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November 25, 2012
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
JIMBO FISHER:Â Looking forward to coming to Charlotte to play for the ACC Championship.Â Very proud of our team for winning the division.Â We had to get past a very good opponent this weekend.Â We played in Florida in a great game and had some opportunities to win the game, battled back, made a lot of mistakes but then battled back and got a lead but then were not fortunate to finish, and we've got to get over that and put that behind us and be ready to go play for an ACC Championship because that's the important thing, and finish this season off the right way.
Got a great opponent in Georgia Tech, they present a lot of problems in a lot of phases.Â Have not had time to look at a lot of film on them.Â We've just reevaluated the issues from yesterday, but looking forward to the opportunity to come to Charlotte and compete for the Conference Championship and hopefully finish a great year in the ACC.
Q.Â What did you guys learn from yesterday's game against the Gators because I was watching it and it seemed like the offense had a little problem getting going.Â What do you guys have to do?
JIMBO FISHER:Â First drive we go down to the 25‑yard line, we've got a good play, we have a guy open for a touchdown and get some pressure and we throw it away, and on 3rd down we had pressure, the quarterback got hit and gets an interception, got to throw it away, and then we missed two 3rd and 1s.Â One we had a poor run, missed a cut and one we missed a block.
You play good teams ‑‑ and then the next drive E.J. forced the ball, then we score, then we come back and score three times in the third quarter, get back on top, and then they get back in the game.Â We get hit on a play and he took a pretty good shot and fumbled and they were able to get back on top.
But when you play good teams you can't be sloppy.Â We turned the ball over too much, give up too much contain on defense.Â At times they ran the ball well and on special teams we had a critical turnover on a kickoff, something we haven't had all year on a kickoff return, and they gave up a punt return late when it was 23‑20.Â But in games like that, in emotional games you've got to stay fixed on what you're doing and execute, and we didn't execute in all three phases well enough to win the game.
Now, I thought we competed.Â We were down 13‑0, came back in the game and got a 20‑13 lead going into the fourth quarter, felt very proud of our team the way we battled, but then you've got to learn to finish.Â You still have to play well, and we didn't execute well enough.Â Now, as coaches we have to coach them better and do a better job when we get those opportunities to make plays.
Q.Â Talk about the running game because I know against Virginia Tech you were minus 15 or something like that and you got it better against the Gators.Â What's been the issue with the running game?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Well, earlier‑‑ actually two or three runs we ran were good.Â We got behind.Â We missed a short yardage, and they had the ball the whole day.Â They were able to establish long drives in the first half, also.Â They ate a lot of time up in the game.Â Even though they didn't score a bunch, they still ate a lot of time and kept it down, and we missed those two 3rd and 1s because the first two plays we were right down the field and then missed those two 3rd and 1s, and that's a lot of possession time and a lot of plays where you can establish your run.Â Then we got behind 13‑0, then we got forced into throwing the football and we started having success, so we just stayed with it.
We had a couple nice runs in there; Devonta had a 20‑yarder, 32 had a nice run as we got going, but then we just got behind and had to keep throwing it.
Q.Â How is E.J. doing these days after yesterday's banged up a little bit?Â Is he all right for the weekend?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Oh, yeah, he'll be ready.Â He'll be ready.
Q.Â You haven't played Georgia Tech in about three years.Â They have such a different kind of offense, and now you've got a short turnaround for them.Â What kind of challenges does that present just getting ready for what they do, especially against an offense that most of your guys haven't seen before?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Oh, it's a huge challenge, and it's going to be a very‑‑ we have to have a lot of discipline, we have to have a lot of confidence in what we're doing.Â We've been developing a plan, and we're looking at it and we're going to have to be very disciplined how we go about it and deep great leverage on the ball, and it will be a huge challenge.Â That's one of the advantages that Georgia Tech does have is that when you don't play them off an off week or a long period of time, that one week turnaround is extremely tough.Â They do a great job with their offense, too.
Q.Â I know it's real early in the week obviously, but do you think you guys will have any kind of aftereffects from having played so hard against Florida and coming up short?Â Is that the kind of thing that they have to snap out of?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Yeah, it's something we've just got to snap out of it.Â You understand your goals and your vision, and one of them is a Conference Championship with a BCS berth on the line and you have do that, and hopefully the maturity of our team will be able to push us through that.Â And I'm sure they'll be sore, they'll be hurting today.Â They'll be down today.Â But tomorrow when we get ready and juiced up, we've got to be ready to roll and get it done.
Q.Â Real quick, curious, Tank Carradine, any update on his injury situation?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Yeah, Tank tore an ACL.
Q.Â Obviously I'm sure that's a huge blow for you guys.Â What's going through his head?Â Obviously I know he was looking ahead to the NFL draft.
JIMBO FISHER:Â The draft will be fine.Â The draft will still be fine.Â They'll rehab, and that won't affect those guys much at all, maybe a round at the most, and sometimes if you get the right guy to do it and it's clean, it's not that big a deal to them anymore.
He's sad and he's down because he can't be with his teammates we've already told him, and from that standpoint, but I mean, from the NFL, if it gets done cleanly, which we think it will be and be fine, he'll still play in the NFL and be very highly drafted.
Q.Â Will it be Mario or Giorgio or‑‑
JIMBO FISHER:Â We don't know that yet.Â We'll have to wait.
Q.Â The other thing I wanted to ask you, I saw a report out today that Coach Stoops had talked with Kentucky.Â I was wondering if you could confirm that.
JIMBO FISHER:Â There's no confirmation on that.Â There's no confirmation on that.Â I'm not going to comment on anything.Â Our season is still going on.
Q.Â Sure.Â Well, I guess that's sort of my question.Â You've been around a long time and kind of been through this, and as the coaching carousel starts to turn this time of year, can that be a distraction in terms of focus and preparation or anything?
JIMBO FISHER:Â You know, there's rumors‑‑ this time a year when jobs come open, rumors are flying everywhere, and you find out about 98 percent of them are false in the end of it.
Now, there's some truth‑‑ a lot of ‑‑ the thing is the guy you don't hear about is the guy y'all should be worried about.Â That's the one that always gets the jobs if you go back and look at it most of the time.
You just eliminate it and our guys, it's part of the business and part of our players and we won't let it affect us, I know that.
Q.Â Just wanted to ask you a little more on Tank.Â Obviously you guys have had to deal with these kind of conversations the last few weeks, obviously with Chris and with Brandon.Â How did he take the news?
JIMBO FISHER:Â He was very good.Â He was sad, and then he asked questions about‑‑ I did some research about the draft and how things are drafted and the way the NFL would look at it for him because I knew that would be a very important thing to him, and what he had to do and how his surgery pattern would go and what he needed to do for rehab because that's what he's got to start looking forward to.
And he's very interested, and he also wanted to know about graduation and how it would affect his graduating.Â Can he wait to graduate before he has his surgery and all that.Â He was very mature and handled it very well and of course very sad because he wanted to finish the season with his teammates.Â But it was a very sad moment.Â But he understood and he handled it very maturely.
Q.Â Obviously these are conversations that you've had a lot this year.Â Are they kind of getting old at this point, kind of tired having to deal with these kinds of serious injuries?
JIMBO FISHER:Â You do, but it's part of the business.Â They come.Â We've had just Chris and him right there and Brandon early, that's three significant ones.Â But they're not fun, I promise you that.
Q.Â And actually speaking of the defensive line, also you were just talking about the challenge that Georgia Tech poses specifically for the line.Â What type of challenge does that offense‑‑
JIMBO FISHER:Â Well, they're going to cut a lot, they're going to do different kinds of blocks, but the other key is your secondary and your linebackers, they're going to get challenged just as much, I mean, who has support, who has leverage, getting second level cutting on those guys.Â I mean, it'll be a huge challenge for all those guys that are involved because it's not going to be ‑‑ I mean, your line is going to be important, but you're going to have the linebackers, you're going to have to have everybody involved in it.
