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April 23, 2014

Jimbo Fisher

JIMBO FISHER:  Glad our spring is over as far as no major critical injuries.  Had a few bumps and bruises, little surgeries after, but everything should be good to go.  Very proud of our spring.  Thought really the second half of it was really good.  First half was not poor, just that we picked the tempo up and became very physical, developing a lot of depth, a lot of different positions.  Happy with the progress we've made, and starting to emerge this team, like this team's attitude, like its work ethic and this team is starting to evolve, its personality and all the things, the traits it has to have to go forward.
But this summer like for all teams, just like it was last year, will be very critical in our conditioning and summer work and their film study, and looking forward to a great fall camp, very pleased with our spring, happy with our spring, think we have a chance to have another very good football team.

Q.  Going off of what you were saying in your intro, what are some of the positions that you really felt like in the spring you had that depth that really improved the most?  What are some of the positions you keyed in on as far as having that depth?
JIMBO FISHER:  I think we developed it definitely in the offensive line.  Felt very comfortable with our running back situation.  Our quarterbacks, our young guys really developed.  Like I say, a lot of the receivers are getting a lot of reps, defensive line we're developing behind.  The young linebackers was really fun to watch in the secondary.  I feel like we've developed it kind of across the board.  You never have as much as you need because you never know when the rainy day is coming, but from our depth perception right now, where we're at, it's as good as it's probably been since we've been here.

Q.  I wanted to ask you a question on the topic of the spring, the unionization that has been going on, especially at Northwestern.  Where do you and your coaching staff and your administration stand on that, and what about the players?  Have they talked about it, and what are their feelings that you've heard from the players?
JIMBO FISHER:  We haven't.  We haven't really talked much about it.  I think there's some good points to it but I think there's also points we're trying to go down a road that we don't know, and I think we have to be very careful.  I think the players' voices do need to be heard.  I think there's definitely that.  I don't know if unionization is the way, but I'm not saying it's not.  I don't know enough of the situation to comment either way, and I'm not going to jump into that fire until I can research and‑‑ as I say, I almost refused the question because I think we're all speculating and guessing, and I don't think that's a good thing to do.
But their voices do need to be heard, but we have to understand the perspective of things, and hopefully the coaches do take their best interests at heart and the NCAA does, as well.

Q.  Do you see the question coming into better focus in the coming months, or the answer to the question?
JIMBO FISHER:  I think it'll take some time.  I think it'll take some time, because here's the thing you've got to understand.  They want those things, which is great, but what does unionization mean and what could they possibly have given up are things that happen once you become a union because there's some rules and regulations that I think will affect players on the other end of that thing, and I don't know what they're going to be, but I know that's usually the case when you have major changes like you do.  I'm going to reserve comment until later in the coming time.  But I don't think nothing is coming this summer.  I don't think it'll be any time right over the horizon.

Q.  Can you specifically talk about the quarterback depth after going back, watching the spring game, watching film, and how you think that developed behind Jameis?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I think Sean did a good job of grasping our offense, namely being able to execute it and things that he does well on the field.  I thought he played well in the spring game.  I think John Franklin Jr. is a very athletic guy who's got to continue his knowledge and growth in our offense but has the ability to make all the throws and is dynamite with his feet, just ran 10.7‑‑ he runs track for us and just ran 10.7 electronic 100 meters, so he can create plays with his feet in different situations.  Those two guys are really developing.  We feel comfortable with them, and then we'll have J.J. Cosentino coming in that we're really excited about.

Q.  With Cosentino coming in and looking at the quarterback, since your time at Florida State you've been able to build depth and never really had much of a dropoff.  How have you gone about that and continuing not having a dropoff when a quarterback leaves for the NFL?
JIMBO FISHER:  I think you've got to try and educate and you've got to tweak your system and turn your system into what that guy can do.  We've always adjusted our system to what they can do, and the guys around them, and everybody has a certain skill set.  But there's a standard which we'd like to recruit to, a certain talent level, and we've been fortunate to be able to do that, and I think those quarterbacks have learned off of each other how to study film, how to prepare and how to do the things they have to do, and I think it's helped them all grow.

Q.  You touched on it a little bit, but I was wondering if you could talk about what has been the biggest development for your team this spring.
JIMBO FISHER:  I think just the ability to have hunger again and understand that they have to have the chip on their shoulder and they have to stay aggressive and keep refining the things we did well and continue to do them and gradually tweak the things that we didn't do well.  And I think that's been the key.
To me it's all about we have worked, we have talent, we will adjust and we may be a different team in several ways because our players may be different.  But I think the critical thing which I've been very pleased with is their attitude and work ethic, especially second half of spring, how they came together and got that chip back on their shoulder.

Q.  What would happen during first and second parts of the spring back there?
JIMBO FISHER:  I just think we played so late, we got back in school, there was no time for these kids to decompress from winning a National Championship, and it's not complacency.  Your body has to decompress and you have to comprehend what has just happened, so then you have to go forward in the next direction.  If things continue to run together and you don't allow them that time, it can affect just the overall‑‑ understanding each other.  I think there's new guys, new guys in new positions, new situations, and I think they grew in those situations and they learned the first half of spring and then really started playing up to their capabilities and talent levels the second half, and that is by no fault of their own, it's just a natural progression that you have to go through.

Q.  You already had a top‑five rated defense in 2012.  I wonder what's the biggest impact Jeremy Pruitt made on your team in his one season there.
JIMBO FISHER:  I mean, the system we ran and we wanted to run.  He did a good job of organizing and calling the game.

Q.  And knowing him, how fast do you think he can turn around Georgia's defense?
JIMBO FISHER:  I have no idea.  I have no idea what Georgia's players are, what their mindset, what their team term personality is.  There's so many other things that y'all don't realize, this team here was‑‑ our team was ready to play.  We had a great temperament, we created a great culture here.  Not that Georgia doesn't have a culture.  They've obviously been very successful.  They've got good players.  But I can't speak about someone else's team and the temperament.  I knew we would have a good defense whoever our coordinator was a year ago.  Jeremy did a tremendous job and you our leadership and our talent level were excellent.

Q.  Just wanted to get your thoughts and opinion on some of the proposed rule changes that might be passed as far as time demands on students and covering the full cost of attendance, things of that nature.
JIMBO FISHER:  The 20‑hour rule has always been a rule.  I don't know how that's a changed.  Am I missing something?  I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I'm asking.  We've always done 20 hours, and we actually leave time for it.
Full cost of attendance, I think room and board, tuition, books and fees, if they can help find a way to stipend some of these issues that these young men go through, I think it's a tremendous thing.

Q.  At Northwestern they said the 20 hours is really being kind of exceeded.  Your thoughts on whether the NCAA might be a little bit more stringent with that 20‑hour rule?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I can't speak about Northwestern, I can only speak about Florida State.  Our 20‑hour rule has never been exceeded.  I don't know what they may do differently or what they don't do, but our rule has never went over that, and we hold stringently to that 20‑hour rule.  I can't speak for Northwestern.

Q.  What impression have you gotten from your team this spring about how hungry they may still be or not or how motivated they may be?
JIMBO FISHER:  I was really impressed with it, I really was.  Those last couple scrimmages, those last 10 days of practice were very physical, very‑‑ not just‑‑ I mean, physical to the point not where we're just knocking each out, knocking ‑‑ we don't go to the ground but twice, only two scrimmages we have or three scrimmages we have is the only time we even tackle and go to the ground, but how they practice, tenacity, the ability to improve and be technique sound and do things the right way, I was very happy with the way we went through the back half of the spring practice.

Q.  And I was with Jameis Winston, he was very busy this spring with two sports, but what was your message to him about how much you wanted him to be present at spring practice, how maybe important you felt it was for him to be at all these practices?
JIMBO FISHER:  It was exactly the same as last year.  He went through the same routine he went through last year.  Now, he played more during our season which made him a little bit more tired I think when he got there, but he did every practice, every meeting, he was here for everything and did a tremendous job.  We knew he had to be here, and it was important, and he wanted to be here.

Q.  Why do you feel it was so important for him to be there?
JIMBO FISHER:  Because he's our leader and he's our quarterback, and that's what he did the year before.  That's exactly how he prepared and got ready for last year.  He went through every practice.

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