out, go up and get the football. We work on that, but we didn't get it done.
Then very proud of the offense to take control of the game again. Defense came out and made the plays, and we were able to establish the game and do the things we needed to do.
Very proud of Dalvin, broke the school rushing record. Now that's over, they can keep playing, and all the other records he'll have. At the end of his career, we'll all sit back and just marvel, in my opinion, of how lucky we were to see him play and be a part of it, and what he's done for this university, the most important thing is how selfless and such a team player he is.
Very proud of Deondre, keeps developing in a lot of areas. Very hot in the second half, came out. Very good on third down again this week.
Our kicking game, Ricky come in and hit a big field goal, was very good on that.
Punting, our punt coverage, we've got to cover a little bit. We got out of lanes twice. That was very uncharacteristic. We fixed that, I thought. Got out of a couple of lanes. We got to kick just a little more hang on the ball and get that ironed out. Other than that, we were pretty good.
Now, saying all that, we got to get ready for the Gators. This is a very impressive team when you turn the film on. Defensively, they jump off the screen at you. They're top five in scoring defense and total defense. They can rush the passer, great front.
Backer Davis, and those guys are so active and athletic. That guy will be the first backer drafted. He's one heck of a player. Secondary guys, they lost Marcus main and those guys, but you can't even tell with the corners they got back there in Tabor and Wilson and all the guys they have, Harris -- we recruited all those guys. Nick Washington and all those guys are really great players. The nickels, the dimes -- Duke Dawson, those guys are linebacker/safeties and can do everything in the world. Just a really good team.
Offensively, run the football very well. Able to hit big plays. Callaway and the receivers can make it. Quarterback takes care of the football and makes the plays he has to make. Special teams, punter is excellent. Kicker is excellent. Great return guys. Callaway does a good job of returning to win field position battles.
Play sound football. Take care of the ball. Jim has done a good job with them. They've got a heck of a team. We're going to have our hands full.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH FISHER: Hate to get sad in the beginning. Monk was -- to me, besides -- what he did for this university as far as the caring, he gave his life to Florida State. He really did. Everything about the university, what was best for the university, what was best for our kids and developing the kids and being there for them in times of tough -- when they needed tough love, they needed caring.
He was the epitome of what you want someone, when you send your son or daughter to a university, that's there to help care for him and make the right decisions and do the right things. He stands for all the right things. He was a real person.
To me, he was a great personal friend, very close personal friend, a confidant. A lot of personal matters we discussed on both ends, his and mine and different things. Just not to have him to be able to bounce things off of and talk to, it's a huge loss, not only for this university but for me personally. He's a great friend, and you don't have many of them in this world. A sad loss for all of us.
We know he's in a better place. For as many people as he took care of on this earth, he's definitely being taken care of now. God bless him and his family, Bev and T.J. and Rocky. God bless them.
Q. When you have a defense of yours had a really impressive goal line stand that Florida had the other day, can you talk about the swing maybe of trying from midfield, obviously, now the offense is standing inside your 5, the expectation is they're going to score. When you stop them --
COACH FISHER: Oh, yeah. Such a sense of pride.
Q. And then the change of emotion in that.
COACH FISHER: Well, I mean, I think you go from -- it's almost you're playing scared in a weird way. You know you got to get it done. It's not scared that you're scared, but, hey, we can lose this football game. I've got to stand up and lay it on the line and give everything I got, and they did that. They had the penetration and got the last play on the stop.
It's a confidence booster. It's a character booster. I mean, everything above. You could say whatever you want to say, but it is a tremendous, tremendous achievement, and it says about their fortitude to win, their ability to not accept losing, and it's a great tribute to the coaching staff and the players that they stood up and made those two plays.
Q. Which of the goal line stands for your defense had the most impact?
COACH FISHER: We've had a couple of them. The big turnover against Florida in the red zone. It wasn't quite on the goal line. It flipped the game a couple years ago here that Terrance Smith brought back for a touchdown.
We had a couple. I'm trying to think. We had a big one against Clemson down here in 2014 when Jameis didn't play, in that game right there. They were on the 1 or 2 yard line, and we got them out. We stopped them a couple times, and they got a bad snap and ended up missing the field goal. That was a huge play in that 23-17 game. There's been a couple of them just off the top of my head.
