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January 1, 2013

Jimbo Fisher

Christian Jones

E.J. Manuel

Lonnie Pryor

Vince Williams



THE MODERATOR:  Coach, your first BCS bowl victory.  As you look over the numbers here and think about what this victory means, what does it mean to the program?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, you know, sometimes you take those things for granted, and Florida State had so many for so many years, it's the first one we've won in 12 years.  I mean, 12 wins, first BCS game in 12 years, first ACC Championship in seven.  These seniors, I'm happy for our players.  I'm extremely happy four our players for what they've sacrificed and what they've done and put Florida State back on the map, put them back in the Top 10, won all and did the things they wanted to do, and when they came here where this program was and where they've brought it to, and I can't be prouder of them.

Q.  Jimbo, EJ becomes the second quarterback ever to win four bowl games.  Talk about what that means, what he's meant to you and the program.
JIMBO FISHER:  EJ is the epitome of what you want in a player, in a leader, in a person, in a student.  I say this all the time:  If my two boys grow up to be like him I'll be the proudest daddy in the world.  He represents what's right about everything, and for a guy who's accomplished 26‑6, four bowl games, takes Florida State back to the top 10, 12 wins, I mean, I don't know what else the guy can do and all he does is sit and smile and represent this organization with the most class and dignity that I've been around.  Not only that, he effects the guys on this team to act the same way, just like all these guys up here do.

Q.  Lonnie, talk about your game today, the two long runs and what you might have seen on film in preparation that allowed you to have your first 100 career yard game?
LONNIE PRYOR:  Opening the holes and everything all the receivers going downfield blocking, and just breaking away.  The whole time when I was running I always talked to myself, I was just telling myself no, no, no, in other words, not let that guy catch me.  But it just felt good, first 100‑yard rushing game, just felt good I went out with a bang, and the seniors, we all went out with a bang, so it felt good.

Q.  Lonnie, you spent four years kind of going unnoticed by the people outside, and I know not the people inside this program.  What is it like on the biggest game in four years while you've been here on the biggest stage to have your biggest game?
LONNIE PRYOR:  Like I said, it's a blessing.  I couldn't do it without my team and Coach Jimbo believing in me, giving me the ball.  It's a blessing.  This whole offensive line doing a great job, and everyone just blocking and doing all they had to do, I couldn't do it on my own.  It's just a blessing.  I always wanted to have a big game and just my last game at Florida State to have the game I had was really good and just happy for myself and the whole team.

Q.  Vince, could you talk about the defense's performance tonight, slowing down the quarterback especially, what you guys were able to do?
VINCE WILLIAMS:  I think Coach Jimbo did a great job telling us keeping our composure under check, because we knew what we were capable of and we knew the job that we had to do, so as leaders we just wanted to stay focused and be disciplined.  And Coach Elliott had an amazing game plan and we just really stuck with it.

Q.  Coach, it's 14‑3 at the half, but did you feel as though you left some other points out there?
JIMBO FISHER:  No doubt, we did.  We moved the ball really well, had a missed field goal and moved the ball extremely‑‑ had 328 yards.  It's kind of like the Clemson game.  We had 328 yards, we had 14 points and we missed two field goals and now we missed one in this one, which is very uncharacteristic for Dustin to be able to miss a field goal.  And we get that ball on that 40 yard line and just didn't execute a couple plays.  We still felt good, we just knew we had to come out though and get points immediately, which we did, and they did a great job hitting a big play scoring and getting an onside kick, then we got the interception and got it back, and then we got it back and got some points in the fourth quarter.  We left some out there, but Northern Illinois, the guys are ranked 15th, they won 21 of 22 ballgames, they're a good football team, very well coached.  I would like to say that their coach did a tremendous job and their team.

Q.  This was kind of them having a chip on their shoulder all week long, talking about Goliath against David.  Coach Carey was saying being on your knees in the fourth were taken completely out of context.  What was the game like out there?  Was it chippy?  Was it just a good football game?
JIMBO FISHER:  I wasn't out there.  I was having enough problems with the officials.  (Laughter.)
VINCE WILLIAMS:  I mean, it was a physical game but we wanted to make it a physical game.  We wanted to make every game we play in a physical game.  The comments he made, they were noticed, but we did a great job not responding and not firing anything back.  I just think that showed a tremendous amount of leadership.  But we just wanted to play hard.  We wanted to go out and we wanted to establish ourselves because we knew what we were capable of, and I think we did a good job of that.

