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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: FLORIDA STATE v GEORGIA TECH


December 1, 2012


Jimbo Fisher


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Q.  What's it mean seven years since Florida State has won an ACC title, you guys are champions again.
JIMBO FISHER:¬† Well, I think it's huge because I think you keep continuing to change the culture.¬† We had a culture there for a while that we couldn't win those games, we couldn't win 10 games in a season, now we've won 11.¬† We won the Atlantic, it was the second time we've been here in three years, we now got over the hump and won the first championship, and I think you've got to understand, you've got to win one before you can ever say I'm back and everybody wants you to ‑‑ you've got to win a Conference Championship before you win a National Championship, and now our kids understand what it takes and how hard it is, but they're champions.¬† And I'm going to tell you, it's something, you think different, you act different, you become different, and I hope it'll transform in the off‑season into our young guys and we can keep that culture around here like it used to be.

Q.  Can you talk about the way Karlos played?  Obviously a lot of potential in that kid.  He wasn't supposed to start, right?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† Well, he was going to play a bunch.¬† We knew he was going to play in there a bunch, and that's what he was in that situation.¬† And Karlos, he's played great all year, did special teams, whatever you asked with the ball in his hand and he gets‑‑ he's very instinctive, he's a very good football player, he's physical and got good ball skills and he played a tremendous game.¬† The guy is going to be a great player.¬† He's got two years left, and I'm glad of that.

Q.¬† Talk about establishing the run early and kind of controlling‑‑
JIMBO FISHER:¬† We wanted to.¬† We felt we really could so we could get the play action things going later.¬† You couldn't play a better first half than we di offensively.¬† We scored three out of four drives, we had the ball, ate the clock up, ran the ball, scored 21 points, missed a 3rd and inches, which is ridiculous.¬† And then the second half come out with self‑inflicted things.¬† I thought we played a great first half offensively and a great defensive first half, then the defense continued to play well in the second half and on offense we just shot ourselves in the foot.¬† A senior lines up wrong, didn't line up on a formation right, got a penalty.¬† Two or three times we broke midfield and we're driving down to get points and we had a holding, we had a lined up wrong, got us a 1st and 15 and then we had the turnover late when EJ got hit in the back.¬† We had a guy coming open on a play.¬† But just a lot of self‑inflicted wounds and silly things, but very proud of the first half and how physical we were and able to establish the run.

Q.  We talk an awful lot about the work the players put in but you've got in a lot of work yourself.  What does this win mean to you personally?
JIMBO FISHER:  I mean, I don't know that because I don't ever think in those terms.  It is for the players, our loyal fans, the people who stayed behind us, and it's great for them to be there.  I'm extremely happy for our players because I know how hard it is and how much flak they've taken, when are you going to be back, when are you going to win a championship, when you going to do this or this group here; you've recruited a great class.  Well, it's only the third year of the program.  We've been in two Conference Championships, and we won one, and we've won 11 games, we won 30 games, we're about the seventh winningest team in the country.
These seniors and these players have done tremendous job.  For me I guess I'm going to think about it later.  I don't ever think in those terms, I'm just happy for them that they can call themselves a champion, because that doesn't happen.  There's some great teams out there that never get to say they're champions, and that'll be a bond they can keep forever and ever.

Q.  On that same tone, just what it means for EJ to go out like this.
JIMBO FISHER:¬† I mean, you always‑‑ the quarterback is always measured by championships.¬† You say it, sometimes it's fair, sometimes it isn't.¬† But he is a selfless player, he plays hurt, banged up, bruised, he's the epitome of what you want in a student athlete, the guy leading your team, and he takes the good, the bad, but he's a champion, and that's what he is.¬† He's a warrior, he's a competitor, and he's going to be remembered hopefully as the quarterback to start the run for Florida State to start coming back.

Q.  What did you guys do well defensively?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† Kept great leverage on the football.¬† I think first half we did two things:¬† First of all, they kept great leverage on the football and they had great eye discipline, and you noticed for most of the time when they had a guy on the quarterback, a guy on the pitch, they gave up a few plays inside, but you're going to get a dive play or two, but the big plays usually come on the option from the outside, and we kept great discipline on having a guy on the quarterback, a guy on the pitch, and they didn't‑‑ as I say, I want a hero in the game, and a hero to me in this game for them on defense was not a guy who was going to be outstanding and fly around but a hero, doing my job.¬† I had to be very disciplined, and if it wasn't my play I had to take the quarterback, I had to take the dive, and they stayed as a unit and a team and played very well that way, extremely well.

Q.  How important were some of the plays that EJ made with his legs running the ball tonight?
JIMBO FISHER:  Pretty cool.  We had that option because they started blitzing, and we knew early they hadn't blitzed much at all, and they came at us and blitzed like crazy and were getting the edges and the option, and his legs were very critical in getting those big plays in there early, especially in the first half.  He made some really nice plays.  He had a nice scramble in the second half that ate up a lot of time, also.

Q.  On that note with the defense, it seemed like Mario did a really nice job?
JIMBO FISHER:  He's physical.  That guy is going to be a heck of a football player now.  I mean, one guy goes down, another guy gets an opportunity.  I don't know how many tackles or plays he made in the game, but I noticed he had a big sack there one time on a critical play, and that guy is going to be a heck of a football player now.

Q.  Again, talking about the growth of a program, that game seemed to be played a lot like the NC State game.
JIMBO FISHER:  Exactly right.  As I said, you find ways to win games.  Good teams win games in different ways.  The Clemson game we outscored them.  This game we played great defense.  The NC State game we couldn't make enough plays either way.  But again, that goes part of being a champion.  There's a point in time you point back and you look at it and you say, that was it.  That's the time that you got over that hump and you got there and you didn't let the circumstances blur your vision, and they did that.
The defense‑‑ and we were able to make that play.¬† They were determined, they said at halftime we're going to do whatever we've got to do, and they did.

Q.  Talk about your relationship with Nick Saban; they're going back to a national title game.  Any similarities on how you're building your program?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† I would like to think so in that we do ‑‑ the infrastructure of our programs are very similar.¬† I think we have a lot of beliefs that way.¬† Nick does his own things.¬† I believe in strong defense, I believe in being able to run the football, play action, play sound, having balance on offense and defense, and I think that's the way you win championships.¬† I think when you become too one‑dimensional and all the different things, numbers are great but wins are what it's all about in championships.¬† You've got to be great on defense, and that's a lot of things‑‑ we believe a lot of the same things.¬† Now we've just got to go win us some championships, National Championships.

Q.  Real quick just what happened to Menelik?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† Yeah, he hurt an ankle in the first half.¬† He really went and he came out that second half and it stiffened up on him a bunch at halftime, and he just couldn't push off.¬† He couldn't get enough power on it, and he said‑‑ and he was gimping and wasn't‑‑ that's why we couldn't reach those blocks and he couldn't push and he said he had to come out, so we played Bobby.

Q.  When will you decide whether or not Coach Stoops will coach through the Bowl game?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† I mean, I doubt‑‑ we'll have to talk about it.¬† It's going to be very hard because you're a head coach, now, let me tell you something.¬† You think you know what's about to hit you.¬† I'll tell you what, when you're sitting in that chair and you look behind you, there ain't nobody else.¬† You make all those final decisions and all the things you've got to do as a staff and organization and all that stuff, I mean, I'll be amazed if that‑‑ I wouldn't expect him to.¬† He's got to go take care of his business.¬† There's a lot of things in there.
If he wants to, we'll talk about it, but I'm going to be shocked because let me tell you something; when you first get a head coaching job you have no earthly idea about how much time and effort, and you think you're organized and ready, for every one you've got five more things happening you've got to get done.  That is going to be a very tough chore.

Q.  I assume you wouldn't know who would lead your defense because you don't know who he's taking with him?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† No, I have some ideas and thoughts and I'll share‑‑

Q.  Would you know by the Bowl?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† Yeah, could be.¬† Some different thoughts and how we do things, and we'll get organized and I'll get back on that trail tomorrow.¬† Thanks.¬† I was trying to enjoy something for five minutes.¬† I can't even enjoy‑‑ now I'm back to that mode.

Q.¬† You had a couple guys, Chris and Brandon, who couldn't get on the field but obviously played big roles in you getting here.¬† Just what it means for those guys to‑‑
JIMBO FISHER:  They were just happy, man.  They were on the sideline cheering and pushing and going on.  That's their ring, too.  It was great to see them there and be a part of it, and I was happy Jacoby was over there.  There was a bunch of guys, and I was extremely happy for them, and they were being the best teammates they could just like they always are.  Huge.

Q.  What did your boys think about dad's job today?
JIMBO FISHER:  My two boys?  Trey will have 38 things we did wrong.  He's worse than I am.  Ethan, golly, he's amazing.  He's going to be happy as heck.  He'll love on me.

Q.  What did you mean early in your speech where you said when you're a champion you act different, you think different?
JIMBO FISHER:¬† You understand what it takes to get there.¬† It's not an arrogance, but it's a confidence, and you understand the process of how you get there.¬† Once you've crossed that threshold, there's a different feeling about you, and sometimes you can see things differently.¬† I mean, it's like getting in a fraternity that other people have and there's a lot of people that have been champions, but I think as a program and an organization and the culture around you about excellence, and I'm not talking about just playing, I'm talking about how you act as a person, how you carry yourself, how you represent our school, how you act as a student, and these guys are‑‑ we graduated the last two classes 84 and 92 percent.¬† We have 11 graduates on our team out there right now that played in that game, guys already with degrees.¬† We won games because of character.¬† We have great players, but I mean, once you're a champion there's a responsibility to me of how you've got to act and represent yourself and think, and I think it's huge, and I think once you get there, you understand that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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