Q. What is it about Florida's front that kind of makes them different than other teams you're going to face? Of course, this one is third in total defense scored.
COACH FISHER: Size, speed, athleticism, and their techniques. They're very well coached, their techniques, their gaps. They know what they're doing and when they're doing it. They're fast. They're strong. They're physical. They've got size. They're everything you want in players. They recruited as good as anybody in the country, and they're a really dominant team.
Q. Who stands out most for them?
COACH FISHER: All of them. The last game, you go back to Brantley, he had two or three plays down the goal line, and they couldn't block him. They tried to cut him off on the back side, and got four that one time by a three-yard loss, pinched one. C.C. came in and got the play on the next to last play and got the penetration off the end. Ivey is a strong physical guy. Sherit does a good job. The guys they put in the game behind them all do good jobs.
That defense is so -- I say it because on the front, when only one guy's good, it's hard to have a great front. They can be dominant because you can run away and double-team one guy. The problem with these guys is you pick one guy to double-team, you're singled up with everyone else. You roll the dice.
They're good across the front, at linebacker, with Davis, that backer, he's a man child
Q. Florida State's never had a win against Florida and Miami at the same time.
COACH FISHER: I never realized that. I'm sorry.
Q. If you beat Florida on Saturday, what's the significance?
COACH FISHER: It's not significant now. You worry about those things after the games are over and guys have graduated and the seasons are over and you look back at what you've done. I'm very happy. Those are important games for us. We know the importance to our players and fans and the alumni and school in general. Very proud we could play well in those games. I didn't realize. I had no idea. I hadn't thought about it. I'm proud of our guys to be able to do that. Hopefully, we can keep it up. They'll come in on a high, that's for sure.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH FISHER: No, it isn't. But sometimes what's different is so many more emotions that get into rivalry games. That's where you've got to be careful as a player and a coach. The emotions are important, but they don't always win games. That's why sometimes I think emotions can help you or hurt you. I think it's very important to keep those in line but still performing in the game and doing the things you do.
I think that's what happens in rivalry games because people are going to lay it out. They're going to do everything they can do. There's no doubt.
Q. You got off to quicker starts the last couple of weeks. Is that maturity and growth?
COACH FISHER: Not a lot different. We tweak a few things, trying to make sure, but not a lot different. It's part of growing up. Just the first time I walked a little path or something, sometimes I trip on a rock. After the third time, I learned that rock was there, and I quit tripping on it. You know what I mean? I learned to have my mind set. I understand how to approach a game mentally, emotionally, psychologically, when you start.
Some guys, when they're young, they, I want to do real good. Then I'm too high. I want to relax. Then I'm too low. Learning how to play and do those things, it's all part of a young football team learning to mature and find out who they are, and learning where their comfort zone so they can go out and execute.
Q. I assume at Florida, they play a lot of man.
COACH FISHER: Oh, they play a lot of man, Wilson and Tabor.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH FISHER: It's going to be huge. They get up there and put their hands on you. They're very strong. Get in that hip pocket. Grab you, hold you, tug you. Do what they got to do to play good man coverage. I'm not saying they hold. I'm just saying they get up on you and make you work, make you work your feet, make you get off.
It's going to be a huge challenge. They can get extra guys in the box and play the run. You know they're going to want to do that to Dalvin. But also, we can throw the football and keep it going. That's why I love having a balanced offense.
Q. Do you think (indiscernible). Kelvin is the only one that's really had his way with Florida quarterbacks in the last four or five years. Do you think there's guys on this team that can beat these matchups?
COACH FISHER: I'm hoping so. We're going to have to try to coach them up. It's going to be tough. You're going to win some. You're going to lose some. That's the thing about it. When you play good players, that's what you don't realize, got to be able to say, they got that one. We'll get the next one. It's going to be a huge challenge. Hopefully, we'll make enough plays to do what we need to do. That's going to be a huge part of this football team.
Q. Are you interested to see how it evolves?
COACH FISHER: I am. It's another step in a big situation. A great team, a rivalry -- all the things that go with this, but it is huge. It's another step for them, and I'm anxious to see how they accept the challenges and how they practice and go into the week. All the things that I just talked about, mentally, psychologically, physically, emotionally, all those things are going to be huge factors for those guys, and for all the young guys on their team too.
