[Report by Dustin Tackett] When Jimbo Fisher walked in after Saturday’s game against Clemson for his press conference, you could see the pride in his face – mixed with a little exhaustion. He began talking about Clemson as a team and how good they looked.
"I give a lot of credit to them," said Fisher. "They are a well-coached and a heck of a football team."
Jimbo continued on talking about his teams resilience and how proud he was that his guys were able to fight through their first taste of adversity in 2012. With the ‘Noles going into the half trailing the visiting Tigers, the overwhelming question was whether or not this Florida State football team could respond and Fisher couldn’t have been happier.
"This was a good win for us but we should expect to play games like this, and then we have to move on," said Fisher. "I can’t say enough about our players’ ability to overcome adversity – to compete in the game and our assistant coaches did a tremendous job keeping our guys in the game, their heads in the game."
Jimbo really stressed the importance of putting this win against Clemson behind them and move on to the next game. When asked about EJ Manuel’s performance, he was a little surprised by the numbers. Manuel was 27 for 35 in the air Saturday night for a total of 380 yards and two touchdowns. He knew that EJ had played a great game, limited his mistakes, and helped fight through during crucial situations, and he knew EJ was vital in Saturday’s win against Clemson but Jimbo wasn’t the only one. While talking to James Wilder Jr. after the game about Manuel’s leadership on and off the field, EJ walked by and gave him a high-five and – Wilder could not stop smiling.
"Man, see that’s exactly what I’m talking about," said Wilder. "We know EJ is there for us and is always there to help calm me down."
Chris Thomson had another big night on Saturday in Doak Campbell Stadium, but he couldn’t stop talking about the leader that EJ Manuel has become for this team.
"I can just look him in the eyes and know it’s time to step it up and get things done, and that’s just who he is," said Thompson. "We know he’s going to get his job done and he lets us know that he needs us."
Thompson also talked about his success on the ground and how he feels more confident out there because of the run blocking.
"All of these guys tell me I won’t get touched," said Thompson. "Lonnie tells me, that guys won’t touch you, the offensive line tells me the same thing, and that just helps me feel more confident."
When asked about his big run where he ran over a few defenders but got called back, he smiled and said, "Man, that felt good, that felt real good – just trying to be a little like Wilder."
Timmy Jernigan was all smiles after the game and had a lot to say about their performance in the first half of the game. He thought they came out way too exciting and just needed to settle down, and that’s just what they did in the second half.
"We were first like just calm down, let’s just play ball the way that we play ball," said Jernigan. "They came out with a couple of trick plays and we knew they was going to do that – we just have to be ready for trick plays from now on because a lot of teams aren’t going to be able to beat us straight up."
Bjoern Werner also had a lot to say about the Clemson offense. He talked about how great their offense was and how they knew there were going to be deep plays, but end the end, Werner gave the credit to the fans.
"It was amazing, I give a lot of credit to our fans," said Werner. "I just felt another bit of energy which pushed me through the rest of the game."
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes of the night and that’s from Xavier Rhodes. When asked about this Clemson team and their speed, and how hard that is to prepare for, Rhodes delighted the crowd of writers.
"When we were watching film on these guys, they didn’t look fast, they didn’t even look like they were running," said Rhodes. "Once we got on the field we realized that wasn’t the case."
Just about everybody I talked to after the game had a lot to say about EJ Manuel and his performance, as well as his leadership. Everybody seems very proud of him but even more privileged to be his teammate. While they were all very happy to get this win, they continued to stay focused and ready to get working on next week.
Florida State will travel to Raymond James Stadium next Saturday to face the University of South Florida and look to keep the momentum from tonight’s win as fuel. The game will be on ESPN at 6 p.m.