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April 25, 2013

Jimbo Fisher

COACH FISHER:  We finished our spring.  Very excited about the way we finished up.  Like the progress we made in all three phases.  Our young kicker really came on.  I feel very comfortable with him.  Our punter improved.  I feel very solid in our kicking game, return game and players offensively.  I really like the experience we had on the offensive line.  It really showed our experienced backs or wideouts, I think, had the best spring.
It allowed our young quarterbacks to really develop.  Those guys understand what they're doing.  That is a huge part.  We've got some talented young guys there battling for a job, and I'm really excited about it.  I think our kids really bought into some additions which we did.  We kept a lot of the same things we did.  We added a few wrinkles and very excited about how our guys grasped it.
Our athleticism will be able to show with the things we're able to do, and very excited about that part.  We got through with some bumps and bruises but nothing that will keep the guys out in the fall, which is very encouraging.
Looking forward to our guys having a good summer, and during fall camp, I think we have a chance to be a very good football team.  Excited about this football team, because I think they understand how to win, the things that go on with it.  And I think our leadership in the senior and junior class is really starting to show.  Excited about going into this fall.

Q.  Does Winston now get an automatic promotion now that trick is gone?  Will he take most of the reps with the first team come summer camp?
COACH FISHER:  No, we're still going to break it up.  Jameis had an outstanding spring, and we'll be right in that battle.  I thought Jacob Coker will still be in that battle, so will Sean.  But Jacob and Jameis will be battling hard for that job and see how Sean is developing, we're very pleased with him.  But we'll split those reps and keep it because I think we have some outstanding quarterbacks on this team, and we'll see how the consistency realizes through.  But I was very pleased with those guys in spring practice.

Q.  I know a lot of people talk about Winston in the spring game.  What were some of the things that Coker did well this spring?
COACH FISHER:  The arm strength and the ability to run.  He played all spring with a broken foot.  For three‑fourths of spring you never saw him utilize all his tools.  So he's a big, strong guy that can think.  Really knows the offense, tough guy, big‑time arm strength, can get the ball vertically and throw the underneath game.  Winston has all the tools also.  So I'm very excited for those guys in the future here.

Q.  You lost a lot of key people on the defensive line.  How do you feel about that position coming out of the spring?
COACH FISHER:  Oh, I felt very good.  Because you look at our defensive tackles, and we lost Dawkins and McLeod inside, but Jimmy and McAllister played as much.  And if you look on the depth chart, they had more sacks and more tackles, and those guys will play in the NFL.
But we had co‑starters and we built a lot of depth behind those guys with Eddie Goldman, and Jacobbi McDaniel back, and (Indiscernible) coming on, and Derrick Mitchell, we feel very confident there.  Defensive ends, I thought Dan hicks moved back over who had split time with Brandon Jenkins two years ago.  He had an outstanding spring.  Mario was coming on, Giorgio Newberry, Chris Casher, all of those guys there.  I thought the defensive line played very well in the spring.

Q.  You've got a number of guys who are going to be moving on to the NFL over the next couple of days, including maybe four or five that might get picked tonight.  Considering where you guys started from when you first got here.  What's it say about what you've been able to accomplish beyond the wins on the field that you're putting this many guys this year into the league?
COACH FISHER:  I hope we can do that every year as we establish ourselves as a definite program.  We ran the type of equipment we were doing and identified certain types of athletes we thought are difference makers and not only that but great kids and have great academic skills.
So our graduation rate is over 80‑something% in the last few years I've been there.  So I'm very proud of that.  I always talk about having a good team or a good program.  Good programs you're able to replace with other good guys and those guys will work their way through the system and they come out.  We have a chance to have five guys possibly taken in the first round.  I think you'll see two to five.  But five taken in the first two rounds, which is excellent.
Really like the development of our program, and excited for the future, and I think we've come a long way in the last few years.

Q.  This is a random question, I guess.  You talked a lot in the spring about Telvin Smith and his personality and how much he's been a leader on the defense.  I know Greg Reed was a guy who played that role too.  Is there something about maybe not just Lowndes guys in particular, but those south Georgia guys that there is a certain personality you like about recruiting those guys?
COACH FISHER:  I tell you what, those kids are tough now.  They've been coached hard.  They've come up on that red Clay and been coached since Pop Warner.  But Florida's got great ball.  Everybody's got great ball.  But I think those two guys have a great personality, Greg and Telvin have.  Telvin, if you started practice over and practiced for eight hours, which you can't do, but Telvin would be the happiest guy in the world.  He loves everything about football and loves being out there.
He's really grown as a person.  I'm happy for him, and he's going to be a huge part of our football team.

Q.  Talk about the dynamics of the spring with six new coaches, just having to get to know the kids?
COACH FISHER:  You know what's funny, we're doing the fourth quarter program and all that and they're doing a great job.  And most of those guys come from a system where we do things similar.  So they grasped ahold of it very well.  They spent a lot of time watching film and evaluated kids in the off‑season program and getting them into spring.
Our kids really love our new coaches and they love the old coaches.  I think they bought in to see where these guys are bringing things to the table that we had, and now they're adding to those and they see where they can have success, and they're having a lot of fun interacting with these guys.  Most of these guys have National Championship rings and been in the NFL and coached.  Kids want to know, well, they've coached other great players.  They want to know that these guys can get you there.  That excites players to know the coaches that are coaching them, it's working and it's worked in the past for great players.
I think the cohesiveness with our staff and our players was about as good a transition as I can expect.

Q.  Just talk about the development of Kelvin Benjamin?  There was so much build up last year his first time on the field.  And then there were some drops and some things that didn't go great for him.  But what did he learn from last year and what did you see this spring?
COACH FISHER:  We all took so much expectation on the kid.  If he had an S on his chest like superman.  He wasn't going to succeed.  And I think we have to be careful of that.  He wanted to make the big plays so bad.  And like we told him in spring.  Go back, do the little things, run the underneath routes.  All of a sudden, he gets 100‑something yards and you weren't just trying to create big plays and throw it down the field to him.
It was within the framework of the offense and learn to be an every down player, whether it's blocking, running the clear out route, running the drag, wherever it goes.  I think he's really grown in that aspect, and I think that's what you're going to see.
You're not just always going to see the big plays.  I think you're going to see the consistent play, and that's what I'm hoping for.  Because when he has that in his arsenal, the big plays are going to be good.  It takes a lot of pressure off you.  You don't always have to do something spectacular to win a football game.  There are all kinds of things that can make him a great player.

Q.  Everyone up here in Pittsburgh, it's a few months away, but pretty excited about that opening game?
COACH FISHER:  You guys don't need to do that.  Can you forget about all that?

Q.  Well, what are your thoughts on that game, and what sort of atmosphere do you expect?
COACH FISHER:  I think it's going to be crazy.  I grew up in the state of West Virginia.  I know football and the passion people have.  Being an opening ACC game, I think it's going to be a great environment and a huge challenge for our players.  Pitt returned a ton of guys on defense a top 30 defense in the country.  A lot of guys on offense.  They have quarterbacks who have experience.  They have play makers that are coached extremely well.
I think it's going to be a terrific, terrific football game.  I'm going to tell you, boys, that's a starter right out of the gate.  We better have a great camp and be ready to play.  There is no doubt.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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