Q. One coach said he thinks there's too much (indiscernible). They let too much go with quarterbacks and receivers. Do you think that's the case.
COACH FISHER: I think it makes -- the rules in college, I think, makes it hard for officials. I really do. I think they make it hard for officials. I think that's why the NFL does what it does, and its rulings in the secondary to make it very clean and easy to call, you know what I'm saying?
As an offensive coach, yeah, you want to say it. Yeah, we've got McFadden and those guys that can get hands on guys and do that. I see some guys have a jersey tug, and it's pulled all the way out. He's not restraining. Then why is he holding him? You know what I'm saying? He's got to be restraining him, or he wouldn't be holding the jersey. Well, it didn't affect the play.
In defense of the officials, it's an extremely hard thing to call because the way the rules are. You can hand and make contact down the feel. I think they probably do need to be cleaned up a little bit. That's one of the things I would say. I think it makes it tough. I do.
Q. You mentioned the defensive line is better on third down. This line hasn't been so great this year.
COACH FISHER: We've got everybody healthy again. Nnadi inside can get a push. Then you get Sweat, then you get Burns. You got Pugh rushing. DeMarcus Walker. It's been DeMarcus, whether we've got him inside or outside. When you can't just double-team and slide to wherever the big player is, that makes a huge difference now.
Q. DeMarcus had two plays last year against Florida, when they were trying to threaten and he came up with some big stops. What is it that you've seen in the last year where you kind of expect those.
COACH FISHER: I think he knows who he is as a player and knows how to handle those moments. He's able to recognize those moments. Again, the maturity of knowing -- like I say, the certain moments in the game that certain players feel that this moment's changing. Sometimes you just worry about doing your job. Then you have that control.
It's like when you coach or do anything else in your business, you're more aware constantly of surroundings as you get better at what you're doing and feeling the momentum times and knowing -- it's not that I do anything different. But I've got to play my best. I've got to be on top, which I do every play. Just trying to do your best at the right times, which is what he does a great job of.
Q. DeMarcus is not shy about how he dislikes Florida and Miami, the rivals --
COACH FISHER: I don't think it's dislike. I think there's a respect there that he knows and how important it is to play well against them and have pride against them. I think he respects them. We talk. He respects those guys and knows those guys very well.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH FISHER: I think it shows the importance of it and how important it is to some of your senior leaders or older guys on the team. Hey, this is important to them, and I think it needs to be important to us. That's what leaders do. Never disrespect your opponent. Florida is a great football team. Great history, great tradition, National Championships.
What Steve did down there, what Coach Spurrier did down there made him a legend, then Urban was able to come in and win some games, and now Jim is doing the same thing. It's a great program. The history of what Steve started the whole -- to get them to that next level consistently and all the things they did.
It's a great rivalry. We're lucky to be a part of it.
Q. Do you have an update on any of the injured guys?
COACH FISHER: Not a lot. Most of them, I think -- who have you got in particular?
Q. Westbrook and (indiscernible).
COACH FISHER: We'll have to wait and see. They're getting protocols. Both looked better. One said A.J. looked a little better. You still don't know. It's protocol through all that.
COACH FISHER: Good. He's sore. Just a little bruise right there, and I think he'll be okay. We'll have to wait and see as the week goes. We'll probably hold him down today and give him limited work, and he'll be out there practicing. He should be ready to go.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH FISHER: Again, protocol. He looked really good this weekend. We'll have to wait and see. Those things are so technical and all that stuff with all those doctors. I don't even want to attempt it.
Q. In the rivalry, you've had good quarterback play against them. The game in Gainesville 2011, D.J. first half, for Jameis in 2014. But for the most part, the quarterbacks played well and theirs struggled. What part of that in this current streak do you think that's played?
COACH FISHER: I think any time in big games that it's close, the guy who touches the ball all the time is crucially important, and he has to make good decisions. Even if he's not making tons of plays, not making mistakes. It's getting your team in the right checks and doing what he has to do to give your team a chance to be successful. The quarterback play in any team is extremely critical. Hopefully, we'll continue this weekend.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH FISHER: They're a good defense now. They're as good as anybody we play year in and year out. They do a great job. Hopefully, will continue to do it.
