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FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 1, 2017
JIMBO FISHER: Hello, everyone. Excited to get kicked off again in the eighth year. Seems like my time has flown. But really looking forward to watch practice like you do every year. This is a fun time of the year to watch your team grow and come together as you have the first six months to develop that identity to incorporate another 20 guys or so that come in as freshmen and see how they fit in and if they do.
Been happy with this group. They've had great attitudes. Outstanding summer. Thought we did a great job with the summer. Looking forward academically, everything across the board, I think we did great, our conduct, everything, everybody was great all summer. Very focused and together.
Now we have to start developing the team and getting it to where we need to get it to. I'd say it's far from a finished product between now and the opening game and to keep doing it throughout the season to try to get better to match up schedules. Extremely tough schedule. Great opponents, lot of great home games, away games, everything, I think this schedule has got everything involved in it. And it will be extremely challenging, but that's why you play the game.
We're looking forward to getting things going, just getting out on the practice field. And we'll look great today. We'll have the shorts and shirts and all will be fitted nice and tight and everybody will look pretty.
We'll make sure we line up some things and keep practice practicing and keep progressing. But as long as we have the attitude of getting better and working and understanding they're going to get coached and understanding we've got to improve and all those things, I think we'll be okay.
I like the personality of this team, but it's a long way to the finish. So ready to go, and like I said before, I think the ACC Conference schedule is getting better every year with the games. In College Football Playoffs, I mean, the top 25 games, about half of them were ACC games. Five or six involved us, Clemson, I mean, there were teams all over from top to bottom.
I think it's great. I think, again, they're all going out and playing great against conference opponents, which is very challenging and very risky at the same time, but that's what it's about.
Hopefully we'll get ready to play. We have an outstanding schedule coming up. Looking forward to that. We have all 12 games to get ready to go. Get our depth, help the young guys, get the older guys in gear and guys keep the rotation because there are things we got to do to be good, because there are always obstacles coming throughout the year.
And that's a big thing, how teams handle it when someone gets hurts or banged up, all the things that develop that personality and character in which you have to have to play at a championship level. So anxious to get going.
Q. At the start of the season, what do you and your coaches look for in the first week? Is it just attitude (indiscernible)?
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, I mean, you don't have to coach the efforts of the game, the toughness of the game, all the intangibles that you incorporate in your off-season program and your summer program (indiscernible) they wind down in their disciplines, the confidence of where they can line up, but you've got to coach that. You've got to coach all the little details.
You're coaching that part of the game and not the effort and things like that, which I don't expect because we've had an outstanding spring, and I thought we did it in the summer, a lot of those things. And guys are eager to learn. A great attitude. They're willing to be coached and want to be disciplined, want to be detail oriented.
Q. Did you find out last year (indiscernible)?
JIMBO FISHER: I don't think it was a habit. You saw me in the press conference. I thought we were young (indiscernible). I think a couple times the reality has to hit of how the game is going to be played and how specifically each week you've got to go. It's not that you can't do it for a game sometimes when you're young, but understanding, okay, that was over with, we've got to go again, we've got to go again, we've got to go again.
I think those things -- and hopefully we've learned, again, every win or loss is a learning opportunity. You have to take advantage of those opportunities. And I think we have, and it's shown in our attitude and our urgency.
The other thing is to have an urgency. You can tell, even when a guy has a mistake, his urgency and his mind is right, that's good. That's an attitude that goes with your team. And hopefully they'll see that.
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, I think, well, I mean, there's always going to be parts of that that you always as a coach are going to refine. But I think you can see the development of -- if they're pretty knowledgeable about all the different things they have to do, whether it's a route, a route combination, coverage, it's certain defenses and they've talked in their meetings and they've carried it on, I think that's what you really see.
This is a little bit different than what you saw here, but they've got to grasp 85 to 90 percent of the things they understand of that concept. You can tell a lot of those things.
Q. Guys like Derwin James being named best college player (indiscernible) is that something you put much stock into?
JIMBO FISHER: Hey, listen, that means you have a talent. That means it's possible for you to do that. What he's got to do is take possible and make it probable. And you have to do that by performing and practicing every weekend and be detail oriented and not worry about that and go play the game.