Q.Â You talked earlier this year about learning a lot from last year after you lost to NC State.Â Is this a good time for them to look back at that and learn the way they recovered very well from that loss?
JIMBO FISHER:Â No doubt.Â No doubt.Â And remember, there's still a lot to play for and you still have a lot of goals and achieve some things and still have a very good year, you know what I'm saying, and the way these seniors are I'm sure they'll do that.Â But you're exactly right, Tom; you have to reflect on past experiences to be able to play like you need to play, you know what I mean, and that's what you need to do.
Q.Â Does Tank's injury‑‑ a lot of guys have played a lot of plays this year, so how much are you, despite the injury and despite how sad it is, kind of prepared for something like this with the way you've rolled guys in and out of that line?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Well, that's why we do it, because in our part of the game and to keep guys fresh in their bodies and everything.Â But Giorgio and Mario ended up‑‑ Mario second half of the season played a ton a ball, and Giorgio played a lot in different scenarios with people we have up there.Â It is very important and it's great we've been able to do that, and that's one of the reasons we do it, so if something like this does happen you're not totally inexperienced.
Q.Â I'm sure you saw the report earlier this week that the NFL was considering‑‑ competition committee was considering banning blocks below the waist for next year, and given how rules tend to filter down to the college game, I was just curious if you had any thoughts on how that might fundamentally change football if that step was taken, and obviously you're playing a team that does a lot of that next week.Â I was just curious kind of how it might change college football.
JIMBO FISHER:Â Well, that's a great question, and from ‑‑ not putting a lot of thought into it, I think it's really going to change the running games.Â I think it's going to be much harder to run the football that way in certain schemes, and you have to maybe go to more power type schemes and things like that.Â But I think it will be much harder to run the football when you eliminate cutting on some different levels and maybe make it more of a throwing game.Â And offenses like Georgia Tech, I think if that does happen, I think it would critically hamper a lot of the things they do.
Q.Â Do you guys teach cutting at all?Â Do you use it at all?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Oh, yeah, we do.Â Yeah, we do, legally and then by the rules in which we do, but we do cut in the backside of zones and stretch plays and things.Â And I think ‑‑ I mean, when those big guys get running, you can't stop them when you're trying to cut angles, and it changes.Â The way defenses move now, the constant movements, if you don't cut on the backside, it's hard to get running plays, it really is.
Q.Â Do you find that it is‑‑ it does play into injuries?
JIMBO FISHER:Â It helps the running backs.Â Yeah, I think it does.Â What's funny, though, like the guy yesterday, for us, Tank, who got hurt, he was just running up field, planted his knee, went to make a cut and blew it; never got hit, never got pushed.Â Brandon Jenkins was running up the field rushing the passer and stepped wrong.Â But it does.Â There's no doubt cutting does affect that, but I don't know as much as we think it does.Â You know what I'm saying, and what goes on.Â I don't know which way I am on that.
But it will have an effect on the game, I don't think there's any doubt.
Q.Â Can you see just which team is able to kind of get past its loss yesterday after having a pretty good advantage‑‑
JIMBO FISHER:Â I don't think there's any doubt.Â They had a great rivalry game and we did, too, and you've got to be able to put it behind you quickly so you can go on.Â I think that is going to be a big factor, I don't think there's any doubt.
Q.Â I'm curious, as you noted, the offense that Tech runs is unusual and will take some preparation.Â Did you devote any time last week to formulating a plan how you're going to go about coaching it?
JIMBO FISHER:Â We do a lot of things in the off‑season.Â We formulated plans in the off‑season for preparation if you ever had to just have a general idea of how you wanted to do things with people in the past.Â But we haven't had time to work.Â That Florida game was too big for us and too important of a football game.
Q.Â When you find out you were going to play Tech what was your first reaction?
