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September 1, 2010

Jimbo Fisher

THE MODERATOR: With that, we'll bring on Coach Fisher and ask for a brief opening statement and then go to questions.
COACH FISHER: I'm excited to be with y'all. We are really looking forward to our opener on Saturday. Our kids have had a great camp. We have worked very hard, got through it with minor injuries. Our attitude is very good, and we are tired of playing against each other a little bit. We are really looking forward to having an opponent to play against this Saturday and we have a great challenge in Stanford University coached by Pat Sullivan. Pat is a great guy is and has accomplished a lot in this game, and I know he will have his team prepared. We are ready for a dogfight when they come in here.

Q. Coach Fisher, it's a pleasure to be able to talk to you. Quick question for you, in regard to the wide receiver position, I know Willie Haulstead has stepped up quite a bit and surprisingly, Bert Reed has fallen a little bit down the depth chart. Can you talk about that development a little bit and how you came to the decision to give Haulstead and some of the others a stronger look as the starters?
COACH FISHER: Well, the plays they are making in games, Willie has made -- he's probably made five, six, seven catches in the last week or so, just phenomenal. Making consistent plays, doing the things, haven't made any great ones, but I'll say in this in turn. In the last four days, five days I think Bert Reed has practiced as good as he has since he's been here. I think he's accepted the challenge, too, and has found his way right back into this rotation prominently, and could end up being a starter, maybe Willie and him could both be starters.
I've been very pleased with Burt here recently and like I said, that was not a motivational thing before. And it wasn't nothing, that Burt was just doing that poorly; it was that Willie was excelling. And I think that's what happened is has raised his game because Willie raised his game. So been really pleased with both of them here last four, five, six days.

Q. I know you've been preparing for this for a long time, but still, as the game approaches, how does it feel being in the position you're in now, as opposed to the ones you've been in before, and particularly, you know, as on the eve of the game or when that comes, do you think you'll feel any kind of butterflies at all, or can you tell yet?
COACH FISHER: Oh, no, there will definitely be butterflies. There's butterflies every game I was the offensive coordinator.
No, there are definitely butterflies when you're the head coach. It's starting to dawn on me, like I say, you're so busy getting ready for the camp and getting ready for the game and practicing and doing all of the things that you have to do; as you get really close and you start having to do these teleconferences and press conferences and speaking engagements that are more inclined to the game, it's really starting to sink in.
Like I tell our kids, hopefully you all have nerves and hopefully you always have butterflies. That's part of why you play the game; the excitement and you want to do well. But if you're prepared for that situation, then you relax and go back on your preparation.
It is starting to sink in. There is a few butterflies, but they are anxious butterflies really, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity and to the challenges.

Q. After a week in practice for you, is it Tuesday or is it Wednesday -- is there any one week or any one day that you get more accomplished than any other?
COACH FISHER: No, I think Tuesday and Wednesday of every work week during a normal work week is your two hardest days. Monday generally. Now Monday for us was a Tuesday, and Tuesday was a Wednesday, today -- we'll have an extended Thursday. Won't have quite the cut back we do on a normal Thursday, but we'll have basically that with a little more included, some mixture of Wednesday and Tuesday involved in that, and then tomorrow will be a typical Thursday.
But during a normal week, Monday is your base, Tuesday and Wednesday are extremely hard workdays, and Thursdays you'll start to cut back and just polish and do all of the things that you have to do.
From that standpoint, today will be an extended Thursday.

Q. Speaking of Thursdays, when that happens and you have ESPN, an ESPN Thursday night game, is it something that you have to begin planning for, sort of a week in advance? Is it something where you'll be relying on others who have been head coaches to give you sage counsel on how to prepare for a strange schedule?
COACH FISHER: Yeah, we do. I've been involved in a lot of Thursday night games. We have had some decent success in those. So some of the schedule we've had in the past; but I'll always check with guys to see if there are different ways that people are doing things. You always try to keep up with what's going on or if somebody else is doing something better so you can at least judge and make your own judgment about how you want to do it yourself.
Thursday night games can be a pain a little bit because it does change your routine and get your kids out of whack as far as that normal weekly schedule. So that's something you're always having to look to tweak and see who it doing it the best and who is having the most success with it.

Q. Since you've always been on the offensive side of the ball, and now you have to -- I know you've got defensive guys that you're really counting on, but still, when you look over the defense now, is it with a different eye, and what have you seen so far?
COACH FISHER: Most definitely it is. You're always wanting to make sure that we are sound in what we do, and we practice good on good, which we do, and we watch a lot of film together as on offensive and defensive staff when we are practicing against each other. And I like so we can ask, what's going on against you, what's going on there, is that sound there.
As a head coach that's your responsibility, and always meet with the defensive coaches during the week on Tuesday and see the part of game plans they have, and how we are going to attack that team's offense and what we are going to do. And Wednesday the same way and we'll review it together as a staff on Thursday and make sure that we are all on the same page and how we are going to play the game and how we feel that if we have to be aggressive scoring points or if we have to be conservative or whatever that may be.
I've spent a lot of time on that side of the ball and making sure that I understand exactly what's going on on that side, because ultimately it is my responsibility for how we play. But I trust, totally, in our defensive coaches and our defensive staff. And I feel very good about the way they have presented things and done things with our players. We are making plays on defense but we are also being very sound and not giving up very many plays, and I really like the direction we are going and excited about it.