You have talent, you have the possibility of doing that. A lot of people, you could probably put 50 guys in that slot, that possibility is still there. They've all got to turn possible into probable.
Q. You wanted to make sure you handle the ball in as many different ways as you can. Do you give any (indiscernible)?
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, he could do that. He could go out there and run, catch a pass, run reverse. He could do anything.
Q. What are some things that -- you mentioned players learning from last year. What about you as a coach, what have you taken away?
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, assignments. Personality. You learn your team, the players, and also how you coach something, you do something. You tweak that play a little bit, you tweak that play a little bit. And you're constantly always doing that. We do it weekly. We do it afterwards when you do your evaluations. We do it in situations. You know, it's how you do things, whether it's on defensive red zone, offensive red zone, third down, efficiencies on third down, turnovers. You're constantly evaluating everything. Kicking game, this coverage, that coverage, how you cover kick that way. How you kick, your kicking formation.
Those things all come from A to Z as a coach. And then also each team, you constantly challenge yourself about did I see that coming? What was assigned before? Before I could see that. Sometimes with that group, now if that guy does that -- it's not always studying Xs and Os, it's studying personalities on your team. All people are different. All people are different. And when you learn it, you can sometimes head off things. Okay, starting down that road again. Now, you may not be meaning to. You say, hey, no, no, we need to get back on track or he's okay.
I think you constantly learn your team all the time. That's why coaching is such a challenge. You're always incorporating new people. Guys grow, they advance, they mature. You know, finding that fine tuning that you can push a guy the right way, tell him the right thing and recognize sometimes and help him out the best you can.
Q. Have you seen signs of maturity and growth in this team?
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, I think so. Some of the guys that played, they're incorporating new guys in there. I think they all have great learning tools. And the way they finished I think was great and how that last team developed and how those guys took some of those things over. Now that's over with. Now you have to take and develop your own as a team. But I do see signs and reports, whether it's at school, on the field, practice, weightlifting, weight conditioning. From that standpoint, I've seen some of that, yes.
Q. (Indiscernible) coming back from surgeries, how are they feeling?
JIMBO FISHER: Full go. They'll be ready to go.
JIMBO FISHER: Really made a lot of progress. Everybody will practice and go today.
JIMBO FISHER: He has good size, speed, athleticism. He developed him himself into a receiver, run routes and receivers, very driven. Very good young man, does everything you ever asked of him, you know what I'm saying? The things that have happened to him, you know, sometimes guys get hurt, sometimes injuries happen. That's ball. That's not his fault, there's nothing he's done. So he's getting healthy. You have seen a guy driven to get back. Guys healthy and getting themselves into position to play.
Q. When you've seen all (indiscernible), how much does it mean knowing you do have a bit of inexperience at receiver and you do need one of those guys to step up.
JIMBO FISHER: Well, we do; but we don't. (Indiscernible) we're not really inexperienced. (Indiscernible) you have two main guys coming in, and that's about as good as anybody can, when you go back and look at it. Big games, big moments, big plays. We'll have some of those young guys, whether it's Keith Gavin, whether it's D.J. Matthews, whether it's Phillips, whether it's Campbell, whether it's Tamorrion and some of those guys, and then you're your tight end can fix things up (indiscernible) catch the ball. I think we have great talent. I think there are some really good, talented, young receivers in there. I'm anxious to watch those guys and D.J. and Phillips, I'm anxious to watch all those guys take off.
Q. (Indiscernible) how has it worked?
JIMBO FISHER: Pretty good. But he has, and he understood. It's reality, you know. I mean, what you can control, what you can control. Don't worry about what people. Who cares. They shouldn't care what you say, what the public says, what anybody on Twitter or on Facebook. You need to turn all that stuff. That stuff's garbage. It does nothing for you.
Just know what you can control, know the reality of why it happened and play. I think he's done a good job with that. And I think that's why he's back to where he's at with all the hard work, and hopefully it will pay off.
JIMBO FISHER: Getting better. He's had a pretty good summer. We'll see when we get out there.
Q. You mentioned in Charlotte that you better have your team ready for Bama. Why did you want to schedule Bama
JIMBO FISHER: Well, years ago they asked us to play the game. It's going to be good. It's going to be good for the program, both winning the match-up, and it's one of the things you can test yourself. They're going to test themselves with us. You find out where your team is at early in the season. We've played -- I mean, whether it's Pitt, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, who knew we'd both be top three teams or whatever the heck it is, five, ten, whatever. We didn't know that at the time.