JIMBO FISHER:Â It's just who it is who it is.Â They did a great job and they earned the right to be there.
Q.Â I was looking back, I guess the last time Mark coached an option team was when he was at Houston; is that correct?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Who was that now, Coach Stoops, the last time he played an option team?
Q.Â Right, I'm guessing when he was at Houston they played Rice.
JIMBO FISHER:Â Probably would have been.Â I couldn't tell you that.Â If I told you that, I'd be telling you a fib.Â I didn't know that stat.Â That sounds like it possibly could be.
Q.Â A lot of your guys played in the championship game two years ago when you faced Virginia Tech and got beat.Â E.J. was just a sophomore then.Â How much better is he now, sophomore to a senior obviously he's a lot better, but in what way have you seen him grow?
JIMBO FISHER:Â I think how he deals with things from day‑to‑day and the ups and downs and he understands there are ups and downs.Â There's going to be tough moments like yesterday for him and how he responds back and bounces back.Â I just think he's a much mature player, and he has great knowledge of what we're doing.
Q.Â For all the guys who did participate in that game, can having that experience be any kind of an advantage?
JIMBO FISHER:Â I don't think it hurts you.Â I mean, I hope so.Â I don't know how many of them played a significant role in it.Â I know Rodney did, Lonnie did, E.J. did.Â Other than that on offense I don't know if there's anybody.Â Christian Jones played a little, Kelvin, Everett probably played some, Xavier played.Â I'm trying to think.Â The two safeties a little bit.Â Joyner played some, played some corner.Â From that standpoint‑‑ and Hopkins did.Â But it doesn't hurt to have some guys that have at least been there.Â Yeah, Nick Moody played, too, I guess.
Q.Â If you don't mind an off‑topic subject, what are the most important things you learned working with Nick Saban that's helped you build your program at Florida State?
JIMBO FISHER:Â I think just organization, a lot things, the infrastructure of your program away from football, how you go about preparation during the week for football and then a lot of schemes and schedules and things, but I think just the infrastructure and a lot of day‑to‑day things that affect the players.
Q.Â Did you ever see a different side to Nick in your time with him at LSU or always what he appears to be?
JIMBO FISHER:Â I mean, Nick and I were friends.Â We were.Â I was over at his house, and he would relax, and we got along very well.
Q.Â What's he like relaxing?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Nice guy.Â I mean, Nick is.Â He's a really nice guy.Â We get along great, and he's fun to talk to.Â Knows a lot about a lot of things, big sports fan and all that stuff.Â He's a great guy.
Q.Â Do you feel like the league as a whole or individually has any kind of image repair to do nationally, regionally or in the minds of recruits this postseason after losses of yesterday and three high‑profile inter‑conference games with the SEC?
JIMBO FISHER:Â I don't think ‑‑ kids take it for what it's worth and they want to play.Â You're always constantly trying to do that and you're trying to sell your program and where you're going.Â But I think each team will do that individually, and how that affects the league will be the overall effect in the end.
But I think you're constantly doing that no matter what success you have or failure you have because as soon as you have success they'll say, hey, well you can come over here and play quicker.Â I mean, there's different ways people spin it, but I think that is always a part of what you have to do as a coach.
Q.Â I wanted to follow up on something you said about meeting in the off‑season and trying to figure out ways to coach teams.Â I guess you're saying that over the off‑season you figured out if we play Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship, here's how we want to go about putting the defense together?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Yeah, exact.Â You look at things ‑‑ possible problems of your season and things that are unorthodox, you say you have a chance to do that, you spend a couple days talking with people and look how people have done things and have a general idea so if that situation ever occurs you have a base formula plan where you want to start from.
Q.Â Coach Johnson mentioned earlier that he thinks you guys have an advantage because they have no idea how you're going to attack the option.Â Do you feel the same way?
JIMBO FISHER:Â Yeah, I don't know.Â I mean, we have to go see it and we have to simulate it, so it's six one way, half a dozen the other.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports