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November 9, 2011

Jimbo Fisher

JIMBO FISHER: We come off a performance which we had a five-day turnaround to go to Boston College. Was very proud of our guys how we handled that. Was able to go up and perform well in the game. I thought we played a very good defensive football game. Offensively were very sharp, especially the first half, then had one little lapse there for just a second and then got back together, but converted red zone scores, as Boston College is always a very tough team to score on. Kicking game was very consistent and was pleased.
We've continued to make some progress with our team, and a lot of our young guys are accepting their responsibilities and their roles better and they're learning to play better, and we've got a very tough opponent coming into Doak Campbell this weekend in Miami. It's going to be a great challenge.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the season that Jacory Harris has had and how your secondary prepares to shut him down?
JIMBO FISHER: I don't know if you ever shut guys down. You've got to play well against them. The receivers are doing a great job, and their line is doing very well. I think a big key to that, too, they're running the football so well. You have to worry about Lamar Miller in the backfield with their running game, and I think that's that quarterback's best friend, and Jacory now is making good decisions, being very accurate, and those guys are catching the ball and he's playing very fine.
We have to -- not just our secondary, your linebackers are going to play well, your front is going to have to play well, and you can't let them be two-dimensional and keep running the football, too, so we have our work cut out all the way around the board.

Q. And how about E.J., how do you think he's progressing since the Oklahoma game?
JIMBO FISHER: I think he's played great. He completed about 67 percent of his passes, 66 percent, something like that, on the year, leading us very well, running, making tons of plays. The team is feeding off of him, and I think he's playing well right now.

Q. Travis Benjamin, No. 3, receiver for Miami, has had pretty good success, in some cases excellent success, against the Seminoles in previous years. I was wondering if you could comment on him a little bit, and also now with the emergence of Tommy Streeter, No. 8, this season, what kind of challenge specifically does that present for your pass defense?
JIMBO FISHER: Well, I think Benjamin not only as a receiver but also as a returner. He's very dynamic, great with the ball in his hands, can really run. Streeter with his size and speed and his ability to go get the ball and attack it, they're both definitely big weapons, and they're a problem. When you've got two guys on the field like that at one time, they create such a deal that you have to know where they're at all the time and make sure you're accounting for them, there's no doubt.

Q. The other thing is I'm sure you've been asked this already, but I believe the visiting team has won in this series I think the past five games.
JIMBO FISHER: Maybe it is, yeah.

Q. Why do you think that is? That's unusual, don't you think?
JIMBO FISHER: Everything goes in streaks, you know. Everything -- it happens like that and sometimes it's the home team that always wins. I don't know why that is. We have great respect, and all of them have been very close games. The ones that I've been involved in I know have definitely all been very close games and tough games, so I just think it's two great teams that have a lot of respect for each other but compete very hard against each other, and for some odd reason the road team has made one more play than the home team most of the time.

Q. I know that the Florida State/UF game is a big rivalry game. How does this one compare a little bit? It's also an in-state rivalry.
JIMBO FISHER: Oh, it's huge. There's a ton of respect, and the implications that the game has had in the past have been tremendous. To me it's one of the great not only rivalries of ours but rivalries in college football across the country.

Q. On that note, I was driving in and I heard a national radio program talking about how FSU/Miami doesn't have the buzz it once had, but as far as your kids are concerned, is it important what they think, and do your kids -- and do you believe the Miami kids have the same --
JIMBO FISHER: Oh, there's no doubt.

Q. Same attitude they've always had for this game?
JIMBO FISHER: Oh, I think there's no doubt. They know it's a lot of guys they've played against, and for them a rivalry is a rivalry. You know, what the country might think about this particular game as far as a National Championship implication or something of that nature, that's one thing. But for your kids and the two programs, it's definitely a rivalry, and it's a very big game and one that we look forward to competing in every year.

Q. I had a question about Devonta Freeman. Can you talk about his success? And then the second part is this game is possibly a recruiting battle. Do you see it as such, especially as the two universities are always in the mix for a lot of similar kids?
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, there's no doubt. I think it has -- kids look at it and see who's on top and who's playing well and where they would like to play, unless you just grow up a definite fan of one side or the other. Devonta Freeman just keeps progressing each week. His maturity level and his work -- the thing that's amazing about him is his work ethic, his tenacity, his just genuine overall love for football and the way he goes about it every day. He's become a big cog in our offense and we depend on him a lot, not only running the football, but he catches it very well, he's blocking very well and just being a great team player, and we're very fortunate to have him on our team.

Q. I was just wondering what your reaction was to the news that Coach Paterno is going to be retiring at the end of the year?
JIMBO FISHER: Well, I just heard it as I was walking over. I haven't had time to even think about it. If that's the case, I don't know all the circumstances of things going on, and I don't. But he's obviously been one of the icons and legends of our game, and it's a shame that those situations, if they are true, are what's going to force him to retire. But as a coach and what he's accomplished has been amazing, but there are greater things in this world besides ball. There's some other things that sometimes we lose sight of, and it's a shame. But again, I don't know the facts or anything what's going on. It's all hearsay. Until things are proven that way, I'll have to hold off, I guess.

Q. Curious, in your experience across years as a player and a coach, probably getting up around a quarter century, I think you said you started your college career in '84, can you think of any rivalry that's more associated with field goals or missed field goals?
JIMBO FISHER: I'd have to think through it, but no, none that come to mind because that's the thing that everybody always talks about in this one. There may be. There may be. I was in the Alabama-Auburn rivalry one time and I know Van Tiffin hit a 52-yarder to win one year and we hit one one year when I was at Auburn in '97 to win 18-17, but I don't know if it had that many as this one has. How many has there really been, two or three, when you really get down to it?

Q. Well, there's been four at FSU and then of course there's been the botch that you missed.
JIMBO FISHER: '91, '92 --

Q. Right, and then you had two in the early 2000s. You had Beitia in a 28-27 loss, and then you had one for a tie in the 2000 season, remember, that was Winky when they lost at Miami?
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, I didn't realize that one, but I guess so. I guess that's about as many as you could have.

Q. And just to follow up on that real quickly, you've got obviously -- you've got to feel good with what you've got going for you if it comes back down to that?
JIMBO FISHER: Yeah, we love our kicker. We think he's an outstanding young man, an outstanding player, and he has handled those situations before.

Q. It probably seems like you've been preparing an offense to face Sean Spence and the middle of the Miami defense forever. What is it that makes him so good?
JIMBO FISHER: I think he's very instinctive. I think as you watch them, all great linebackers are very instinctive. Whether he takes a block on, he slips a block, he runs, he pulls the pin, plays very hard, you can just see his great instincts and love for the game and just a natural football player. I think that's the greatest thing he has going for him.

Q. He's not the biggest middle linebacker around, but that doesn't seem to deter him at all.
JIMBO FISHER: No, it doesn't. I mean, his ability to compete and his toughness and love for the game you can see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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