I knew they'd have a great program and everything. Now I think the same way here, you can play those games early at certain times, and I think it's good. That time back then, our league wasn't like it is now, and you're trying to make sure you schedule a non-conference games for championships and things like that, which we do, and people don't realize (indiscernible) like we do. Nobody does (indiscernible) we do. We play Florida and Alabama. Every year we play Notre Dame and Florida every year. I mean, you play those -- Oklahoma State, Ole Miss and Florida. We've scheduled two major, major -- probably about the only ones that are consistent. Clemson does it, have done it a couple times. There are some others. You talk about non-conference match-ups, and it's good for you. (Indiscernible) those situations for bowl games, for a national championship, games, recruiting.
Q. Having so much experience in these types of games in openers and pro stadiums, do you think that helps with experience going into it?
JIMBO FISHER: I think it does. These guys have been there and understand what's going to happen to them. You know what I mean? Now, every opponent is different. Of course Alabama has been better than any of the ones we've ever played. They've been tremendous. So you'll have to have a general idea.
Q. Coach, do you have any players limited (indiscernible)?
JIMBO FISHER: Brady Scott, I believe is the only one, if I'm not mistaken. He had an accident on a scooter. Let me look down and see. They should all be able to go, if I'm not mistaken. Is there one in particular you're asking about?
Q. No (indiscernible) is academic?
JIMBO FISHER: (Indiscernible).
Q. How you doing today?
JIMBO FISHER: Good. How you doing?
Q. Jim, there is talk of conversation at most all the pre-season media days and kickoffs, was the length of college football games. The commissioner said they're going to try to shorten the games with some better management by the officials, but they're not going to tinker with any rules. I'm going to guess that you and most coaches would be against any rule changes that would shorten halftime or change the rule about stopping the clock on first downs.
JIMBO FISHER: Yes. I mean, you're changing the whole game, you're changing the concept of the game. You are changing halftime to shorten it. They're not waiting for coaches to get off the field. They're starting it as soon as it's over with, which will speed it up. I think they're doing things where if the guy in the red hat has 30 seconds, the official takes over and the producer doesn't have a right to hold it for 15, 10, 30. If they miss a play, they miss a play on halves and stuff too. So doing those things, that's what I think a lot of (indiscernible) we need to see.
Q. Do you think the game itself -- are you overly concerned about games lasting three and a half hours? Is it really a big deal?
JIMBO FISHER: No.
Q. Okay. All right. Thanks.
Q. Out of the 25 freshmen are on the roster, which ones are going to make the impact this year?
JIMBO FISHER: I wish I knew that.
Q. 25 freshmen on the roster. Which one's going to be making an impact this season?
JIMBO FISHER: I have no idea. I learned that a long time ago. Because guys you think do, there are so many intangibles that go into that. One is an opportunity; two, a situation; three, do you leave home and you've never been away. There are just so many different. And position can have a big impact. Certain positions are harder to play early in your career than they are for other guys. There's not as much learning.
I've learned not to do that. Hopefully we're going to try all of them, give them all an opportunity. The impact of freshmen and your team is so vital now because of the numbers and how things go, and the use of teams at times. Some of these guys leave, and you've got to have those guys ready to go. You've got to be playing something anyway because you've got to know in a year or two this guy's going, that guy's going, next year he's going. Even though he's a back-up, you've got to get those young guys developed.
And player development is critical. That's one of the better things we've ever done around here. We've played a tremendous amount of freshmen, tons of freshmen, All-Americans, 16, 18, 19, something like that in the years we've had. And we've had great success with that. Our coaches do a great job. We'll push as many as we can, but we won't put them in a situation before they're ready for it. Because I think the young player, you can ruin them before you make them when you get them on the field and they're quite not ready just because you think you have to. We've got to be very smart with that. At the same time, we've got to be aggressive with it, if that makes any sense.
JIMBO FISHER: Ricky Leonard is going to be starting. Ricky will be (indiscernible). We'll have other guys. I mean, we'll have (indiscernible). If we try somebody else, we can try anybody. We're going to start Ricky there at the beginning and have (indiscernible) right tackle along with Derrick Kelly (indiscernible) those guys play tackle and see which ones are the best ones right now that play. You really want to (indiscernible) and I expect those guys to go.