Q. You talked about 85 scholarships and attrition with all the games. Do you wish these rivalry games were earlier in the year so you could give them your best shot?
COACH FISHER: I think that, and I think now with Conference Championships, we had talked about that. I mean, you open up with those games, you know what I'm saying? Because when you go in and play these games and emotionally get up and have to turn around and play a Conference Championship the next week, and there's a playoff bid. There's something to be said for that.
I don't know if we'll ever do it. It's too much of a rivalry game, and there's too many weeks and too many places. When you think about the practicality of what you're saying, there is practicality to say that would be a good thing to do.
Q. Do you ever envision where a rivalry game is as important as a Conference Championship and getting to the playoffs and keeping back their starters? (No microphone)?
COACH FISHER: I can't because, when you can say I'm going to rest my starters and I can take a loss, when you're talking about 14, you can't take a loss anywhere, in my opinion. And I couldn't see your fan base ever accepting that, you know what I mean?
But the importance of the playoff now, what I do see, which is scary to me, not that I'm saying Conference Championship has to be what goes into the playoff, but people worry, if you get in the playoff, that's okay, and they put that above winning a Conference Championship. You know what I'm saying?
It's weird to me because growing up it's about winning your league or winning your division or winning your conference, you know what I'm saying? That's the world we're in right now. That seems, I guess, different to me. But I understand it because that's the ultimate prize is to win the National Championship.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH FISHER: A bunch. Just sitting back and watching -- like I told -- when Deondre got his shoulder banged up, one of the best things that happened to him. When he stood back for a couple days in practice and rested him and let that shoulder heal early in the season, just standing back by me and seeing things through my eyes. When you call a game, you've got to see it through the quarterback's eyes. Fans like I can go do that. Oh, no, what can that quarterback do? What does he see? What can the right tackle do? What can the left tackle do? It's not what you want to do. It's what you're capable of doing and can get the max out of it without a critical mistake or things of that nature. Then you take your chances.
But I think it's important for a player sometimes to see through a coach's eyes. Seeing through a player's eyes and the coach's eyes are two different things. Even these commentators on TV are ex-great players. They've never coached. Sometimes I laugh. It's easy to say it as a player, and everybody takes -- because they played. Let them coach for one year, and I'll bet they don't even sound the same. They won't even talk the same, I promise you.
And I think for a player, like Ricky got to step back and just see things and watch the first team work and listen to Coach Trickett instead of being with the ones and taking more reps and just rest in between. And Deondre, when he stood back with me, and I pointed out so many different things, even with the receiver, why I was upset, how he ran the route. That's your buddy. You've got to get him right. Why the quarterback here. Why the tackle here. And when they start seeing all those things, it makes them grow. Sometimes stepping back -- here's what's funny.
In basketball, a guy's having a tough game, what do you do? Sit him for five minutes. He sits on the bench, get him back in the game, he'll play well. Do we ever do that in football? I'm a coach. Don't ask me why. We don't ever do it. Think about it. It's just not part of the game. So you sit back as a player sometimes and miss a practice, and see why the coach is unhappy about so many little things and how they can affect. I think that's helped Ricky. I think it helped Deondre and his growth of really taking the next step of all the little things they've got to do. He played much better this weekend, I think, because of it.
Q. Jimbo --
COACH FISHER: I didn't mean to get on all that. That was a long answer for that, wasn't it?
Q. The rumors are going to continue to be out there about schools that might be interested in you. Are you having recruits calling and asking you about it?
COACH FISHER: No, I'm always going to be up front. I'm not going to comment on those things, but I'm very up front to those guys. I would never do anything to tell them that. I'm very direct about what's going on. I'm extremely happy at Florida State. I'll always be honest.
Q. Obviously, since you took over, you guys have had -- this is a rivalry with the Gators that's been fairly one-sided. What do you attribute that to?
COACH FISHER: Our players and coaches doing a really good job. Our players playing really well, and our coaches doing a great job of coaching and getting ready for the game, and being fortunate at the right times of the game. They've been dynamic games. They've been super games. We've had great teams, and we've been fortunate to play hard, and our players and coaches have done a great job.
