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December 6, 2014

Dalvin Cook

Jimbo Fisher

Jameis Winston



JIMBO FISHER:  Well, first of all, I'd like to say a lot of respect and congratulations to Georgia Tech.  They played one heck of a football game.  We knew going in this thing was going to be very tough.  They were probably as hot as anybody playing extremely well this time of year and Paul and his group have done a tremendous job.  They've got one heck of a team.  They really did.  It was a great football game.  But do you know something?  We're a very good football team, too, extremely good football team.  That's just the facts of it.
This program is not built on wins and losses, it's designed to create opportunities.  Tonight was an opportunity to play in the third ACC Championship in a row and to chase another National Championship.  Being in games like this is very significant.  We're starting to get used to those scenarios, and this thing‑‑ this group has done significant things as a whole.  It's been amazing what this team has accomplished, and in a lot of ways maybe more amazing than ‑‑ last year's team was dominating, this year's team, to me the word is more amazing.  It really is, the resiliency which they have.  They compete together.  They excel together.  They've had some struggles together, and I this think that's what makes them so tight.  But they're a family, and as a coach, the goal is to build your organization into a group who genuinely cares about each other.  If there's one thing about this team and any team I've ever been around, it truly cares for each other.  It loves, trusts and believes in each other, by how they practice, how they carry themselves off the field, when one guy is down, the others pick him up.  And I'm not talking about on the field.  On the field there's no question.  If we need to run it, we run it.  If we pass it, we pass it.  If we play defense, special teams, whatever they do that, but off the field they are there for each other.  They genuinely care about each other.  And everybody says what's the secret?  There's no secret.  Just a lot of hard work, a lot of blood, sweat and tears but there's a lot of caring that goes on.  It's a family.  This team is an elite team.  It's 13‑0, 13 wins, no losses, no matter what happens to us.  And its resiliency to be unbroken is amazing to me, because it takes everybody's best shot and looks you in the eye and just keeps playing.  Doesn't say anything, just keeps doing its job, and to me as a coach that's the greatest compliment.  I'm blessed to be able to coach them, I'll say that.  I really am.  They teach me as much as I ever teach them.  I'm very lucky to have them and I'm looking forward to where this takes us and what we can still achieve, but they played one heck of a football game.

Q.  Jimbo, you guys won the ACC for a third straight year, 29 straight.  How are you going to feel tomorrow when the playoff committee announces its selections and you most likely won't be No.1?
JIMBO FISHER:  I'm not worried about being No.1.  We'll be in the playoff.  That's what matters.  That's an opinion.  Ours are facts.

Q.  How is it like tying the Canes 29 games in a row, Miami from 1992.  What did you think of that?
JIMBO FISHER:  I didn't know that.  I don't know who else has streaks or anything like that, but that was some of the great college football teams of all time, and this is a heck of a football team.  Hopefully we'll continue.  It's a great honor to be in that circle.

Q.  Just talk a little bit about how every time Georgia Tech scored you guys were able to score back and match it.  It went back and forth until you guys finally got a couple.
JIMBO FISHER:  We did.  We knew it was going to be that king of game.  We knew they got hot so we just had to match.  To me that's the thing about a great team.  If that's the kind of game we've got to play, we'll do it.  Last week we played a defensive game.  The week before that was a low‑scoring game for possessions.  Last time, it was him throwing.  Sometimes it's him running.  Sometimes it's he didn't play and the defense gets a turnover versus Clemson.  To me, after all that happens, that's not an accident, and it's just an amazing thing about how these guys compete and what they have to do to be competitive and win.

Q.  You're undefeated, you don't have much to worry about in terms of the playoff.  But how much thought have you put into the criteria that the committee listed and what you had to do to get there?
JIMBO FISHER:  You know, I haven't seen a criteria.  I don't know what the criteria is.  I mean, it‑‑ I don't know.  You tell me.  (Laughter.)  Anybody know?

Q.  Can you talk about the quarterback that you've got, and what it says about him as a person and how he's able to shield all the stuff that goes around like what happened this week, still come out on game day, have a big game like you did to certain?  We've seen that Cam Newton was able to do that.  What does it say about him mentally?
JIMBO FISHER:  He's elite, he's special, he's different than anybody I've ever been around.  That's simple.  And he cares about his teammates, and he can compartmentalize.  When he has a job to do and people counting on him, that's what a man does.  And when you know the truth and you know the facts, you can put your head on the pillow at night and go to sleep, and I'm blessed to be a part of his life.  I know that.

Q.  Dalvin had a big game today.  What does that say about his ability, and when is the last time you had a true freshman that's been able to do these types of things?
JIMBO FISHER:  Last year.  (Laughter.)
When he wasn't Player of the Year, we told him we were going to take his meal money away.  We wasn't going to feed him so he had to play better, so if he wasn't going to play better, we weren't going to feed him.  No, it's amazing what he does.  Again, that's this team.  It just picks up.  Jameis and those guys, supporting those freshmen like they did him when he was there and getting the opportunity, but this guy is a special guy, he really is.  You broke over 900 yards, already had a chance to be a 1,000‑yard rusher as a freshman and the balance he's bringing our team now and the big‑play ability, the capabilities and what he does catching the ball out of the backfield, picking up blitzes.  As a freshman to come in and pick up our offense and the multiplicity of blitzes and protections and all the things that go on in the routes.  This isn't an easy one to pick up.  They know that.  For both of these guys and what they have achieved with their mental capacity ‑‑  everybody talks about their physical capacity, but what makes these guys special is their mental capacity, to learn, process information and then compete at the highest level.

Q.  Jameis, talk about what Jimbo spoke about before, having to‑‑ you guys have been in a lot of different types of games but never had to come out and match score for score for score as often as you did.
JAMEIS WINSTON:  It was fun because when you've got the opportunity to score as many points as possible, it's a good thing.  That's one thing about our team.  We like to compete.  Like Coach Fisher said, sometimes the defense has a standout game, sometimes the offense has a standout game, but today we knew what we had to do and we got our defense's back just like they got ours.

Q.  Coach Fisher, there was one time where it was 4th‑and‑short and Jameis looked like he might have wanted to go for it and you said, Jameis, let me call the game.  Could you tell us what happened there?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, because the competitor‑‑ which I did, too, I thought we wanted to have a touchdown, but getting up to two scores I thought was critical.  If it would have been a three‑point game, I would have went for it there.  I had went for it earlier on the one we missed on the 3rd‑and‑2 earlier, but it was a yard and a half.  If it were a yard or less I would have went for it there the time we had to kick a field goal to make it 31‑28.  But that score being up six with four minutes to go, I wanted to extremely bad, but to go up two scores there I thought was very critical and our defense was starting to play better, so I thought we had to go up two scores.  He wants to score a touchdown every play.

Q.  Jameis, what's this week been like for you, and what are your thoughts on all the support you've gotten from the fans?
JAMEIS WINSTON:  Well, I'm just blessed to have a great Seminole family.  My week has been great.  Ending with another ACC Championship.  Like Coach Fisher always talks about, we're just a great family, and I love those guys, and I love Seminole Nation.  It's just a good win for this program yet again.

Q.  This is really for all three of you.  I know that in the process of going through a year and all that, you try to treat every game the same and you prepare for every opponent and you respect them, but at the same time when you're managing the expectations, the kind of streak that you guys had through this year and playing against last year's team and all that, do you feel like in a lot of ways now that you're in the College Football Playoff in that kind of scenario, that that does kind of change the mindset a little bit that you can kind of relax and play more perhaps?  I don't know if that's a factor.
JIMBO FISHER:  I think getting through to get there because now, as we said, I felt like after we won last week, I felt like a burden came off this team, I really did, because I saw them loosen up and I saw them practice and I saw them that it's playoff time and you can see the end.  You can see the finish line.  You've got three games, all that.  I thought they saw the finish line, and I thought they could smell it and the way‑‑ I'll say this, the way they practiced last week, we were almost‑‑ we'd go through a day, the ball wouldn't hit the ground.  I can remember both days the ball hitting the ground one or two times the whole day, throwing, catching, covering, defense playing aggressive doing the things they do, and I can't speak for them personally, but that was my impression, and then I saw a relaxed team come out here and play football tonight, and I think hopefully we'll continue through that.
DALVIN COOK:  I just feel like we could play looser now.  The season is over with, so we just went‑‑ we ain't playing for nothing, we're just going out playing Florida State football and we just relax and we're just playing ball, that's it.

Q.  Jameis, last week you came off a week of rivalry against University of Florida where you threw three picks in the first quarter.  What was different from last week to this week and your focus not throwing any tonight?
JAMEIS WINSTON:  Nothing was different.  I just felt like I probably needed that because there's always adversity that you've got to face.  Florida was a great team as well as Georgia Tech, but sometimes you've just got to calm down, get back in the rhythm of things and get the ball to a guy like Dalvin Cook a couple more times and let him do his thing, and ball out.

Q.  Jameis, same sort of question that I asked Jimbo earlier.  How are you able to keep all that stuff separate and not let it affect your play?  A lot of players wouldn't be able to handle stuff like that.
JAMEIS WINSTON:  It just goes back with us having a tremendous family and me being selfless and knowing that the team comes first and also me knowing that I did nothing wrong.  And when all those things add together, you just know that you've got a family, you've got the truth, and you've got what you love to do, and that for me is playing football.  When I can just go out there and put all that stuff behind me and just lock in and focus on I've got to do this for the team and not myself, we go out there and have a great game.

Q.  What would it be like, I know last year after this game you talked about for some of these guys on my team, Miami or Florida is a rivalry.  For you it was Auburn last year.  Talk about the possibility of playing Alabama this year; is that exciting for you, your home state again?
JAMEIS WINSTON:  I can't even speak on that right now.  Oh, my gosh, that would be a dream come true to play against those guys.  Shoot, we can look ahead now.  I want to play them real bad, and I look forward to that game.  It's amazing.

Q.  Dalvin, Coach Fisher has talked about you needing to be patient this season and adjusting to the college level.  When did you feel like that happened for you this season?
DALVIN COOK:  Probably when some of the guys got hurt.  I think it was just my time.  I couldn't relax.  I just had to put my foot on the gas and just keep going, and I had to learn the offense more quickly and learn how to pass block more and I had to make Coach Fisher trust me.  It was gaining his trust.  That was it.

Q.  You guys already had a chip on your shoulder, but how much did that increase when the committee put you guys down to No.4 even though you were the only undefeated team in the country?
DALVIN COOK:  Well, I feel like as long as we get the shot to play in the playoffs, we're going to go out there and give our best shot, and as long as we're in, we'll play Florida State football.
JAMEIS WINSTON:  Yeah, being No.4 like Coach Fisher said, that's an opinion, so we can't control what other people think.  We're just going to keep doing what we do, play Florida State football, and hopefully after the first round we can be at least one of the two.

Q.  Jameis, obviously last year in the ACC Championship game you played well, then the National Championship, and now in this game.  Do you feel like you kind of play better and play up when you're playing in high‑pressure, big games?
JAMEIS WINSTON:  Well, you know, I do what Coach Fisher teach me to do.  I think we prepare better when it's playing against like playoff games or big‑time games because we've got a different attitude.  Like Dalvin said we've got a burden off our shoulder so we just relax and we had that plan, because we want to win a championship.  Everyone wants to win a championship.

Q.  You're already a little bit banged up on defense coming into this game and then you lose Eddie Goldman and Ronald Darby early.  How were you able to overcome that?
JIMBO FISHER:  A lot of depth, a lot of our coaches developing our young players.  I say this all the time.  Great teams, when you get to this level, your young players have to be developed and they have to come in to play and they are going to play critical.  There's a lot of guys.  You had Eddie out, you had Darby out, you had Terrance Smith playing on one leg.  We were banged, bruised everywhere.  Matthew Thomas hurt his shoulder.  But the development of your young players, the depth in there and we practice.  We give them a lot of reps. We do in camp and I felt Dalvin getting the quality reps the way we practice on two different fields and getting him out there and let their talent come out, but it's critical that we get it developed.  Our coaches are doing a good job.  There's a lot of young guys you can say on defense that stepped up there and did a good job.  Very proud of them.

Q.  Jameis, you talked about you didn't do anything wrong.  Do you think you are going to be cleared and able to play moving forward?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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