Q. In the spring you said you were comfortable at right tackle?
JIMBO FISHER: He did a lot of work at the left, and he feels very comfortable over there. But I'm not like everyone. In college football, the left tackle isn't like it is in pro. In pro football you're always in the right formation. Tight end almost 80 percent of the time it's to the right. That's why they play a lot of the best to the left tackle, the blind side, (indiscernible). He played right end, he played left end, he played tackle.
You don't always get them lining up like that. It's a different game, you know what I'm saying? So I don't think the validity at left tackle is quite the same in pro football, so we'll find the five best in the position, and Ricky will start at left tackle.
Q. What is it you found Rick Leonard to be comfortable? You've had a lot of time to get him playing O-line, how would you assess the progress?
JIMBO FISHER: Just maturity and understanding and confidence. He changed from defense. He's a good defensive player. He's a guy who flipped over. A lot like Cam. You remember, Cam struggled out there a lot early. Even as well as he played. He struggled a lot of times early. His maturity, growth, strength, he's so much bigger and stronger now. He's really strong in the weight room right now. Very powerful.
So I think overall confidence and growth. And things have slowed down, you know what I mean? Also you get a little more urgency about it your junior and senior year. It's dwindling down. You're focused, detailed more. You eliminate the things that aren't important and do all those things. And a combination of those things have helped us develop.
Q. You talk about (indiscernible) but they're not going to change the rules. What are your thoughts on the offensive line?
JIMBO FISHER: We do. We do probably close to 8 to 14 games. We did last year. Always have. I think it's (indiscernible), and I think it's unfair to the defense. I'm an offensive guy. But what we do, we do them, we've done them. Our spring games are all RPOs. Those (indiscernible) are decisions, all that spring game we do, that's all that. We do a lot of RPOs. I mean, we do them. You have to. Just because I say I don't like them doesn't mean I'm not going to do them, because I'm going to adapt to the rules. But we do them and we'll continue to do them.
JIMBO FISHER: All those guys. They'll all have opportunities to play different positions. Some will be nickel, some will be dimes at times, some will be quarters, we'll play all those guys, Stanford, all those guys (indiscernible).
Q. I imagine all of those guys are a prideful bunch. How do you explain to them that you'll have a role?
JIMBO FISHER: You earn your role. You earn your role. I don't know what role they're going to have. That's up to them. They have to earn it. That's up to competition. That's up to them playing and how well they play. They understand that. They did it last year.
Q. Talk about some new rules in practice and what they can and can't do in practice, has that had an impact at all?
JIMBO FISHER: It is. They have the day off, the two-a-days. The two-a-days are not the way we did this. You know what I'm saying? But I understand what they're doing. We adapt and adjust. Got to make sure you don't put this thing so far back in July. But you have school. They're in practice, they're doing two, two and a half weeks of school. We've got five or six days now. You start getting back in July, and you get to middle of July, you're expecting academics, you're also expecting the freshmen who are first coming in, they're going into two-a-days, they're in their first two classes, they get to jump out of class. We don't think those things matter; they do. They do big time.
(Indiscernible) if they ever do 14, probably shorten the number of practices and they'll still come in August. But at the same time, they've got to loosen the rules up in the summer if they're going to do that. Because you're teaching for those kids and getting them adapted to playing, and you're going to have more guys hurt and you ain't going to have the rotation.
So you've got to loosen some of your summer rules up to be able to teach them. Whether you're in seven-on-seven, that doesn't teach a guy. That's all good. There ain't no focus. It's a good thing, but it's not like -- it's not even close to what you're going to do. But those things are all coming in time.
Q. Looking at defensive tackles and guys like Jones and Aime, how does a guy like Marvin Wilson work into that? How does he do that?
JIMBO FISHER: Play better than they do. When you get to this level, it's about competition. Just because you played last year doesn't mean you play this year. Just because you won last year -- doesn't mean anything. Doesn't mean you win a National Championship. You've got to do it every year. You have to find those roles and getting better and better.
JIMBO FISHER: We'll see when he gets on the field. I haven't seen him in practice. I haven't seen him on the field. I haven't seen him in that regard. I think he'll have a great career, but let him go play and see how he does. He's had an outstanding summer. I think the guys felt good about the way he worked and he ran and conditioned, and they see all those things.
JIMBO FISHER: You can talk with him. We're not big talkers in that way. But we talk. We have a great time together. We can talk on the phone. Different issues with college football at different times and that stuff.
Q. (Indiscernible) at all leading up to this day?
JIMBO FISHER: We talk about it at the draft and different places. We ain't telling each other what we're doing. But all you've got to do is watch the film (laughing). You can see. I mean, we know. In that regard, listen, it's time to compete, we'll compete against them, but at that level, (indiscernible) any relationship you have.
Q. How has Alec Eberle recovered from that hip surgery, and how (indiscernible)?
JIMBO FISHER: Oh, yeah. I think he's lifting 600 pounds or benching 4, something like that. I think he's healthy, weighing about 301 right now. Looks healthy. Looks as good as he has and moves as good as he has since he's been here. Now he'll continue to play well.
Q. (Indiscernible) what we thought watching last year?
JIMBO FISHER: No, it's very painful what he had done. You're taking bone away. It wasn't an injury. It was a genetic thing. Some people have their hips like that, some don't. You have a lot of those guys that you see a lot of those injuries. And those people can do the things they can do to make it right.
Q. As far as trying to find someone to back up Deondre at quarterback, how do you divvy up the reps the first week?
JIMBO FISHER: Well, see, our guys all get the same amount of reps. One guy gives me reps, ones and threes and twos and fours. Two coaches on each field. First guy gets as many reps as the fourth guy. See who can develop, who will be ready, who can make the read. It's going to be the same. They all get reps. Not you have one guy going and two guys standing and watching. We don't practice like that. Everybody practices.
JIMBO FISHER: (Indiscernible).
JIMBO FISHER: Just answers with confidence, his reaction to his teammates, his interaction with them and his demands on them and the things he says, makes it a lot more relaxed, getting guys to do this. Getting guys to do that.
You have to understand something. Last year he proved he could do it on the field. That's one of the best freshman years you'll ever see. A guy on third down, a guy in the red zone, that's how you get your quarterback. In the red zone, not turn the ball over, two-minute drive before the half, end of the game, all those situations. You watch situational football, as good as anybody. You're talking about five drives in one game, he brought people back. Lost one game, but he did what he had to do in playing in situational football, and he had to go prove that.
Now he understands that. Got to continue to do that, and now we see the interaction with players and guys around him. They look at him and know, he gets the ball at the end of the game, we can win the game. Get third down, he can make it happen. Get to the red zone, he can make the throw. Whatever it has to be. He gets it, he's going to come back and lead us. You know what I'm saying? You develop that, and his rapport with guys becomes even greater and their respect for him. So his communication and his demeanor can start to come across then.
Q. Do you feel like he almost has something to prove that he might be even more (indiscernible)?
JIMBO FISHER: No, when you quit having something to prove, you're going to be in trouble. You always have something to prove. You always do. Good enough is never good enough. That's when you need to quit. He's got something to prove. He can do the things he did last year, and he can grow in other areas. You always have something to prove.
Q. You said you like the personality of your team. What's that mean?
JIMBO FISHER: When you talk to them, they never (indiscernible). When you talk to them, they're sitting in the front and their eyes aren't dozing off. That happens on every football team. In 29 years, that happens a lot. That's just part of kids when you sit and talk to them. They've got to (indiscernible), whether they're doing community service, just the whole demeanor. The urgency in how they let you coach them. You challenge them. And say I don't have all the answers. Hey, I know I'm a great player. I know. But I can still be coached. I can still be gotten on. I can still be challenged.
From that demeanor, I mean, just characteristics. If you walk in a room with somebody and you want to have a conversation with them and talk to them, he's looking all over the room and doing that, I mean, what's that say? Or is he locked into what you're saying? Is he paying attention to what you're trying to say? Is he doing what you're saying? Is he showing up two minutes late or is he on time? You know, are they five minutes early? Do they affect other guys? Are they getting on other guys? Do you see the leaders of the team taking their personality on guys? You know what I'm saying? From that standpoint, that's what I've liked.
JIMBO FISHER: (Indiscernible) is the most important thing as a player. It's not just created by the coach. The coach can set a standard, and the players have to own that standard. Until the players own it, you have nothing. And then the administration has to set it. What advantages are they giving you? What advantage is the school giving you over the next school that makes you want to go bust your tail for them?
This place dictates that we have championships based on everything from A to Z. In their treatment in the classroom, to tutoring, to how you treat them off the field, on the field, study, whatever it may be, in the weight room, in this, in that. It's all a culture of expectation that you want to do, because they're doing things right by you. You know what I'm saying? The administration said it, the coaches said it, the players have to accept it, own it, and incorporate it into everything they do, also, the number one thing.
Q. As far as running back (indiscernible) did you like him more this year?
JIMBO FISHER: (Indiscernible) starting back. They're great. All we ask them to do is restart, had, what, 200-something yards, 180 yards, something like that. He's earned that right. He'll compete with other guys. He looks great. His body looks great. He can catch, he can run, he has proven he can do it at a good level (indiscernible) we've got to have -- then we've got to find out which young guys are going to step up to prove they can do it. If they do it better, they'll play. If they don't, then they don't play. It's that simple. But I'm very excited about watching Jacques.
JIMBO FISHER: I think he has. He understands the urgency, he's getting to be a junior. You start to see that, you know what I'm saying? He can be the guy. If he's the guy he'll take all the reps, he'll take them all. If the other guys deserve reps, they'll get reps. We don't know yet. We're just coming into the first practice.
Q. (Indiscernible) coming into Orlando?
JIMBO FISHER: I think you build bonds and trust with people on the field to you. And that guy is not doing something, you can tell him. I mean, that all matters. Those guys have all proven they have a lot of trust. They all played on the same Pop Warner team -- Jacques (indiscernible) Deondre, all those guys played together.
Q. We've been asking you a lot about offense. How good is your defense?
JIMBO FISHER: I think it has a chance to be a good defense. You have good front guys. You have a lot of body types. The Sweats, the Pughs I'm very excited about. Burns, Matthew Thomas, those young guys. Jalen Wilkerson, I'm anxious to watch how he's grown. I'm anxious to watch Kaindoh come in after the spring. Janarius Robinson. You've got a lot of those body-type guys like that, and we'll see how they react to the play of the linemen. Ro'Derrick Hoskins and the safeties. There's a lot of good guys. Some of those young guys who are battling, who is the nickel? Who is the dime? Who plays safety? What package are we in? Three-three, four-two, five-one, whatever personnel can create and the guys up front watching (indiscernible) develop and those young guys. To be a very good defense, they have to go play well. They have a lot of diversity, in my opinion, throughout the team that they can create.
Q. On that note, you have as many linebackers now as you've had in several years. Are you happy with your options, especially the seniors?
JIMBO FISHER: I think the seniors have done a good job establishing themselves. I think it's going to be critical for those young guys getting comfortable putting them in a game and going to play. They all have an ability. Whether it's Brian, D. Jack, Rice, all the different guys that just fit into there, you know what I mean, I think they all can go. There are some excellent opportunities for them.
And I think the freshmen (indiscernible) drafting what we're doing, whether we're great special teams players, there are a lot of areas and what guys throw in that area and how we do things. It's got to be critical to get the right guys recovered and getting our kicking games, we're getting first downs on the punts and catching the first down. Other than that (indiscernible) kickoff return, covering kicks (indiscernible). I'm anxious to watch our kickers. They've developed, worked hard in the off-season. I'm happy with the springs they've had and watching how they developed.
Q. Talking about the running backs (indiscernible) --
JIMBO FISHER: Back to offense, nobody talks defense.
Q. I know Amir Rasul is a guy you talked about a lot last year and told me you were really high on him. What do you expect from him going into this season?
JIMBO FISHER: Expect him to compete his tail off. A lot of guys go 700 miles an hour. They can run, catch, block, learn, good size, very hard to tackle. Very strong. They've got a chance to be a really, really good football player. I mean, really good football player. I'm anxious to watch him. He nods his head, yes or no, he's kind of like an old guy. All he says is yes, sir, no, sir, and goes 100 miles an hour. He's a really good player.
Q. When you look at all those guys from the freshman class, I know we always hear about them evolving, how important are things like pass protection?
