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October 19, 2011

Jimbo Fisher

COACH FISHER: Coming off the game with Duke, I thought we executed well, one of the best games we've played as far as executing in all three phases, eliminated a lot of the penalties and things, the self-inflicted wounds which we had. Were able to hit some big plays and establish a running game. Our defense did a nice job against a very good offense at Duke who controlled the football, pass blocked very well.
Special teams had a good, solid game, was very proud of our kids the way we responded dealing with some adversity, great attitudes all week in practice, continued to, and looking forward to hopefully having a great week of preparation and getting better against a Maryland team who obviously played one heck of a football game against Clemson, just come up a play short, but is improving every week and looks like a very explosive team and doing some really good things. So we'll have our work cut out and need to have a great week of preparation.

Q. Was the Duke game a perfect illustration of what happens when you have a healthy E.J. Manuel?
COACH FISHER: It has a lot to do with it. I mean, you can say it all you want, but using your quarterback and a guy of his caliber really affects your team, compounded with all the other injuries and things. But he does erase a lot of mistakes with his legs and his ability to make plays with his leadership and toughness. That was one great game. Hopefully he can play at that level all year. He was playing very well when he got hurt. But he's a big cog, and he's a great addition to get back, that's for sure.

Q. Is he 100 percent, or is he still playing with some shoulder --
COACH FISHER: He's getting pretty close. There's always a little one there, you know what I mean, but he ran the ball and did everything, and he's pretty close to 100 percent.

Q. Just to follow up on that, has it been hard for you not to wonder what could have been this season had so many guys not been hurt?
COACH FISHER: I don't worry about that, and I say that -- I mean, in the end you may reflect back on things that could happen, but you understand as a coach that that is part of athletics. Injuries are a part of it. We have so few seniors and limited juniors that our team is mainly a lot of freshmen and sophomores with a limited number of juniors, and we don't have many seniors. So your depth issues, and in a year or two hopefully we can overcome those issues better than we have. We weren't disastrous. We lost the games but we were still close, we just needed to eliminate some mistakes and hopefully be mature.
But as a coach you have to dwell on that, you have to dwell on the future. Hopefully what we need to do is focus on finishing out this year and getting better every week, and we could still have a successful season and a very good season.

Q. SEC commissioner Mike Slive has proposed some academic reforms, including the use of multiple-year scholarships, doing away with one-year renewables. How would that work and do you favor it?
COACH FISHER: I'd have to hear more about it. I'm not against kids getting guaranteed scholarships, but also on their end there's things they have to uphold to be able to keep them. I don't think you see guys out here cutting -- as much as we think there are and people want to say that, I don't think you see coaches running guys off to create room for scholarships as much as we see, and I would like to see some guidelines for that, and I haven't had time to really think it through. From that standpoint I hate to say that I don't have an answer. I can see the rules of the game and give me some time to think through it.

Q. Well, certainly it's just a proposal at this point. If something like that was passed, would you like to see the schools have the final say-so on the length of scholarship? In other words, you could offer one kid a four-year, another kid a one-year?
COACH FISHER: I don't know if you could do that. I think you would have to probably be equal to everybody. And I think it would have to be universally -- see, what I think one of the problems with college football is, that I do think, I think we need a central board. We're trying to get all these same rules inside to do everything the same, and every conference has its own set of rules and own set of guidelines and so many different standards, it may be time that we get a set standard across the board in everything.

Q. Talk about the excitement of your coming home. It's been about a month since you've played a home game. Are your guys pumped up in the locker room about getting back to the home turf?
COACH FISHER: Yeah, we had to walk out on the field just to see what it looked like again. I made them walk out there and see it, we haven't been here in so long, just to recognize the stadium. It'll be hopefully good to get back to the home confines. I hope we understand just because we come home doesn't mean everything is right okay. We still have to prepare and play and do the things we've got to do. But it is good to get back to the friendly confines of Doak Campbell.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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