Sunday afternoon brought the news that many feared -- Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine tore his ACL in the loss to Florida. The news is terrible. Carradine is a stud. Florida State's leading tackler, Carradine had gone from JUCO transfer to a potential first round (and certainly early round) draft choice. Tank was devastated when given the news.
Here's Jimbo Fisher on the news. Q. Obviously I'm sure that's a huge blow for you guys. What's going through his head? Obviously I know he was looking ahead to the NFL draft.
JIMBO FISHER: The draft will be fine. The draft will still be fine. 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. Will it be Mario or Giorgio or‑‑
JIMBO FISHER: We don't know that yet. We'll have to wait.
Q. Just wanted to ask you a little more on Tank. Obviously you guys have had to deal with these kind of conversations the last few weeks, obviously with Chris and with Brandon. How did he take the news?
JIMBO FISHER: He was very good. 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. Can he wait to graduate before he has his surgery and all that. He was very mature and handled it very well and of course very sad because he wanted to finish the season with his teammates. But it was a very sad moment. But he understood and he handled it very maturely.
Q. Obviously these are conversations that you've had a lot this year. Are they kind of getting old at this point, kind of tired having to deal with these kinds of serious injuries?
JIMBO FISHER: You do, but it's part of the business. They come. We've had just Chris and him right there and Brandon early, that's three significant ones. But they're not fun, I promise you that.
Q. And actually speaking of the defensive line, also you were just talking about the challenge that Georgia Tech poses specifically for the line. What type of challenge does that offense‑‑
JIMBO FISHER: 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. 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. You talked earlier this year about learning a lot from last year after you lost to NC State. 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: No doubt. No doubt. 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. 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. 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: Well, that's why we do it, because in our part of the game and to keep guys fresh in their bodies and everything. 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. 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. Do you find that it is‑‑ [cut blocks] does play into injuries?
JIMBO FISHER: It helps the running backs. Yeah, I think it does. 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. Brandon Jenkins was running up the field rushing the passer and stepped wrong. But it does. There's no doubt cutting does affect that, but I don't know as much as we think it does. You know what I'm saying, and what goes on. 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.
Life without Tank
As Fisher noted, this won't be easy. Carradine was very good. He'll be on the All-ACC first team.His replacements will consist of Giorgio Newberry and Mario Edwards Jr., both of whom were highly rated recruits, but who have not been standout players on their second and first years, respectively. Florida took advantage of them Saturday, and they'll have to show more discipline against Georgia Tech.
Best wishes to Tank Carradine.