JIMBO FISHER: I won a National Championship in 2003, I lost every back I had in the fifth game and played all freshman (indiscernible) Justin ran for about 1200 and Allie (phonetic) ran for about 800 we figured out how to help with the protection, do what we've got to do, and hand them the ball and do what they can do. Show it to them, you know what I mean? But it matters. People blitz you and bring pressure, and that's one of your things. But those things come in time, and at the same time, we find ways to get you the ball.
JIMBO FISHER: What we're doing, why we're doing it. I mean, how are we doing on third down. Aware of the what the game plan was back then, and now we've had to bounce a lot of things off of him. You had that, and we had to practice with teams. We always -- again, we always did good. We always got that. And we always go as a head coach. How are we attacking this? What's going to happen here? Why did that happen?
Before and after, you give them freedom to do things, but at the same time, these guys need to play more. These guys, you're always as a head coach, you always have to be a part of all of that. You have to let them coach, but at the same time, what we're trying to do. Also, people don't realize, you want to split offense and defense up. What do you have to do to win the game? We split offense and defense, and it drives me crazy. You know what it tells me? Nobody's ever set (indiscernible) no one's ever played on the team. Because how the defense plays to the offense, and how the offense plays to the defense matters how you win.
That's one of the most crucial things there is. That's what New England does so well. That's what we used to do over there. I think that's what we do here. You ask them, they may be deficient, and it varies game by game what the opponents does. We're so caught up in systems and no huddle, I think that's great. You get beat 49-48, or do you -- or do we have to slow it down? What do you have to do to win the game? That's all I think. The rest of it doesn't matter. What do we have to do to win the game. Doesn't mean we'll win them all, but we've been pretty daggum successful at the same time doing what we got to do.
Q. (Indiscernible) coordinators in one conference in particular don't seem to care about it. They just want to score.
JIMBO FISHER: That's the head coach's fault, whoever you're talking about. The head coach will dictate that. That's the way we're going to do it. Head coach is in charge. That's what you've got to do. You've got to learn to play to each other. Because everybody wants a job. You know when you get a job? When you win. You know how you get the next job? When you win. Everybody says talk in the press. I never talked to the press one time at LSU. Got a job. I never did that one. I wasn't worried about -- didn't care about -- led the conference at points in time, sometimes we were at the top. Sometimes we weren't. It wasn't our game. Alabama does it sometimes. Their guys do.
It's about how you have to play to win the game. It's not obviously (indiscernible) that's what you've got to do to win, sometimes that first (indiscernible). The year we won the SEC in 2001, I think we were 11th or 12th in defense (indiscernible) seventh game and we were 3-2 or something like that, and we'll feed off that and get ahead. Our defense really played the second half. But we could throw it as well as anybody at that time I'd ever been around. We threw it up 600 yards against Tennessee in the SEC Championship, because our team changed mid spring, so we have to score a lot of points, play off our defense, which made our team better. The next year we played different. The year we won the national championship, we had great offense, we scored 35, 37 a game. They were great on defense. We played each other, we changed by what the team does. That's just the way I think. Anybody else want to think that way, that's fine, because at the end of the day it's about trying to be successful to win the game.
Q. Just to clarify, you mentioned several guys at the start, that's day one, right?
JIMBO FISHER: Competition is every day.
Q. Well, just so --
JIMBO FISHER: Well, no, some guys are getting beat up. Some guys are I practicing better. Best part is you've got to go prove it every day. That's one of the great things about having guys around you. You have good competition in your team, that makes practice better. Like you say, if you have a great opening game, that helps your off-season. You have good players on your team. That does too. They say, okay, next you've got to play.
I mean, that matters. That's your whole objective. As a player, that's what you want, too. You don't want to (indiscernible) you'll never find out how good you are. You'll never find out you've got it. Because if you ain't going to play there, how you going to play in the league? You won't find ways to play you, I promise. Sometimes you've got two or three of them, they don't get as many reps but your body is playing in the league. They still make All-American, they still make a million dollars or whatever it may be. So I think competition. Competition every day is what it's about.
