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November 22, 2011

Jimbo Fisher

JIMBO FISHER:  Getting ready to play a very tough Florida team, coming off a very disappointing game Saturday in which our kids played hard, but we did not have enough attention to detail and did not play consistently enough to take advantage of some opportunities and had some missed opportunities slip through our fingers.  Virginia did a very nice job, has a very nice team, played extremely hard, took advantage of some of the situations and made a great drive at the end of the game to win the game, and unfortunately we drove back down and then didn't get the field goal when we needed it.  But a lot of other opportunities that cost that game, not just that field goal.  So there was plenty of opportunities for us, and we were moving the ball well in the game, just did not finish drives and made some mental mistakes at times that no one guy, different guys, but one play away, and we need to learn to make that and fix that because we've got a very tough game against Florida this week.

Q.  I was wondering if you could just take you away from the field just briefly.  I'm working on a story about your wife and the kids, first son, and I talked to her last week.  It's well‑known how coaches' wives carry the family, particularly during the season.  I wonder if you would talk about how she's been able to handle it all and still keeping the family and the added responsibilities.
JIMBO FISHER:  I mean, it's unbelievable what a coach's wife does when everything is perfect, and they just have to handle the kids, the family, every situation known to man and everything else.  But then what she's done chairing this fund, it's been a tremendous burden for her and time‑consuming, but it's something she is very passionate about and has done a tremendous job, has raised a ton of money, has organized a great deal and doing everything she can do for our son while I'm coaching and trying to do this.  And she is‑‑ it's actually remarkable what all she's taken on, what she does within a day and what she accomplishes and to be able to keep our family there and be able to keep our family intact, together and still full of energy and love and keep that same excitement in the home where she's not wore out.  Her energy level and commitment is unbelievable, and I'm very blessed to have her.

Q.  She said her personality is a take‑charge kind.  For you, once you guys got over the initial shock, was there any doubt in your mind, knowing her the way you do, that she was going to take this head‑on?
JIMBO FISHER:  No, she meets everything head‑on, and there was no doubt.  I mean, it was a shock, because her love for her kids is unbelievable and her commitment to them, that's why she stays home and does that.  But there was no doubt in my mind that she would attack this thing.

Q.  I have two questions:  One, if I might ask you to go back and think about the UVA game, although I know it's a bit painful.
JIMBO FISHER:  That's okay.

Q.  Minnifield chased down one of your guys, stopped him at the 1 and you guys ended up with a field goal instead of a touchdown.
JIMBO FISHER:  Exactly right.

Q.  They're thinking that's one of the bigger plays of the season for them.  How big was that play?
JIMBO FISHER:  Oh, it's tremendous because it changes the game from 17 to 7, puts them two scores behind us with tremendous momentum and changes the momentum of the game and keeps them within one score, and that's the effort that one guy just not giving up on a play and never knowing what can happen the next play, it was tremendous.

Q.  And looking at UVA, are they doing that more this year?  Is that more of a factor in their defense?
JIMBO FISHER:  You mean‑‑ I think they're playing very well.  They're big, they're strong up front, Minnifield is a very good player.  They're very sound in everything they do.  They mix their looks.  They're just sound football, doing a great job on 3rd down, doing a great job in the red zone I think defensively.  They're very soundly coached and do a good job.

Q.  This goes back to last year if you'll indulge me for a moment.  At the ACC Championship game I was watching your quarterbacks warming up, and Ponder looked like he was throwing it okay but you didn't play him, and now I'm watching him in the NFL and I'm wondering if he could have played in that ACC Championship game but you held him out because your feeling was he's got bigger things down the road and we can't risk further injury to him just for this one game.
JIMBO FISHER:  It wasn't fair to him to play because what he had played through the whole time and all year and then in the Florida game on the touchdown pass, as a matter of fact his last touchdown pass, he reinjured the‑‑ it's not really the elbow, the injury he had.  He reinjured it even more so.  Before it was more maintaining.  The injury wasn't getting any worse, and in the Florida game it got worse because he took a direct shot right on the injury, and it swelled to a point where he could not even practice.
And before, he could get practice reps.  The severity of it increased, and that's why they went in and did some surgery right after that game, and he tried to come back in the Bowl game, and unfortunately got hurt.
But it got more severe in the‑‑ right after the Florida game.

Q.  It wasn't fair to him, it got more severe, and I'm sure he wanted to get out there and play.  Could he have played if he had really pushed it?
JIMBO FISHER:  I don't know that.  I really don't know that.  I think it would have been very close, and he did‑‑ that was discretion, because he never was able to take a practice rep all week.  We had no idea, and honestly, probably not.  Honestly, probably not.

Q.  Tough decision not to play him in that game, or was it an easy decision?
JIMBO FISHER:  It's always a tough decision for two reasons.  One, you want the best for your team and your teammates, but two, you want a senior who got your team to that point to finish out his career and do that.  I mean, those decisions are always tough, and even when you know they can't play for sure, there's not even a doubt, it's still a tough decision as far as what you want for that guy and as he finishes a career.  And the last game for him would be the Florida game here, which is a great thing for our fans here.  But those decisions are always tough because you know the emotions of the kids.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit, I know you got asked about it yesterday, but turning the program around, both you and Will are facing a little bit of a similar challenge.  How long a process is that, and is it a little bit longer do you think maybe than you might have anticipated when you started as head coach?
JIMBO FISHER:  No, I don't think it's any longer than anticipated.  I just think when things go perfectly, they can jump out there, and when you have some adversity and you have some injury to some upperclassmen that you are counting upon to be definite seniors and were definite leaders on your team, it can affect you a little bit and then the ball doesn't bounce right.  We're on track where we want to go.
We haven't won as much this year, and we could have.  If we stayed healthy at the right times, got a call here and there and the ball bounced right, it could have happened very easily.  But it didn't, and we've had a lot of injury with some upperclassmen who were huge leaders for us.
And not only upperclassmen as far as seniors but some juniors.  Losing Chris Thompson and some of those guys were critical because they had tremendous years a year ago, but from that standpoint, we've just got to push on.  It's on track to where it goes, and like I say, you don't always change it immediately, and that's what we think we can do these days, but the direction we're going, the recruiting we have, the great young players we have, the attitude of the players we have, I'm not disappointed as far as that goes in any way, shape or form, and I still think we could have had more success this year, but unfortunately it had to happen.

Q.  Real quickly, Will, your background with him, do you think kind of the way he's going is going to be very similar to the way you're going in terms of your approach?
JIMBO FISHER:  If I answered that I'd be unfair to him.  I mean, it really would.  I think we have similar philosophies probably, but I don't want to speak for him in any way because I think that would be unfair, you know what I mean?

Q.  What does that Florida defense look to you like on film, and what does your offense need to do better this week to do some damage against it?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I think the first thing is attention to detail.  Like I said in that game last week, we moved the ball, and like I said, the instance we get to the goal line and we just miss a blocking assignment which I would have bet $7,000 we would not have blocked or would not have missed.  You could have took all the money I owned, I think.  But that's just the way it goes.  And I think it's attention to detail and focus, and on defense they're have physical, big linebackers that can run, secondary guys play a lot of press and man coverage with mixing in the zones in which they do contest every throw.  I think they're 17th in the country on defense and 25th in scoring, and they had a couple rough outings with LSU and Alabama to get there, so they would be much lower.  I mean, they played two really great football teams or their numbers would even be higher.
You don't see many people moving the ball up and down the field, and what Alabama did was just pure muscle and might, and the same kind of way with LSU, and they had a deep pass or two.  But it's a very good defensive football team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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