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VIZIO BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: AUBURN v FLORIDA STATE


January 3, 2014


Lawrence Dawsey

Randy Sanders


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

RANDY SANDERS:  They couldn't process nearly as quickly as what he does.  He has phenomenal abilities and he throws where he wants the ball to go.  His accuracy and talent, his hand, his ability to flick the ball with his hand to get it to go where he wants to is probably better than anyone else I've coached.

Q.  How important was it to build a relationship with him quickly knowing that Craig just left.
RANDY SANDERS:  Well, the relationship between a player and a coach is important but I think it's critical between the quarterback and his coach because as a quarterback you got to trust what that coach is telling and you as a coach you got to trust that he's going to do what you tell him to do.  How to prepare a game plan and how to call a game.  The relationships with the players is no different than relationships with your wives, girlfriends, whoever.
It doesn't just happen.  You can't force it to happen, it takes a little bit of time.  The trust and respect, you try to give it but you don't have it until it's earned.  To earn it takes time.  So it was a process through the spring and summer and then through the fall to build that type of relationship.

Q.  How similar is this?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  Kevin's maturity has been big for us this year.  Last year he hadn't played in a year, being rusty and having to come back in and get around the guys and get comfortable with the quarterbacks as well as with me getting on his behind a little bit in the spring.  But he made a commitment to him and to the spring in the team that he was going to be the best receiver he could be coming into the season and it showed this summer.  He got with the quarterback and they worked together and he came in and told the guys, you can count on me.  He didn't do that the year before.  Just the maturity of him taking full advantage of the guys around him and working hard with the rest of the receivers and with Jameis they was on the same page.

Q.  Coach, who is better your guys or the Fab Four?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  I'm going to say these guys are better.  They got more speed, they're bigger.  The whole game we didn't come close to what they're doin' right now.  You look at the quarterback they have throwin' it to 'em, so I'm going with these guys being better than the Fab Four.

Q.  How close is this team to the team you played on?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  Similar because when I was there we felt like we played the game during the week because we went against the best we was going to go against, I went against Dion Sanders and Terrell Buckley and those guys and we felt like, hey, we going against some of the best guys and when our guys get to the game, we felt like game day was easy for us.

Q.  Talk about the process.  When do you see things play out, in practice?  When did you know he had that special vision and special ability to process it?
RANDY SANDERS:  As a coach you recognize it pretty quickly.  The first few times it happens, you wonder did he really do that or was he lucky.  But when it happens on a consistent basis.  You know, there would be plays that he may not do exactly what you wanted him to do but, all right, when you say "why did you do that?"  And when he gives you the answers you're looking for, that tells you he's able to process it and it's a matter of getting him to respond the right way.  You've got to have the ability to throw the ball and hit the guys but that ability to process and react quickly probably is what separates the good quarterbacks and the great quarterbacks more than anything else I've been around.

Q.  In the spring?
RANDY SANDERS:  You recognize it pretty quick.  His ability to do that is high so it didn't take long.

Q.  There was any time where he had to fix it on the fly during a game?
RANDY SANDERS:  Sure.  Growing up in Tennessee with General Neyland and the comparisons to the Army and all those things, one of the things I truly believe is football, like fighting a battle is once the thing starts it's chaos, right?  And that's where your discipline, your training, your habits.  Because once the chaos breaks out you're going to fall back into your habits, what you have been trained to do.  Just the way he handles all those situations tells you that the ability to process is there because he falls back into his habits and responds very well.  Rarely does it happen nearly as clean as you draw it up on the board.

Q.  Which of your guys reminds you of yourself as a player?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  That's tough.
RANDY SANDERS:  I'm anxious to hear that.
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  That's if you have I would say Rashad, I didn't have the speed he has but I tried to run the routes and the details on and off the field.

Q.  Does he block as good as you did?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  No, not quite as good but if I had to pick a guy, I would go with Rashad Green because of the things he does, the details in everything he does.  I would go with Rashad.

Q.  Lawrence, Jameis talked about rivalries.  Is this a little bit of one for you?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  I'm looking forward to going back to Alabama and saying, hey, we did beat the Auburn Tigers.  My family has been calling me he saying, hey, I don't want to eat crow they're talking trash back here about the Auburn/Florida State game.  And it reminded me of when I had a chance to play Auburn so I would say it's a rivalry game.

Q.  How much are you thinking back to those games?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  Oh, man, it's been a lot.  I was thinking about the Sugar Bowl when we played and Dion intercepted for us to win the game.  I was recruited from Auburn.

Q.  (No microphone.)
NICK O'LEARY:  Well the wishbone had a lot to do with it!  (Laughter.)  And that had something to do with it!  But it's a rivalry game.

Q.  Nick O'Leary, how does he add to this game?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:¬† We knew he had the skills to do it, but just the plays he made not only catching the football but becoming a better blocker that made our whole offense a better team because we're able to run the ball and when we put him in we can use him‑‑ the year before we used him for passing but now we can keep him in and run a pass zone and by his catching the ball he has probably some of the best hands on the team and a great route runner.

Q.  What's it like coaching against an Ellis Johnson defense?
RANDY SANDERS:¬† One thing you know about Ellis' team is they're tough, coached well, play behind the pads, use their hands, play very hard and Ellis knows the answers to the questions, usually.¬† He's not a guy that‑‑ and the longer you coach the more you realize, you don't necessarily outcoach people, usually you don't necessarily trick people.¬† Rarely do you have the absolutely perfect play called or the absolutely perfect defense called.
Usually it gets down to putting your players into position to make plays.  You coach 'em during the week you try to have a sound scheme and sound plays called and you put them in the right position but it comes down to them doing what they're supposed to do.
You know his guys are going to be very well coached, they're going to be in good positions.  If you're going to beat 'em, you're going to earn when you get there are no freebies.

Q.  When he takes four or five guys in at a time he keeps 'em fresh.
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  They do that, they push the pocket in the middle, the size up front and the size in the interior that you don't just knock 'em off the ball and make it easy to run.  It's a tremendous challenge.  They got good people and the scheme is good.  It's going to be a challenge for us offensively.

Q.  (No microphone.)
RANDY SANDERS:¬† He's really good.¬† You watch the Alabama/Oklahoma game, defensive end for Oklahoma he's not 6‑4, 280, either, but he was disruptive last night.¬† If a guy can rush the passer it's always something you have to deal with.¬† Whether you have to manage him in protection or help him out with a tight end or having to back chip his way out, anytime you get someone that can rush the passer and be disruptive to the quarterback, it's a problem.

Q.  (No microphone.)  How rewarding is it to be back on this stage?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  I can't tell you how many phone calls and text messages I get from former players that are excited to see Florida State back on top and playing for a National Championship.  They're so proud where we came from and getting back to this and like I say, Florida State playing in the last one, it's a dream come true.

Q.¬† No one has been able to slow down your receivers, what do you guys notice about the match‑up?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  They done a good job of getting to the championship game.  They made enough plays to get here and they got some talent back there.  We just got to go out and do what we do.  We got to put ourselves into position to make plays that Jameis give us our players an opportunity to make.  Our guys are excited.  We know it's going to be a tough match and they're going to get in our face and be aggressive so we got to go out and do what we do.

Q.  How much of a success is Jameis making something happen?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  It's a lot.  Jameis don't play like a freshman.  He gives us the opportunity and puts the ball where nobody can get it but our guys and he's a big part of the success of the group and vice versa they have been a big part of his success, too.

Q.  How much has Kenny Shaw been a help to the team?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  He's probably the best route runner we got on the team and Jameis has confidence in him and having the senior lead the whole receiving group, it's been great.

Q.  I have a question if there about a 19 year old quarterback.  How old were you when you got to your first camp and what was that like?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  I was a country boy so I didn't go to a camp until my senior year in high school.

Q.  I mean NFL camp.
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  Well, just goin' in the locker room and being around Chester Birdie and those guys, and being a rookie, it was like, wow, I'm here with you guys and you get out on the field and you get butterflies and you think just don't mess up, don't mess up but once you go in and start making plays, those guys are like, hey, leave it on the field you're a rookie, play hard.  And when you leave it on the field and play hard you gain the respect and trust of your team mates.

Q.  If you could make plays didn't matter?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  Bottom line, don't matter.  If you can help the team win, they're all for it.

Q.  You guys only had four veteran guys in the receiver core, how much do you think that has helped the chemistry to have the same guys in there all the time?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  I think it's helped a lot.  They had a chance to be familiar with each other, their legs getting burned out because they don't have the rotation that we used to have with all the guys being in there but I think it paid off because they were familiar with each other and Jameis knew when they made a step which way they was going to break out and he knew what they were doing.  But I do miss Greg and Scooter when they went down, but it helped Jameis working with the same guys all the time.

Q.  All the players talked about competition in the camp.  How close and how difficult it was for you guys to make the decision that Jameis was the starter?  (Laughter.)
RANDY SANDERS:  People look back on it and they don't believe us, but it was a very, very competitive situation.  Coker is a good football player and did a tremendous job through spring practice and through fall camp.  It was one of those things we thought we were going to make a decision and then it gets put off a day, put off a day and I remember sitting in there in the staff meeting and kinda going around the table and hearing all the opinions.  I promise you, it was it not a unanimous thing.  Sometimes you make a decision and you go with it, and it's hard to say we made the wrong one at this point but if we had chosen Coker we wouldn't be sitting here and feeling like we made the wrong decision there, too.

Q.  Is there anything that pushed it in Jameis favor?
RANDY SANDERS:  I don't know that there was any one thing.  They each had their strengths and weaknesses and we felt like Jameis gave us the best opportunity to win games and that's certainly not a knock against Coker and what he was able to do.

Q.  (No microphone.)
RANDY SANDERS:  No, age never came up.  It never came up.  That's one thing I can say, my 25 years, I don't know that age has really ever come up in a conversation on whether a guy was a senior or a freshman, it's always been who's the best player, who gives us the best chance to win.  You tell kids that in recruiting all the time and they look at you like, "Yeah, "okay" and I mean that, that never came up.  It was just a matter of who gives us the best chance to win, who can put us in position to get where we are right now, and I'm not sure if we had gone with Jacob we wouldn't still be here.  Obviously Jameis has had a tremendous year and the teams had a tremendous year and we are where we are.

Q.  Anything you would change about him?
RANDY SANDERS:  Anything I would change?  Sure, I'm not going to be critical but there are a few things that I would change.  I have never been around one that was absolutely perfect, you know, but he's pretty good.  (Laughter.)  But there are a few things I would change.

Q.¬† You were a star player on a high‑profile team.¬† Do you think players today face more scrutiny than they did in your day?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  No doubt about it.  Everything that you deal with, the media, everywhere you go, I'm glad I'm not playing at this time right now because of what these guys have to go through.  They're under a magnifying glass.  It's part of it and they have to play responsible and do the right things and say the right things because somebody is always watching and you got a target on your back especially on a stage like right now.

Q.  (No microphone.)
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  They make us look good, but when we look back on it, we hit some home runs in that class, guys able to come in and get Florida State to this point, with the Kenny Shaw's and the kinda guys that came in. It was big for Coach Fisher, to come in and establish that Florida egg, he was going to build in the mix of recruiting because you had wars going on with Florida and Miami doing their time with the recruitin' ballots in the sate.  By us being able to put that class together is one of the reasons we're setting here today.

Q.  (No microphone.)
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:¬† Its was the foundation of Coach Fisher.¬† When we got that class, that was the foundation to get us back to where were nine and ‑‑ it's a class we're still building off of, this next class is gonna be the same as before.

Q.  What's the affect of the recruiting and what goes on in the dynamics?
LAWRENCE DAWSEY:  When you are playing for a championship, guys want to win.  Being where we are right now we are getting a chance to get quality players.  You're not having kids flipping back and forth because we are winning.  So we are fortunate to be where we at and hopefully we can continue to get better.

Q.  What have you done in the game plan to go take some pressure off and doing other things?
RANDY SANDERS:  I've just tried to do whatever I've been asked to do since I got here.  When I got here I was coaching running backs and that was my role and I was happy to do that.  Then it changes to where I'm coaching quarterbacks, then it changes to where I'm doing scripting and things like that.
Whatever he asks me to do I try to do.  Fortunately, I think he and I think a lot alike when it comes to offensive football so I've been able to kind of, I guess, learn how he likes doing things, how he wants to do things and kinda pick up on it and it's still an on going process.  It's been a good partnership to this point.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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