JIMBO FISHER: Well, but he still went and did everything he had to do and played. That's just phenomenal. You can't imagine the kind of kid he is. I mean that. I mean not a kid, a young man. A man. I mean, that guy now, he worked. He's tough, he listened, he trusted, and you talk about great work. You talk about a really good person. I'm telling you now, he is. I'm so happy for him. There is nobody that deserved it any more, works any harder, does any more. Ain't bad being 219 pounds playing corner either. He's big enough to do that. That's amazing. I'm just so happy for him. I really am. It doesn't surprise me, but I'm just very happy for him.
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, it does. To clarify that, I never make a guy do it. I ask him, he does it. If he doesn't, that's where he's at. But I think sometimes it does. I think we've all seen not only here but other places a lot of times. That's our job to try to put them in the best position to be successful, and hopefully it does. There are some people that give you some credibility to try. You know what I'm saying?
Q. Along those lines, you guys had an off-season?
JIMBO FISHER: Okay, we've gone beyond spring with that foot, but he's back healthy and practicing, and nice to see him get out there and go. You've got some experienced guys with him and Nate and (indiscernible). You've got some very young talented guys. You saw Westbrook and them play really well. The second half of the season, I thought Westbrook played really well. He played outstanding in the bowl game, in the Florida game he played like a young guy. You know what I mean? We're getting guys from Daytona and all over. All those guys, Cyrus, and Burton (phonetic) and all those guys. It will be fun to watch them play.
JIMBO FISHER: (Indiscernible) first round draft pick. It took him a year to decide it. Most guys, when you sit down and explain what you're thinking, why you're thinking it. This is where I see it, this is why I see it. Most guys in the league will try. I don't think anybody's ever not tried it. They've thought about it (indiscernible) and some (indiscernible) is one of those guys too.
Q. (Indiscernible) for players when they come into this program?
JIMBO FISHER: I think it does. And trust. And I think history. The history of having success doing those things. You may have it. History is a great teach every. What happens, what's going to happen. Success, a lot of those things. Also to trust it, you know. They talk to the players and I promise, he isn't going to do it for a bad reason. He'll move you back, whatever. You know what I'm saying? Because at the end of the day this whole thing goes down to one word, trust. I trust them, they trust me and the coaches and whoever is in charge of it. That's the key part of it, and that is the relationship. That's what this is all about. That's coaching.
Q. Last year Ricky and Logan were two first-year guys. What do you expect from them not only in year two, but how do you handle kickers and punters as they go into their second year?
JIMBO FISHER: We see what their strengths and weaknesses are. Usually your drive and your consistency. Like for instance, Ricky had a tremendous start. I mean, he started on fire. He had one bad game with two or three kicks, which he hadn't missed all year. Then he bounced back and played really well. And Logan started out really good. That is the part you kind of knew was going to happen. What gets you is the longevity of the season. You know what I'm saying? The grind every week. And that's what gets you with players. It's great to have depth and keep guys in rotation, if you can. If you can't, you can't. You'll learn from that. The mental toughness and the drive. You've still got 11 more weeks, no matter if you do good or you do bad. All those things from a maturity standpoint will help you.
Q. With (indiscernible)?
JIMBO FISHER: Consistent performance over a long period of time, and doing it over, and over, and over, and over. How do you make (indiscernible) the first game? You go back, you broke a school record the opening game in a big game against the top 11 opponent in the country. You kicked very well. Going back and -- again, that's what young guys -- I mean, sometimes, like I always say, success, the worst thing about it, sometimes you're pushing. I've got to get better, and I changed this thing, and I changed that. And all of a sudden, I can't kick it.
Like a golf swing. Everybody's got a better -- every time you go out, you learn something new. You're going to hit it straight. I'm going to hit it farther. I'm going to hit it farther, perfect. That's what happens. You can get bored. But at the same time, you want to push those boundaries. But as you get older, it's like any position, I can try that, I can try that. Oh, that didn't work, I'm going to go back to that. And I think it's all a learning process (indiscernible).
JIMBO FISHER: I love his personality, I love his demeanor. He has good presence. I think it's very important. (Indiscernible).
Q. Josh last year had a conversation about how (indiscernible)?
JIMBO FISHER: Do the best he can be. Be healthy, take care of his body and mind and compete. He's healthy. He's a very good player. Very strong. You don't realize how strong he is now. I mean, extremely powerful. Extremely powerful. Whether he can play -- he can play the run and the pass about equally as well.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports