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September 19, 2012

Jimbo Fisher

JIMBO FISHER:  Hello, everybody.  Looking very forward to this weekend, but were very proud of our guys this past weekend against Wake.  Thought we played a very sound, very good ballgame against a very quality opponent.  Jim Grobe teams are always very well‑coached, very tough, and you have to be able to execute to beat them, and I thought our kids did in all three phases.  I thought our defense was very dominating, thought our special teams did a great job, and our offense was very physical and ran the ball and made throws and converted on 3rd downs and the red zone opportunities which we had, and I was very proud of that.
We still have a lot of growing to do.  I still think there's a ton of room for improvement.  But I like the attitude which our kids are taking, the way we're practicing and preparing, and we have a huge challenge in Clemson.  Clemson is a great ball club.  Very anxious to watch our guys, how we respond to this as far as going through all the media and being able to eliminate the clutter of the things and keep focused on the ballgame but still be able to deal with the extracurricular things that are part of this, and it's a very important game for us at Florida State, a very important game for Clemson, a very important game in general.  But hopefully here at our University you're going to play in a lot of important games, and this is part of you learning in that process, and hopefully we were able to gain some experience from last year's situations and occurrences and we can still play well in this game and do the things that we need to do.
But we're looking forward to a challenge.  Clemson has got a phenomenal ball club, very well‑coached.  Dabo has done a tremendous job with their program, and it should be an exciting weekend.

Q.  They have in Tajh Boyd obviously an exceptionally mobile quarterback who can make a lot of things happen, make plays with his legs and his arms.  How important is it for you to get the pressure on him defensively and try to make him uncomfortable back there?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I think that's the key in any situation, with any level of ball.  I mean, I don't care if you're Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or whoever.  If they can affect you with rush and pressure, it's not comfortable whoever you are.  And that's always the name of the game.
But the challenge is to make sure you do it within your rush lanes and not let him scramble and create plays with his legs and create big plays.  He creates a ton of challenges, but it is always a defense's job or mentality to affect the quarterback in any way that they can possibly do that, but he is a heck of a player, and it will be a great challenge.

Q.  With Jenkins gone and now Carodine and Werner playing more minutes at defensive end, are you happy with the way they've responded to that?
JIMBO FISHER:  Oh, yes, I am.  It really hasn't changed Werner as much as it's given more time to Tank.  Werner always was doing it, but I've been very pleased with those two.  Like I've said before, I've always felt like our ends were 1A, 1B and 1C.  We felt very comfortable with all those guys, and been very pleased with the young guys when they've played.  The young guys that are getting quality reps, I've been pleased with them.  But those two older guys I think have done a phenomenal job.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about what it meant for Chris Thompson to have the kind of performance that he had against Wake after what happened last year?
JIMBO FISHER:  I think as much as anything it was a great relief, and people don't realize, and I was skeptical because everybody wanted to talk about the story going into the week about him getting hurt against Wake, and I knew it would affect him.  He would go talk and do all that, but I knew subconsciously it was a big moment for him.  I think there was some nervousness during the week as we saw little bits and pieces, but he doesn't try to show that.  But I think it is; it's a barrier that he's gotten past, and I think it was huge for him to do it and for him to move on with this season because it was the one‑year anniversary, that game, and I think mentally it was a huge burden off his shoulders in my opinion in his mind that he was able to go out there and do that so he can look forward to the rest of the year.

Q.  Last year Sammy Watkins was kind of flying under the radar, a little bit of an unknown player what exactly he could do.  Are you gearing up your defense any more to kind of center in on him and maybe throw away from him?
JIMBO FISHER:  Yes, I called Commissioner Swofford and asked him if we could play with 13 guys and he would not allow me to do it.  That knocked my first plan out, so we can't play with 13 to be able to try to double him and double a couple of the other guys and get an extra guy on the run.  Maybe if we get 14; I'll take 14 if they'd let us.  No, we have to know where Sammy is at at all times, but that's the thing about it:  It's not just Sammy; it's Hopkins, it's Brown, it's Ellington, it's Boyd and their tight end.  They create so many different playmakers, and they have them.  But he makes them better because you definitely have to know where he's at at all times.

Q.  Can you just talk a little bit about what Everett Dawkins has meant to your defensive line through the years, and it seems like he's not real flashy but just been a real steady rock in the middle there for you?
JIMBO FISHER:  Oh, there's no doubt.  Defensive tackles ‑ I say this all the time ‑ they're the most unselfish people in the world.  They have to be.  They have to stay in there and stay in run gaps and let the ends rush up the field and make sacks.  And they sometimes can get them as a defensive tackle, but they've got to make sure those gaps get sound up front and push the pocket so the quarterback can't step up and scramble, and they've got to make on double teams so the linebackers can make plays.
Everett is an ultimate team guy, but Everett is a very, very good football player.  I think he'll play at the next level.  I think he's a big, powerful body he's got himself.  He's 303 pounds and he stays there right now.  When we recruited him he was about 235, 240, and he's developed and changed his body, and he's a leader.  He's got a great mentality, a great mind, a great competitor, and I just‑‑ blessed that he is with us and has had a phenomenal career here at Florida State.

Q.  Did you know early on that he was the type of guy that could add 60, 70 pounds, whatever it was?
JIMBO FISHER:  We thought he had the capability because of the way his legs and shoulders and hands, he was on a big frame, big body frame, and we didn't know how big he could get, but by being a fifth year senior and taking that time, it's really evolved.  We knew he could get big, we just didn't know how big.

Q.  With the way your team has played so far this season, do you go into this game more optimistic, more confident than maybe you did last year?
JIMBO FISHER:  I don't think there's any doubt because any time you come off a loss you're never as confident, I don't care what you say, and we had some injuries and we had some unknowns.  We don't have as many unknowns and we have played well, so yes, I think from that standpoint we are a much more confident team, but I think experience allows you to be more confident, too.  I think we've got some older guys, some guys that were in the fire a lot, so from that standpoint, but not from the standpoint that you say‑‑ any disrespect to Clemson, they're a phenomenal team, but I think from within our own framework we are more confident in what we're doing, we're better at what we do, we're more knowledgeable at what we do, so from that standpoint, yes.

Q.  And personnel wise are you maybe even a better match‑up than you were last year against Clemson?
JIMBO FISHER:  I hope so.  I hope so.  I think so.  I think I've got some young guys that have really developed, some older guys that have really changed who they are and what they've done and really grown, like you want guys to grow and mature as they do in college, so hopefully from that standpoint, yes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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