Q. And I want to ask you too about Jordan Scarlett. What's your impression of him? He's gotten a lot better.
COACH FISHER: We recruited the heck out of him. We liked him. Big, strong, fast, physical. And the size of a running back -- 5'10", 5'11", 215, 213 pounds, whatever it is in there. That body has quickness, size, power, change of direction, sprints, catches the ball. He's a really, really good player.
Q. During recruiting, he was looking at you, Florida, and Miami. What do you think it was that made him go to Florida? Were you guys already set at running back?
COACH FISHER: You'd have to ask him. I can't answer for somebody else. You'd have to ask him. It's sad. I wish we'd have him. You say that. I like watching those kids, the guys you recruit, and knew I was recruiting the right guy. At least I was recruiting the right guy. The guy is a heck of a player. Happy for him and the success he's having.
Q. What growth have you seen from him in the time you've been able to watch him?
COACH FISHER: I don't get to see him a bunch because there's not a lot of teams we play that they play. I catch him a couple games here and there and see the season. I'm not studying him a lot. Obviously, just the maturity in the offense and size, speed, speed of the game. We thought he was going to be a heck of a player, and he's turned out to be a heck of a player.
Q. When you play a team that's so dynamic, so strong, I take it special teams are magnified?
COACH FISHER: Because of field position, there's no doubt. They win a lot of games that way by winning the field position battle in all those phases. We have to cover better, return kicks. Their punter kicks are so darn high. We've got to do a good job on return and a good job on our end. Even if you don't score points, picking up first downs and changing that field position is going to be critical.
Q. Anything to prevent turnovers other than just the fundamentals?
COACH FISHER: Here's the thing, we haven't had many turnovers. We've had two games where we've had eight turnovers, out of what, 12 of 14 on the year. Dalvin never fumbles. Got to keep the ball high and tight. Had to tip down slightly, didn't see a guy. Got it pulled. Deondre was throwing the ball away and didn't throw it far enough.
We've actually been really, really good turnover-wise this year. It's a shame it happened like it did. They were all off plays that we were driving and scoring and doing things.
Q. Special teams, (indiscernible). Is that something he's good at naturally?
COACH FISHER: He's good about everything. He's a natural player, and he's so long and athletic and smooth. He's doing his job. It wasn't a block, but he's taught to press. If you get an edge right there in that wind. There's another guy, getting long guys get a hand up and doing that. It was very impressive what he did. Two blocked kicks in the last two weeks of guys just -- not all-out rushes, but you rush, you have certain guys that are always rushing, doing their job, and we've had two blocked kicks that way.
Q. Jimbo, a State Championship is discussed a lot around here. Are you kind of surprised the (indiscernible).
COACH FISHER: I didn't even think about it. It's important to us. That's all that matters to me. It's part of our goal. We always say that. The state of Florida is a dynamic football state. If you can play with Miami and Florida, you're usually in the national title hunt. It's a rivalry game. It's always going to be important. We play them both.
We think for our program to be where it needs to be, those are extremely important not only because of rivalry games, but because of the nature of their programs and how their programs are very well received across the country. That means you can play with anybody out of great respect for them.
And the rings weren't a State Championship ring. I've said that 100 times. They were rings from a Bowl game which you get -- when they won or lost Bowl games, they still got big Bowl games. That's what it was. We put the goals in which we achieve on those rings, and that was one of the goals we achieved.
Q. Kermit (indiscernible). Is he becoming an all-around receiver?
COACH FISHER: He's getting better and better. He does. He understands how to set routes and do the things he's done. He's progressed and worked hard and become an extremely reliable guy with great speed. Running routes and everything else. Kermit's a high character young man now. You talk about going to work. He goes to work. Does a great job in school and everywhere. He's a very high quality character young man now.
Q. Offensively against Florida, done a really good job. 4 of the 6 games, you held them to 7 or less points. Is that a function of that emotion you talk about, and the defense is feeding off of that?
COACH FISHER: I think it is. I think offensively in the games we're able to move it and win the field position, but we've been good on defense. Our guys have played well and wanted to play well. Again, that focus and desire and stress of trying to do everything right on every play, and it magnifies in those big games, like you say, in some of those rivalry games. Hope we can keep it up because they'll be ready to play.
Q. I know we talked about recruits asking about other offers, but do players ask you?
COACH FISHER: I just answered that a minute ago.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports