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September 4, 2013

Jimbo Fisher

JIMBO FISHER:¬† I was very excited to get our season started on Monday.¬† It was a great environment and atmosphere at the University of Pittsburgh.¬† Great crowd.¬† Very fortunate to come out with a‑‑ like I say, those opening games on Monday night are always tough, and being a conference game, great to get a conference win.¬† I thought our kids competed very well in the game.¬† Pittsburgh came out and hit us in the mouth, and I thought we recovered pretty well and played a solid football game.
Still have a lot of things to work on, a lot of things we have to clean up.  We had some young guys that got a lot of playing time at different positions, and got to continue to grow and build our depth.  But very excited about the way we competed in the game; took care of the football; got some critical turnovers on defense, and in the kicking game we were sound.  Nothing spectacular, but we were sound.  I thought our young kicker Roberto Aguayo kicked the ball very well, and our punter Cason Beatty had a nice punt, pinned them back, and did a solid job in our kicking game.
But like I say, have a lot to work to do, a lot of work to get busy this week, and get ready to play Nevada next week.

Q.  Jameis has played so well, but there's one thing that I observed that maybe you guys want to work on or maybe not.  How do you feel about him when he gets out and runs?  Is he taking too much punishment or is that something you want him to continue with?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† You take just as much punishment in the pocket.¬† He's got be smart and know‑‑ 1st down, touchdown, get down and pick his moments when he has to take shots and things.
But that is; he's a competitor in there, and he's got to be smart and he'll learn as he goes on, but we've got to also not take his aggressiveness away, too.  But Jameis played a solid game that way.  I thought he kept a lot of plays alive with his legs, which helped us out a bunch.

Q.  When you look at the way your quarterback played, the headlines Clemson got after their big run, Duke Johnson running for almost 200, how much can that kind of be a springboard just around the conference this year?
JIMBO FISHER:  I think we have an outstanding conference in general.  I think we have as much talent as anybody.  We have some dynamic players, and we have other ones on our team, too, I believe.
But I think it is good for the conference.  I don't think it definitely, definitely doesn't hurt.  It brings attention to our league, which I've said before, I think we have a tremendous league and our league is growing each week and each year.  I love the addition we've made, and it's going to make it better.  I think the more attention we can get to the conference, I think it definitely helps.

Q.  Talk about Winston's play on Monday.  Had you ever seen that before out of a true freshman?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† Well, I mean, he was a red‑shirt freshman, he wasn't a true freshman, but for a young guy, he played exceptionally well in his first ballgame.¬† I think the guys around him played very well, which allowed him to function.¬† But I think you hit on his poise and presence in the game and competed very well and made good decisions, was accurate with the ball, and made a lot of the right run checks, had a lot on his plate.
But for our first game, now, as I say, I haven't seen one of that caliber, there's no doubt.

Q.  You have a week off, so what are you guys going to do until Nevada to keep things going, the same as game week?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† We have to‑‑ we took yesterday off, we'll be back at practice today, and we have a lot of fundamental things we have to work on, we have a lot of things we have to get ironed out, and it's a whole different situation.¬† We have a lot of improvement.¬† There was a lot of mistakes in that ballgame for us as far as a lot of little things that maybe other folks didn't see but we definitely did, so we'll practice probably Wednesday, Thursday, maybe take Friday off and recruit, probably be back at practice Saturday.

Q.  One of the things you might be working on, will it be the defensive ends?  If I'm reading the stats right, only one defensive end had a hurry and only one had a tackle, and no sacks and the only one to have tackles was Mario.  Any concern about that?
JIMBO FISHER:  No, I mean, there's some fundamental things they did, but they were running plays and skilled balls to players.  It's a different style of defense.  It's not the same defense that we always play by how we went into that game.  You'll see some of the other things, but they had to take on blockers, steal plays, other guys on the power plays and all the different run plays they did, and on 3rd down we replaced guys.  We moved them inside and brought in pass rushing guys that were special situation guys.
So from that standpoint I thought they had a solid game.  We definitely think we have to improve there, there's no doubt, in all phases, but not disappointed in those guys at all.

Q.  Something on E.J. Manuel that I'm doing, I was wondering when he left FSU if you thought you were looking at a starting NFL quarterback even in a few months?
JIMBO FISHER:  I thought he had a chance.  I didn't know what all they had there when he went, but I thought he was a guy that was capable of handling those things, and he did some tremendous things for us.

Q.  His poise is the thing that people seem to point to right away, among all his gifts.  Was that something that impressed you right away about him, as well, or was that a maturation process?
JIMBO FISHER:  I saw that in him.  He grew as he was here, but he definitely always had poise and presence about him.  One of the things that drew me to him in recruiting, that he had a lot of poise and presence about himself and a sense of command from that standpoint.  So it doesn't shock me, it really doesn't.

Q.  You already talked a little bit about the bye week coming up, but at this point in the season, do you like having a bye week so early on?  Is that beneficial to you, or how does that work?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I think bye weeks are all based on where your team is at, the health and their mindset.  I think it was very critical.  Being a Monday night game, I definitely did not want to play the next Saturday.  I think that's very tough.  I think coming off a very physical, long camp, where we're at, we were banged and bruised going into that game a little bit, and we've got some guys that we may be able to get back by the Nevada game.
I think this off week comes at a perfect time for us.  It helps develop some of our younger talent with another off week that we can get ready for the run, and we'll have another off week at about four weeks or so.  But I do not think this one here comes at a bad time this particular year, that's for sure.

Q.  You mentioned some of the young talent.  I think you had around eight true freshmen or so play.  With you evaluate how those young guys did in their first performance?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† I'll tell you what, going out there on a big stage in a national game like that with a sold‑out stadium, I thought they did very well.¬† A lot of guys, a couple of them even started on special teams.¬† You could see these guys are really, before the season is out, going to make major, major contributions, we've just got to keep bringing them along.¬† I was very pleased with that.

Q.  One of the things I'm sure that you guys didn't miss, but as good as Jameis was you didn't have a dropped ball by a receiver in that ballgame.  I'm not sure I can remember the last time that happened, especially this early in the season.  Can you remember a game where you've never had a drop?
JIMBO FISHER:  No, I don't think so.  I think those guys ran very good routes.  That's what I say, I think the guys around Jameis played extremely well.  They made plays.  They got to where they were supposed to be at the time they were supposed to be there, which allowed him to get to his progressions very well.  He got to some third guys and even fourth guys at times, and those guys were where they were supposed to be, catching the ball, making plays in critical situations, and I think they did a great job of making him comfortable and allowing him to function.  Our guys did a really nice job in that regard.  Kelvin, Rashad, Kenny, Christian Green, I think all four of these guys, along with Nick O'Leary and our backs, all did a really nice job.

Q.  The previous question was sort of what I was going to ask you, but I was interested to know, you guys were really wide open in the secondary, a lot of space between the defensive linemen and the linebackers and the linebackers and the secondary.  Was there something you were taking advantage of with the Pitt defense?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I think not just in any defense, I think in the passing game in general, spacing is very critical.  It allows you to get guys in space, and sometimes even when they're covered you can still throw them open, and it allows the quarterback to make better decisions and be better equipped to get the ball out on time when you can create the spacing in the passing game.  Our guys did a very nice job of getting that spacing, which I think, again, allowed Jameis to function a lot better.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about the play calling?  You opened it up, let Jameis make a couple decisions for himself.  What allowed you to do that?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I mean, we were ready for what we did.  We called the plays about the same as we did a year ago.  We didn't really change anything.  We had a lot of the same calls, a lot of the same everything, we just executed what we did.  Our kids played very well, and we didn't change anything.  We ran a lot of the same plays we ran last year and had a good camp with it, and the things he felt the most comfortable with were the things we opened up with in how we wanted to attack Pitt.  From that standpoint it was very similar to what we had done, we just executed, and I think the experience around us is starting to show on offense.

Q.  Do you know how James Wilder, Jr., is doing?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† Yeah, he's doing fine.¬† He'll be day‑to‑day.¬† He's got a banged up shoulder but nothing that will be very serious.¬† We'll give him a little bit of rest, and I think he'll be fine.

Q.  I just wanted to ask after having looked at the defense on film, how do you feel like they settled in, and do you feel like they got a little bit more comfortable with the system after that first Pittsburgh drive?
JIMBO FISHER:  I think it was.  The big thing on the first drive, you look at the first two plays, we were ahead with a 3rd and long, we just gave up a pass play, and we had Joiner who had to come off the field with a helmet situation, and we couldn't get the call in in which we wanted, so we had to go back and play quick base defense because we lost him, allowed them to pick up a 3rd and long, they executed and did a great job, then they got some momentum in the game.
But after that I thought we settled down those six drives held them to about 100 yards.  The first two 3rd downs they converted, went 2 for 8 on the day.  We did a great job on 3rd down; I thought tackled well for the most part.  We gave up 54 yards on three edge plays, which we didn't support directly, like we wanted to from the secondary, which was all that was, and that's something that's very fixable and it's critical mistakes.  That's something that can be fixed with guys making sure they get the right calls.
But based on everything, I thought we tackled well for the most part in space.¬† I thought some of our young guys ‑‑ we got some young guys in there playing that hadn't really played a lot that are going to be great players I think early.¬† Had a little starry‑eyed look just getting on the field, but then they really settled in and I thought we played a nice football game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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