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December 3, 2010

Jimbo Fisher


COACH FISHER: First of all, I'd like to say we're very excited to be here at the game representing our division, and looking forward for a great ballgame, and hopefully our guys will play very hard. We know we've got a great opponent in Virginia Tech. Like I said, seven straight ten-win seasons for them, and Frank is one of the great coaches in all of college football and does a great job coaching. We know we'll have our hands full. But we're very proud to be here, and like I say, hopefully we'll play well and have a great opportunity to win the football game.
But I'm very proud of our kids this year. We've overcame a lot. This is a great venue for them and a great steppingstone for them to go where we want to go, and hopefully we can make the most of this experience and learn from it but at the same time excel in it and move on.

Q. With you guys' two close losses there back to back, NC State and UNC, how often do you think about being possibly 11 and 1 and maybe if something bizarre happens this weekend you guys could be right in the hunt?
COACH FISHER: I think you reflect on those things when the season is over. This is not the time to do that. We're just actually very thankful that we were able to overcome those situations. I was saying that in the room just a minute ago. I'm not so sure that -- you don't ever want those things to happen, but I think it was critical that our kids learned to deal with those kind of situations and where we're at in our development of our program because that's a thing we're trying to develop as a program, not just a team, and where those guys are at and learning to overcome those situations and bounce back, I'm not so sure in the long run of things down the road it may not be some of the best things that ever happened to us because they're lessons well learned.

Q. What's being "back" mean to you? You hear a lot of FSU fans talk about being "back." What's that idea mean to you?
COACH FISHER: Back where? I don't know, that's up to them. Being "back" to us is trying to get back to a level of consistency and playing great football and doing things that you have to do to have a successful program.
Like I say, the object here is to build a program, not a team. You have to have a certain number of teams to get to a program, but you have the consistency level of how you play, and I think that's hopefully what we're talking about, being able to play championship-caliber football and doing it consistently.

Q. You guys have had some real emotional, kind of ups and downs, the Oklahoma game, Miami, Florida. After that big high and emotional win over Florida, how do you keep your guys level going into this game?
COACH FISHER: You know, I said this after the game. I was very surprised once we got to the locker room. On the field after the game, our kids were very jubilant. They were jumping around like kids at Christmas and very happy to have a great win versus Florida and their big rivalry and haven't won in six years and all those things.
But once we got into the locker room and they realized that there was a great chance that we could come to this game, their whole attitude changed. Their mood changed, their look in their eye changed. They weren't jumping around like kids at Christmas.
And we talked, and they were smiling and happy, and after I got done, for a second, I said, you know what you guys act like, and they said, yeah, Coach, we expected to win and we've got another ballgame to play. I mean, that came out of one of them's mouth, and I looked at them and I said, you're exactly right, which made we very happy because I didn't expect it.
I think our kids have done a good job of focusing this week in practicing and from their attitudes during the week.

Q. Virginia Tech has kind of been where people expected Florida State and Miami frankly to be since the split. When you see that program, what do you think it has taken for them to be where they are?
COACH FISHER: You don't see holes in the fence. What I mean is they're very sound in everything they do. They're great on special teams. They do a great job on defense. They're doing a great job on offense. They're dynamic, they have skill guys, they're big, they're physical, they're great in the turnover, all of the things that you have to do to play winning football they do. They're very tough. They give great effort. They play with great tenacity, and they're very well coached in every they do.
I think it goes back to what I was talking about a minute ago, the consistency level at which you go about your business. They believe in each other, and you can tell that by the way they play, and that's why they've had seven straight ten-win seasons.

Q. Beamer said that he feels similar during a game with his quarterback now with Taylor as what he did when he had Vick at quarterback. I guess that speaks a lot. Do you see obviously similarities?
COACH FISHER: You do because they're very dynamic and can beat you in the pocket. First of all, have a great arm, can throw the deep ball, can throw the quick game, reads, makes great decisions. But then can beat you with his legs when everything breaks down. And not looking to beat you with his legs but only when the situation arises.
But then if you want to call a quarterback run, you can do that. I mean, very dynamic, just a playmaker and understands how to win, very competitive, very tough. You just see that as he plays the game his team plays with his personality, and they're doing a great job of it.

Q. You talked about possibly being 11 and 1 if something goes your way in those two ballgames in the middle of the season. In a way do you think you guys are underrated, and if so can you guys use that to an advantage?
COACH FISHER: No, I don't think we're underrated. Like Bill Parcells says, you are what your record says you are, and that's where we're at right now. Like I said, I think maybe we needed some of those situations to help grow as a program, especially we're in the infant stages of building this thing back to where we can hopefully play at that championship level very consistently.
I don't feel slighted, don't feel like we're underrated. We did what we did. That's the result you have and that's the world you have to live in. You can't worry about woulda, shoulda, couldas. You have to worry about what is. We've been very fortunate we're in this game. We can't worry about the past, we have to worry about playing a great football game tomorrow, and representing our division well and representing our university well.

