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October 30, 2013

Jimbo Fisher

JIMBO FISHER:  Very excited the way our team played last week against North Carolina State.  I thought we started well and played very well.  Thought we kept good focus in the game, got a lot of young guys a lot of time which I thought was very critical for our future and down the line the rest of the year.  Again, was very proud of the way our guys practiced last week and coming off a big victory versus Clemson and staying focused and being able to play well against NC State who we knew had a great ballclub.
So very proud of that, very proud of the development that we have, looking forward to this week's game against Miami.  Like I say, it's great for‑‑ it's one of the great rivalries in college football.  It's a very influential in the ACC race, very influential in the National Championship race, and I think it's also great for our conference, understanding how great the ball is in the ACC.
Like I said, Miami is a great team, very well coached and we look forward to the challenge we have this weekend, and our guys are doing the same thing.

Q.  Everybody knows about Duke Johnson, but can you tell us about some of the other players on Miami's offense that you guys are focusing on?
JIMBO FISHER:  I mean, Stephen Morris is a great player.  The two tight ends do a great job, 46 and 82 do a great job.  Allen Hurns does a great job; Stacy Coley does a great job; all the receivers.  That whole group of guys can make plays down the field and they're getting them the ball, and they can throw it, they can run it.  Their offensive line does a great job.  They have playmakers at all positions.  We have to pay attention to everybody.

Q.  As far as facing Duke Johnson this week, what's your assessment of this run defense at this point in the season?
JIMBO FISHER:  We feel good.  We're very physical all week and our guys are doing a good job at the line of scrimmage and it's going to be very critical and we've got to fit things right and spill things right and take on blockers the right way and not have a lot of "I" violations.
I think it'll be‑‑ I like where we're at right now in our run defense, but it's going to be a great challenge.

Q.  How do you kind of keep your team kind of focused on when you're winning big like this and you've got a Miami team that's been struggling to win?  Are you having to sell your team on this difficult opponent this week?
JIMBO FISHER:  No, no the at all.  This Miami.  They know each other.  They're No.6 in the country so I don't think you have to sell them on anything.  This team is undefeated.  You look on the film you see a very well‑coached, very good football team.

Q.  I'm going to take you back to 2011, actually.  You had that three‑game losing streak, and since then you're 26‑3.  My question is what was the atmosphere around the program at that point after those three losses, and what has changed since to make you guys so successful going up to this point?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I think in that game if you go back we lost a hard‑fought game to Oklahoma, went right to the end.  We lost our quarterback, had to go to Clemson, played a tremendous game at 35‑30, had a chance to win it at the end.  Two very good opponents, very tough losses.  And then we were really banged up and we had to play Bobby Hart.  People forget Datko never played a game after the Clemson game and all those games.  We had about four or five guys that we lost, a lot of guys on offense going in, and EJ couldn't play going up there.  The doctors said he could not play and at halftime they said he could, and so we got back in the game but we lost those games, but it wasn't bad.  Our kids handled it well and we dealt with the adversity and played through it.
I just think we can learn to continue to prepare well and practice well, and we got healthy, and I think that's another good thing that's going for us right now.  Your health of your team and the maturity, I think we're just older and we just understand those situations better.

Q.  It was just your second year at that point.  How did the fans deal with that little streak?
JIMBO FISHER:  I mean, they have to deal with it one way, we have to deal with it another.  We have to focus on what we do, and you can't worry about that.  I'm sure everybody doesn't want to lose, but that's part of the game, and you as a coach have to keep staying true to what you believe in.  We were able to do that and ended up with a good year.

Q.  How do you stop the two‑headed monster that Miami has in running back; they have Duke Johnson and they have that guy Dallas Crawford.  How do you stop those two?
JIMBO FISHER:  I don't know if you ever stop them.  They're very good players.  You've got to beat blockers at the line of scrimmage, you've got to get guys and tackle well in space because the thing about it, even when you've got guys there to tackle them, they run through you or they make you miss.  That's the challenge of playing great players.  You're going to play very well, keep great leverage on the ball, going to have to rally to the ball, going to have to tackle in bunches and make sure we keep them hemmed up and not give them big gaps because they're all great players.

Q.  Talk about this rivalry; what is it like having both teams undefeated and helping this conference get back to where it was before?
JIMBO FISHER:  I think it's very good.  It's good for both schools.  It's good for the state of Florida.  It's good for the ACC, and it's good for college football.  I think it's good all the way around, and like I say, it's one of the great traditional rivalries in the game, and it's great to see both teams up there.

Q.  I'm just wondering if you have a memory of this rivalry, of this series, that sticks out most to you from when you watched from afar?
JIMBO FISHER:  I don't know if there's any one.  To me the thing that always stuck out to me is how competitive the games were and how athletic and good the teams were and how well they were coached.  It was just at that time it was the epitome of college football and the top‑‑ arguably the top two programs in the country consistently.  To me it was just the great competitiveness and the great athletes that were on the field.  Every year you watched it, the game was almost always the same.  No matter who won or not, it was always very similar games.

Q.  I'd like to ask you a little bit about Lamarcus Joyner.  What sets him apart as some people say the best cornerback in the country?  What is it about him that's so outstanding?
JIMBO FISHER:  I think the one thing is he has a true burning desire to be a great player.  He puts his heart and soul into everything he does, and he's not a selfish guy.  He's a tremendous team player and understands that and a great leader when he goes to that, affects the guys around him.  But when you watch him play and practice, he loves everything about football, the workouts, the practice.  He truly loves it, and I think it's just his great consistency and passion to compete and play, and that's why he plays so hard.  When you watch him, he truly loves what he's doing.

Q.  Without giving away a game plan, what are the effective ways that you can use him against Miami, because they're one of these teams that's got obviously tremendous skill players at receiver?
JIMBO FISHER:  They do.  He can play man, he can play zone, and he plays over the slot, plays at nickel.  We've used him as a blitzer, we've used him as a man cover guy from there, a zone cover guy.  He has the versatility to do a lot of things, and we've used him that way all year long.

Q.  Last year you guys had 24 fumbles and interceptions combined, and this year on tape you've got 17 already.  Is the attacking defense provided by Coach Pruitt working, and you obviously can't prepare for how to force turnovers, but do you feel like this defense has guys in the right place to make plays?
JIMBO FISHER:  I don't think there's no doubt we're keeping great leverage on the ball and we're rallying to it and we're not having a lot of "I" violations, and we're seeing the ball when it's thrown to make plays, and we're tackling in bunches and being able to strip the ball.  I think we're playing with just a lot of confidence right now, and I think it's critical, the more confidence you play with the more good things happen to you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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