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October 20, 2010

Jimbo Fisher

THE MODERATOR: We now welcome Florida State head football coach Jimbo Fisher. We'll ask for a brief opening statement, then go to questions.
COACH FISHER: We came off a great game with Boston College. Very tough, hard-fought ballgame, very physical ballgame. Boston College gave us all we wanted. We were fortunate to come out with a win.
Very pleased with our kids overcoming some of the adversity we had to come through. We're still a work in progress, we still have to continue to get better every week with a lot of aspects, but very pleased with a lot of aspects of our game as far as playing situations with red zone offense, defense, third down stuff. But we have to clean up some of those turnovers and our defense did a great job in transition, sudden-change situations. Our kicking game I thought was a big key in that position. Our kickers and punters helped us in that game for field position.
Looking forward to an off week, half an off week, playing next Thursday with NC State, and a great ballgame.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.

Q. Christian Ponder has come out at least once about getting the attendance up at home games. Do you think maybe the fans are being a little fickle after a few downtrodden years, and getting a better defense is going to get those home attendance records back up?
COACH FISHER: I think they will. We had a good crowd Saturday. I think we had over 77,000 Saturday. It was almost a full house. Great atmosphere, great environment. Our fans did a good job.
Anytime there's change, people have speculation on what's going to happen, how it's going to happen. We had a couple early games which are tougher on folks. Our fans showed up in great numbers on Saturday and we're very pleased with the attendance.

Q. If it was possibly those earlier kickoff times that were hindering some of those attendance records there, do you have any say on those kickoff times?
COACH FISHER: No, no, no. That's TV. TV sets all the markets today and the times.
But we're playing well at noon, too. Double-edged sword. Playing pretty good at noon and winning, so I don't mind.

Q. Early in the season you had said that Rodney Smith looked like a guy who was ready to come on. Aside from a couple maybe missed routes the other day, where do you see him right now, especially after the big play against Miami?
COACH FISHER: He really played a very average game in his last game. Played a very average game. Willie Haulstead I think has come on better than Rodney. Rodney is making progress. He had three or four blunders as we researched the film and studied.
But he is a very good player. He's getting much better. Doing some really good things. Got to get more consistency out of him in certain situations. Playing solidly and getting better. But he's got to continue not to have those three or four circumstances where he drifts just a little bit.
He's a great kid. I think he does have a very good future.

Q. How big of a weapon can he be at 6'6", up to 220?
COACH FISHER: Well, as he continues to grow in his knowledge of what he's doing and get better at playing the receiver position, he has a chance of being a very good weapon. He is a good deep-ball guy, can go up and catch. We tried to give him one. Left it inside a little bit too far for him. It wasn't his fault.
He's got a chance to be a good player. He's a sophomore. He's growing every year, every game, every week. Day to day, you see him getting better. We got to keep progressing him and keep pushing him.

Q. How much of Ponder's performance on Saturday was because he was hurt?
COACH FISHER: It wasn't. He threw a ball inside on the first one. The second was a poor decision. Didn't see the safety. Third one he didn't have nothing to do with. The ball got tipped at the line of scrimmage. He made a perfect throw, ball was going to be on the money. He made great throws in the second half as far as in the end zone and throws down there. Got anxious on a quarterback read. Just wasn't a great day.
He had two situations in the passing game that he missed the throw, made a poor decision on another. Just had the fumble. Had nothing to do with him. Threw the ball well actually in the second half. We looked at the film. Made a lot of good throws.
We're not playing well around him either. As we looked at the film, we are having four and five missed assignments at wide-out, some situations, not getting where we want to go, and a couple missed blocks upfront. So we were a little bit out of whack on offense in general.
Played very well the last few weeks before that. I don't put much creed in that. The injury part bothered him a little, but I don't think had that big of an effect on him really.

Q. How is he doing right now?
COACH FISHER: Good. Got a lot of the swelling out. Really good. I was very encouraged yesterday. We practice Saturday. We expect him to be back practicing.

Q. Is there any point in a game when he gets hurt like that where you consider putting EJ in?
COACH FISHER: If there's something that hinders his performance. But it wasn't. As we look back at the throws, he was still making throws, doing the right things for the most part. There is a point when you do that. I never thought he looked flustered. Even on the sideline, knew how he did wrong, how he did it wrong, responded to it, kept his head in the game very well.

Q. Is there a point in the game when you put EJ in because Ponder has thrown four picks?
COACH FISHER: It depends on why the picks are thrown. You got to look as why they were thrown, what happened around him to determine that.
Like I said, the quarterback gets a lot of glory and a lot of blame. Two of them were his fault, one of them wasn't. The fumble, he got anxious on the read.
So, no, he's our guy. He's the guy leading us. We're winning football games with him. We're still 20th in the country in points scored, over 50% on third down, great in the red zone. We're leading very well, having 420 yards a game. He's doing a good job leading us.

Q. I was looking at the numbers leading into this NC State game. Both of these teams are very good on third-down conversions but also good at defending third downs. Looks like a lot happens in third downs. Seems to be really emphasized in this game.
COACH FISHER: Well, it could be because that gives you those extra three downs. I don't know their part of it. We emphasize it a lot in our practice on both sides. We spend a lot of time on third down, red zone, big situations of football games.
As I say, this was a perfect game, an example of not playing well, but playing situations, third down, red zone, allowed us to pull this last game out. Probably both teams put a lot of emphasis on it. It's going to be huge to get those downs because both offenses can score. When you get those third downs, you can keep them off the field. I think it will be very pivotal, there's no doubt about it.

Q. Maybe you're familiar with this history, maybe not. How do you explain Florida State's difficulties with playing at NC State over the years. Won some games, but it's not been easy.
COACH FISHER: I think people probably at that time get up to play Florida State. You sit down in that stadium, it's loud, got a good fan base. They get up to play Florida State. They have a lot of pride in there.
When Chuck went there, they tried to raise that a little bit more with the rivalry. Then plus the knowledge. Chuck had such great knowledge what Florida State did, how they did things. I think that probably enhanced it.
Like I say, I remember the one when Chris first started. Threw the picks. They upset him with Terry Holden, when Florida State was really good. NC State will battle Florida State. At that time I think that was probably the big game. You were measured in that league when Florida State first came in by them and they'd get up to play them.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks for being with us. Good luck, enjoy the weekend. We'll talk to you next Wednesday.
COACH FISHER: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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