Q. Have you seen Bud Foster do different things with his defense this year, running more nickel with five defensive backs, going three D-linemen that maybe he didn't do in the past couple years?
COACH FISHER: Well, they've always been a four-two-five team and had a lot of nickel guys. I mean, y'all just count that big ol' Robert -- I can't remember his name that stood out in the middle, that was a man-child that just ran the alley for the last four years for them. I mean that was -- you didn't think he was a DB. But they've always had those, but I think more three down packages, and being a lot more multiple in his back end, in his looks and the things he's doing.
Bud is a great football coach. I have a great deal of respect for Bud. You look up there every year his defenses are ranked up there very high and they're very successful for a reason, and he does a great job.

Q. As good a year as Christian has had, how comforting is it to have a backup such as E.J. who's good enough to be an MVP of a Bowl last year, crucial conference game this year against Clemson?
COACH FISHER: That's called a program. That's when you start developing a program, that when you have guys that are backing up guys right now that can come in and play at the same level when their time comes, and that's we're trying to evolve to. We need that at all of our positions because injuries are going to occur in football. It's a very physical game. When you play non-conference schedules like we do with Oklahoma, Florida, BYU, you're going to have injuries during the season, and you have to have quality backups and guys that you can evolve into those roles, and when they're ready to step in they know how to take those roles over, and quarterback is critical. We all want those quarterbacks now to jump in and be heroes as freshman, and I'm always a believer you can ruin them before you can make them, especially at an early age, if you're developing offenses that play pro style offense.
I think he's going to be -- in my opinion in the future he has a chance to be an outstanding player, and he has a lot of the same characteristics that Christian does.

Q. This is almost a mini-Bowl trip, the plane trip and a hotel, kind of on a pedestal. As you talk about developing this program, what do you hope these younger kids get out of this experience?
COACH FISHER: They remember what it takes to get here, the level that you have to work in the off-season and the changes that we've made in the short amount of time we've been here, how hard that work has -- and that's paid off for us. But they have to soak this situation in and understand how to act in these situations, how to behave in those situations and how to expect to excel in these situations and be happy to be here. But they've got to go through them sometimes.
It doesn't mean you can't come here the first time and the first one you're in you can't win it. I'm not saying that. But we need to grow as an organization through all these and remember, take great notes on it and expect to be in these kind of environments consistently.

Q. I was talking to one of your defenders who said that the key to playing a quarterback who can beat you with his legs and make something out of -- when nothing is there is hold your gaps, contain your lanes and all that. That's much easier said than done. How do you get your defenders to be that disciplined?
COACH FISHER: Make them scared of you (laughing). Make them fear it.
No, we've played some great guys. They get to see that in practice because both our guys have great legs, and it is, you have to be unselfish because sometimes wanting a sack is the worst thing you can do against a guy like Tyrod because as you go to beat that guy and create that hole and he steps up and make a play or gets a throwing lane, it takes discipline. Hopefully we've played enough of those guys, guys like Russell -- Russell did a great job in that game earlier in the year beating us with his legs on 3rd and long and we got out of our rush lanes, and hopefully they've learned from those lessons that we don't make the same mistakes.
But you're never going to stop those guys. God has blessed them with gifts that they're going to make plays, and that's what's going to happen. We've just got to contain those plays and hope they don't happen at those critical times in the game. But discipline is going to be the key because they're going to have to believe in how they're coached and what they're supposed to do and remember that the guy beside them is counting on them to do their job.

Q. Dameyune Craig had a brief but interesting professional career here. Can you talk about what he's brought do you guys?
COACH FISHER: Dameyune and I go way back. I recruited him in high school. I recruited him and signed him and coached him all those years. He's like one of my sons, I mean, he really is. His oldest son was actually born on my birthday. It was ironic.
We have a close bond, a close relationship, and he was one of the great competitors I ever coached. He brings that -- he and I got along because we have the same mentality. I don't know if that's good or bad. But the energy level he brings, the enthusiasm, the love, he was one of those guys who loved playing, loved competing and every aspect of it, and he loves coaching. He loves being around ball, and it's enthusiastic, and you can see our quarterbacks, when they are around him they love it, and he brings that intensity level, and he does it to the receivers and all the skill guys he's around.
He's very blessed that -- I'm very blessed that he came into our life and I was able to recruit him because he's going to be an outstanding coach just like he was player.