Q.  You have a great group up there with you but what do you think about what you have coming back, and Bjoern, is he going to go to the NFL?
JIMBO FISHER:  Well, I mean, you'd love to, but Bjoern has got to do what's best for Bjoern.  We've met and talked and he'll make a decision and announcement here very soon, but these guys have laid a tremendous foundation.  We've got a heck of a football team coming back.  You look on offense, every offensive lineman, the tight end, all the backs, receivers.  We lose Lonnie and EJ and Rodney and we lost Chris Thompson this year, but basically everything else‑‑ there's a lot of sophomores in that group, not just juniors.  On defense we've got a tremendous amount of guys coming back:  Telvin, Christian, and Christian has got some thoughts and all those guys got to make decisions on what they're going to do.  You've got the front guys up front, the ends.  Mario Edwards come in and did a tremendous job, and Giorgio and some guys we got there.  Chris Casher, young guy, in the secondary.  We still got Joyner and we still got Waisome, we still got Brooks, we got Darby, you go Tyler Hunter.  We've got a heck of a football team coming back.  We've got a great punter coming back, our kicker, Mr.Roberto‑‑ you guys going to know him now.  I mean, to say‑‑ no one ever replaces Dustin Hopkins, but he's an extremely talented young man, too.  We've laid a great foundation here.  And there's a heck of a football team coming back tell and I'm going to tell you why:  Because these seniors showed them how to practice, how to win and how to prepare and how to do things with class.  And they learned from these guys and they watched these guys.

Q.  Like every quarterback you take a lot of heat and you do 10 things right and one thing bad and you hear about the bad thing.  What was it like in that fourth quarter in the final game to put this game away and kind of cap a career in that way?
EJ MANUEL:  First off, I was just proud to be a part of this organization, honestly.  The good and the bad, I understand that.  That's what you're going to get as a quarterback, and Coach Fisher and I have had plenty of conversations.  It's a part of the job.  You're going to take the blame and you're going to get the credit, even though sometimes it's not deserved when you win.  Good or bad, I'm just happy for me team.  We won a BCS title game.  It doesn't get they better than that.  We won 12 games, we won all my bowl games I've had an opportunity to play in my career.  The biggest thing, we wanted to leave a legacy.  A lot of the guys that came in the 08 and 09 class, we wanted to leave a legacy here at Florida State and leave them‑‑ change the culture of what we do here.  It wasn't an overnight process, but you're reaping the benefits right now, and that's why we're here and that's why we won this game.

Q.  You mentioned changing the culture, legacy.  Coach Bowden, it took him 18 years to win 12 games.  Coach Fisher did it in three, and he's talking about you guys as seniors, he won six games with you as freshmen.  Can you talk about what kind of accomplishment that is?
EJ MANUEL:  Yeah, definitely.  I mean, coming up under Coach Fisher, he's one of the main reasons I came here, and obviously Coach Bowden was our head coach at that time, but I wanted to come here and learn under Coach Fisher.  All the lineage he had the years before, all the great quarterbacks he's coached in college, so I felt like he would prepare me the best for the next level, so that's why I chose to come here and play for him.  The way we practiced, the way we worked, the way we watched film, there's no second thought in my mind that we want to win.  We don't think any other way.  It's not a sign of arrogance, it's just the way we were brought up, honestly, the way compete, the way we work hard and every single thing we do.  Even if it's not football stuff, the fourth‑quarter drills, everything, we finish, we go hard.  It's just the way we were brought up, and that's why I think we've won all these games in such a short span of time.

Q.  You talked yesterday in the press conference about this game is a step in your progression towards becoming a top ‑echelon team.  I am curious tonight through three quarters you guys sputtered on offense:  How far do you think you have to go Jimbo before you reach that top, top, top‑‑
JIMBO FISHER:  I think we're knocking on the door.  We didn't score points, but we moved the ball.  We had 428 yards in less than three quarters.  We just broke the school record this year for total yardage in a single season, the most yardage by an offense in Florida State history.  Like I said the other day, and since 93, only three teams since 93 ever averaged more points, only three teams ever averaged ‑‑ only two teams, we tied the 93 team with 7 yards per play and the 99 was 7.1.  I don't know what we were tonight, where it was, but this offense, we've been very proud of it.  Our defense has been outstanding, I mean, dominant.  Our special teams.  I think we're right there, and I think we had to get on this platform and understand that we have to go win the championship, you have to get in a BCS bowl game and understand all the things that go with it, all the hoopla, all the things around it, all the pressure, all the, as I say, the song and dance and the clutter, I call the clutter.  But you've got to learn to handle those things to play on the big stage and these guys did that and showed our young guys that we feel very confident about where we're going and what we're doing and for the future.

Q.  Three yards more than the 2000 team for the school yardage record.  Talk about the process with Cam Erving coming over, season‑long process to accomplish that?
JIMBO FISHER:  First it all, it all goes to our seniors in leadership, these guys did.  You know, you've got some sacrifice.  You've got Menelik Watson playing right tackle, only played 17.  Cam Erving never played on offense in his life.  You've had two guards that first started ‑‑ Stork was a tight end when he came here we moved to center.  I mean, you think about that.  And what's amazing about this team on offense, there's a lot of‑‑ there's seniors, there's juniors, there's more sophomores than there are anything.  Three offensive linemen, your tight end, your two running backs ended up playing at tailback after Chris got hurt, Rashad Greene and Benjamin and all those guys.  There's a ton of young guys on this team.  I was worried because of experience, but EJ and these seniors were able to grab those guys when they would get out of line and just pull them right back.  They knew, and I didn't have to do it.  They would do it, and they brought them along.  And those guys understood what seniors meant and what they wanted to do for them.  I think we can have a tremendous offense in the future and where we're going and the things we can do.  But these guys laid the foundation.

Q.  EJ, how neat was it for you to see what Lonnie did I did, how he ended his career?
EJ MANUEL:  First thing I told Lonnie was he deserved this.  Lonnie has been a hard‑working guy, never complains, and when I say he has never, ever complained about anything, he has always been the guy that's upbeat during practice, we're out there grinding, we're tired, it's hot, Lonnie is still out there clapping it up.  A lot of times we'll be cracking jokes on each other just to make it go by a little faster.  But I'm just so happy for him and I'm proud of him because he stayed steadfast, he never wavered, he never had any second thoughts about going somewhere else because he was out of his original position from high school, so he deserved this, man.  I'm just extremely happy for him.

Q.  Coach Fisher, could you talk about what it was like to see Lonnie, that 60‑yard touchdown for you?  I know he's one of those guys that came in‑‑
JIMBO FISHER:  It was.  It was funny, it was like a flashback of the Maryland game when they ran that option.  You guys don't remember that when he was a freshman, but if you remember, we ran that same read option.  We hadn't pulled it out in a while, and we ran that same kind of stuff tonight.  It wasn't the same play, but he got that little pitch and hit down the sideline against Maryland and broke.
Lonnie is the epitome of what a team is about.  I mean, he can make big plays, but if he doesn't, he doesn't complain.  He'll block, he'll catch, he'll run.  He'll sit on the sideline and cheer.  There's some games we went four wide which‑‑ we had to put four wides in the game because we have good receivers.  We had so many players, everybody has a role on a team and that's the hardest thing.  In today's time, with all this recruiting and how everybody is built up to be a nine‑star and everybody is going in the NFL in two years and all the things that go on and what happens, on a team the hardest thing for a coach to do is to get these guys to accept a role and understand that.  And when your best players accept it, everybody else‑‑ they have to.  They have to.  And Lonnie did that, everything that's ever asked of him since he's been at Florida State.  And to me, maybe not numbers wise, but he's one of the greatest players ever to play at Florida State.  Statistics don't tell about players.  The way you affect your teammates, the way you affect the game and everything you do does that, and that's what Lonnie prior did.  He's a winner.

Q.  Lonnie, when you were at Okeechobee, you're a Florida State guy, people knew for years you were going to Tallahassee, now culminating, sitting here having your best game ever in the Orange Bowl, is there a storybook quality to that?
LONNIE PRYOR:  I forgot, what did you just say?

Q.  The journey from Okeechobee to Tallahassee down to here, culminating with your best game as a Seminole in the Orange Bowl.  Is this sort of storybook?
LONNIE PRYOR:  You can say it is.  I always came here to play running back, always wanted to be the next Warrick Dunn, break 1,000 yards and this, my last year, to go out with a bang like that, this is a blessing.  It feels good.  I never expect that.  I always pictured myself doing stuff in this game, and I never saw the game I had tonight.  But this has been a blessing, and I just truly thank my team for putting me in the position I am today.

Q.  All week I had asked players were they loose, and everyone like was, yeah, Lonnie keeps telling jokes.  Now that the game is over, practice is over, somebody share with me why he's such a funny guy.
LONNIE PRYOR:  Well, it's not like‑‑ we'll like say one joke that I said to EJ one time, we was going in the huddle, and I called and I said EJ's got a head like a kick stand.  It was just like random stuff we always go back and forth telling each other, just to get us through practice.  If you're not having fun at practice, you're just there.  But me, EJ and Freeman and James, we always go back and forth just cracking jokes.  So that's what we get through.

Q.  Jimbo, I hope I'm not breaking news here but Xavier told a couple reporters after the game that he's going to declare and go pro.  What kind of pro do you foresee him being?
JIMBO FISHER:  See, there's another guy, came as a receiver.  We took him on offense as a receiver and he got here, and I watched him actually‑‑ and he got here and I said, son, we got‑‑ and you could be a very good receiver, but you need to be a corner.  At 6'1", 210‑pound corners, there's not very many of them.  For a year it bothered him.  It was a hard transition for him.  But then he adapted to that, went over, and became‑‑ I think he's going to be a tremendous pro because he's long, he can jam you, he can get his hands on you, he's physical, he's quick, he's got ball skills, he's got great ups, he judges the ball very well.  But he's very unique, too, that he can tackle.  I mean, he can play zone and be a tackling corner and be a physical corner.  He can cover, he can play off, he can play on.  I think he'll be a tremendous pro, I really do, and thanks to him for being able to accept the change he did and then become the player he became.

Q.  I just want to tell Lonnie in front of everybody how proud we are and what a good job he's done.
LONNIE PRYOR:  Thank you, mom.

Q.  EJ, were you surprised how soft the coverage was tonight, and how tough was it to remain patient and not take those deep shots?
EJ MANUEL:  I wasn't surprised.  That's what we saw on film, suggested the scouting report we had all week were all two, three weeks we practiced.  Any time I felt like we had 12, 13, 14, 15 practices to prepare for a team, we know every single thing they're going to do.  Our coaches do a great job scheming and getting us prepared for the looks we're going to see in a game, and it was always the same things, so I wasn't surprised.

Q.  For Lonnie, when you motioned the tailback out of the backfield did you know you had it then with the way backers moved to them?
LONNIE PRYOR:  I got to read to know what the nose is doing and I saw Stork and James‑‑ not James, and Trey just take him, and I just cut off them, and after that it was smooth sailing.

Q.  How do you think the defense did, Christian?
CHRISTIAN JONES:  I thought the defense played real well.  Like I said, we was prepared for it.  We had a long time to prepare for it, and we knew they had a good quarterback in Jordan Lynch and I thought we did a good job of holding him to what his usual stats are.  We all get along out there, we have fun out there, and it showed tonight.

Q.  Christian, you do have a decision to make.  Have you come to one?  What's your timetable for coming to one?
CHRISTIAN JONES:  I'm not usually the best one with decisions, so I usually take a while to do that.  But I'm going to plan on going back home after this game and talking to my family, praying with my pastor and getting back to Tallahassee and sitting down with Jimbo and hopefully come up with something.

Q.  Vince, the other day you were just talking about coming in and the new coaching staff coming in.  Considering everything that you guys, you and EJ, the fifth‑year guys, have gone through with all the changes, how big was it for you to be a good game and for you guys to win this game?
VINCE WILLIAMS:  In the beginning it was kind of a struggle when I found out the coaching staff was going to change.  But then Coach Fisher instilled a lot of confidence in me, like when I heard him speak to us, I remember the first time I was sitting in there and I was a sophomore and I just really believed everything he said.  Looking back on it in retrospect, I just think that just believing what he said, and it was always true.  It all came to fruition.  It wasn't really difficult for me to go out there and perform well tonight.
I told everybody in the locker room, it wasn't a sob story for me.  I'm not crying wolf.  This is celebration.  I get to go out here and beat people down with my brothers and my family, man.  I just felt like everything I had to go through, it just kind of set up this night.  Kind of like Lonnie, a storybook ending type.

Q.  Christian, talking about your family and going home to talk to them, that legacy that your family has, what's that conversation going to be like with your father, your brother, and then talking about what you can brag about for this season and for everything?
CHRISTIAN JONES:  Well, everything my dad tells me I always listen to him.  He always gave me a lot of wisdom even to this day.  I've been blessed to have great parents.  It's got me through every situation I'm in.  I trust what they tell me, so when I go back home, just be able to talk to them and hope they'll lead me on the right path, being able to sit down with my pastor and pray about certain situations, it's going to help out.
I'm going to love‑‑ I love Florida State, I grew up a Florida State fan, and it's a hard thing to think about this because it's‑‑ I always wanted to be in the league, but I always also wanted to be at Florida State.  I can remember when I was five years old going to Florida State games and just watching them play.  I literally believed I was going to go.  Hopefully I'll come up with some decision.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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