Q. Can you just follow-up on that a little, what do you see that you really like about the defense?
COACH FISHER: Well, I think we'll be a lot more physical up front, we have more size and running better and testing the run and really filling in but also not giving up the big plays in the play-action pass. You know when you get certain guys in the box and get guys down there, our safeties are doing their job of reading the run and pass; our corners are doing a great job, they have great cover skills. So when they are singled up, they are making the plays and not giving up the big home run in what they are doing; but also still contesting the balls underneath. Very I talented I think back there in the secondary and getting more physical up front in the defensive line, and I think our linebackers can be a real strength of our defense.
So I very comfortable with direction they are going and with the experience and knowledge what our kids are grasping and what Coach Stoops and Hudson and everybody else on defense is teaching.

Q. Bobby Bowden says he's going to stay away from the games, principally because he doesn't want to -- he's doing it for you; that doesn't want to look over your shoulder. How do you feel; what's your reaction to that?
COACH FISHER: He's always said that. He said that 20 years ago. And I remember him saying that when Terry became the head coach at Auburn. I remember him making that statement to me in the 90s because he was taking over for a legendary coach in Coach Dines (ph). He said if that ever happens to me, when I do retire, I'm going to stay away for a year. I heard him say that 20 years ago. And we had that conversation when I was named head coach, he says when that time comes, I'm going to stay away. If you need me, call me. And if you don't, then I'm going to stay away, because I don't want sit there and look over your shoulder and people say, oh, Coach, he would have done this, he would have done that; that would have happened.
And I think it's just a reflection of the man, and the confidence he has in himself and the respect he has for other people. And that's why I've always said, Coach Bowden has done things with such class and dignity and has done it that way as much as anybody in college football.

Q. You talked about the defensive staff and how you would attack the Stanford offense, what in particular about them have you seen that does maybe give you some concern?
COACH FISHER: Well, I'm going to tell you, they are constantly -- they run a lot of screens, they run a lot of reverses, reverse passes, flea flickers, constantly challenging you in your discipline. You have to be aggressive and stop plays, try to misdirect you, and at the same time they are trying to zone it down the doggone field trying to create big plays.
They always keep you on your toes and they keep you very sound and never let your feet dug in to what you are trying to do, and they turn it around and run it right at you. They are a team that your discipline is really going to be checked and at the same time, we have to have great pursuit to not give up plays. You're saying hold back and don't give up the big play, but at the same time we are going to stop the run and be up there on the trick plays and the screens and all the different things they do.
They take their shots and they have taken those shots down the field to create those one-on-ones and I think they do a really good job of mixing things up that way. It's really going to test our fortitude about our discipline and how aggressive -- we have got to stay aggressive, but we can't go running up and giving up the cheap ones.

Q. In the best of all worlds, what would you like to come out of that game with on Saturday and the game is over walking off the field, what do you see is the biggest achievement you could have outside the victory?
COACH FISHER: Hey, that's still No. 1. That's exactly what I was going to say. But to go in and play well with great toughness, discipline, effort, a lot of pride. You know, don't have a lot of mental mistakes. Don't turn the football over, don't have a lot of penalties and don't give up things on the kicking game.
Because I think that's the way, when you're playing a team that you're favored to win against, that if you turn it over, you have penalties, you don't do a good sound job on the kicking game; you give up a fake punch or an on-side kick or something like that; we need to be very sound in our substitutions and make sure we are in the right situations and got the right calls in and not out of whack in that first-game communication. That's why we have done a lot of things in the off-season with our staff and players to try to do that and we have to reinforce that the next three or four days.
But to set a tone for how we want to play the season, not talking about how we win, but by the way we play the game and the way we execute that we act like we play with the toughness, effort and discipline and pride in which we need to.

Q. In talking with Stanford offensive coordinator yesterday, he thought the biggest advantage Florida State would bring to the field would be in special teams. Can you talk about the uniqueness of the special teams and how much speed factors into that with Hopkins as a field goal kicker?
COACH FISHER: I think our punter and our kicker both have very good legs. I think they can change field position. We have great long snappers and we have good team speed, and so we have guys that can cover kicks and get down the field in what we are trying to do. There's a lot of hidden yardage there and that determines how you start drives and how aggressive you can be in your play calling and the things that change the game that people don't ever realize as much; you get caught in the offense and defense.
So the special teams part of it; and that's what we have to be very sound in what we do and not give up fakes and let them take advantage of our speed and athleticism, but let that be a strength for ourselves.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for being with us. Good luck this week, we look forward to talking to you week.

End of FastScripts

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