Q. As you approach game time, what do you feel really good about in terms of the team itself, and on the opposite side, what concerns you?
COACH FISHER: Well, I think the thing I feel the best about our team is I know we prepare well. We practiced well, we prepared well, and I know we'll compete well. How a game goes, you know, you have to wait and see. But I know our kids will be prepared because they did it during the week. Our kids focus well, and I know they'll bring a great energy to the game and a great competitiveness to the game.
And as a coach, that's the only thing you can do; are they prepared, are they ready and will they compete in the football game, and I think our kids will do that and I've watched them do all year. I don't expect anything different.
Scared, on the other side, about what I'm worried about? Their ability to make big plays on offense, their consistency level to create turnovers on defense and then always in the kicking game. They've got a great returner. I mean, he does a phenomenal job in the kickoff return game, and Frank and those guys and that kicking game how sound they are, and that's what they've been known for, blocking kicks and all those things.
So in all three phases you have to be on your toes. That's why Virginia Tech is here, because they're sound in all three phases.

Q. Just want to ask you, there's been a general consensus that moving the game to Charlotte is a pretty good thing. How do you feel as a coach from a Florida school that now it comes a little bit north?
COACH FISHER: That doesn't bother me. Like I said, Charlotte is the hub of the ACC. You're right here in the middle of ACC territory. It's a great stadium, great venue. If they can give us good weather like this every year, I'll be happy as heck. I'm good with it. But that's football sometimes. You have to go in that weather venue. That's part of being outdoors. I think they're taking the Super Bowl in a couple of years up no New York, aren't they? So they're going to find out what true football is like. It's a great city, great venue, and it's right in the middle of ACC territory. We have to play it somewhere.

Q. To follow up on that, Coach Beamer said that cold doesn't really affect play but rain does. Do you feel the same way --
COACH FISHER: I agree with you. I totally agree with you. I grew up in cold, cold and snow. You'd much rather have snow than you would rain, and I think that's -- the wet always affects the game a lot more than cold in my opinion. I agree with him totally.

Q. You talked a little bit about Wilson was able to hurt you guys with his legs a little bit. How much of a teaching tool can that be throughout the week or do you worry about negative thoughts creeping in?
COACH FISHER: No, you have to learn from your mistakes. Everybody says put negative things behind you and forget. No, you don't. You learn from them, then you put them behind you and hopefully you don't make the same mistakes twice. Hopefully our guys have learned that and they understand that it's going to take discipline to win this game along with effort.
We always talk about it in our program, toughness, effort, discipline and pride. It's going to take all four of those things to be able to compete with this Virginia Tech team and have success, and discipline is a big part of it. Discipline, you can have toughness and effort, but if you're not disciplined, all that effort does you no good. Discipline is just as crucial as anything else.

Q. Coach Beamer thinks that they're probably going to have an edge in crowd support because they were in the game longer and so their fans may have been able to buy the general tickets. How have you guys played on the road and can you assess how you guys --
COACH FISHER: I've been pleased the way we've handled our road games. We've had some tough ones, but we've played in elimination games just like we did at Maryland, which was a good crowd. Maryland has got a great ball club up there, in the last game of the year. Our kids in Oklahoma, we had a tough one, but we learned from that and I think we rebounded pretty well after that, and we played well on the road, and I think our kids have handled themselves well on the road. So I don't expect anything different tomorrow.

Q. Ty Jones, I noticed he wasn't on the injury report?
COACH FISHER: No, he practiced Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. He did all of his practice stuff. Hopefully with a good day's rest and a day off, that ankle will be ready to go. We'll wait and see if it's 100 percent, but nobody is 100 percent at this time of this year. That's football. That's what makes football different. That's part of -- that's what makes football special and that's why everybody brags about it. Even basketball and baseball players, you very rarely hear football players say I played basketball and baseball, but you always hear those guys talk about playing football because there's an aura of toughness that goes with that, and I think that's part of -- if you're a great football player, you can deal with injuries and you can play with pain.

Q. You talked about just like routine, and I know you've been big on routine this season, you've had the walk-throughs at home. This changes things up a little bit and you've also had these activities around the game. Does that concern you?
COACH FISHER: Well, the activities, we won't be involved in any except for the awards that some of our guys got tonight, which I'm very excited for and very happy for and they're very well deserved.
But the walk-through here will still be the same walk-through, we'll just do it on this field because we came early and we explained to the kids why we have to do it, and coming to these venues, that's part of playing championship-caliber football. There's going to be different environments, different atmospheres which Jim was talking about a minute ago that I think is part of absorbing this whole situation that our kids are going to have to learn from.
If you're going to play in those big games, you have to be able to adapt and control what you can control and then block out the clutter, and that's what we talk about all the time.

End of FastScripts

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