Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Quotes from Jimbo Fisher during Wednesday's ACC Teleconference
COACH FISHER: Looking forward to having a great game with South Florida this week. Come off a very tough and competitive game with Clemson last week. Very proud of our kids for battling, hanging in there, making enough plays at the end to do it. Clemson was an excellent football team. We have our hands full coming into South Florida. They're very talented, athletic, got a lot of guys can run, a lot of guys our kids know very well, well coached well with Skip (Holtz). Do all three phases very well. We have to put last week behind us and move on to this week, another steppingstone as far as the maturity of our football team, being able to do that and win a significant game, then be able to move on. I think our kids practiced extremely well yesterday. I liked the whole attitude. They seem to be doing very well, but we need to go out and play because South Florida is a very good football team and will be bringing their A game. So we have a great challenge this week.
Q. Your last eight games, you have five of the games on the road. Talk about how tough that will be. Also against South Florida, is this a matchup, a rival game, you would like to see every single season?
COACH FISHER: We got a lot of games on the road. That's always a challenge. There's always distractions. You are never at home, different things going on. Sometimes it can work to an advantage because it does put you together a lot more, as crazy as that sounds, in hotels and meetings. Sometimes it can be a great time of camaraderie and depending on each other. Great challenges on the road. We have some excellent wins. South Florida is a great opponent. Always have played extremely well. Defeated us the last time they played here. I'm sure they'll be looking to do the same thing. It was a very good game. We have to bring our A game.
Q. Is there any particular moment that stands out in last week's game that turned the momentum in your team's favor?
COACH FISHER: I think there was two significant plays. There were a lot of significant plays in the game. Two times we responded extremely well, the game was 28-14, Kelvin (Benjamin) took a shuffle pass and went down the sideline for about 60 or 70, set us up for another score, we punched it in. Clemson responded 31-21. Then we responded with a big kickoff return to get us back to the 10. We were able to punch both of them in for touchdowns. Clemson was hitting us hard. We responded back, got the game back. Our defense, that's when they started getting their feet on the ground and started getting stops and then we were able to take the ball back and take the lead. Those two plays were significant plays in the game answering big punches by Clemson. We were fortunate to get the ball in and keep that momentum going.
Q. B.J. (Daniels) has had a good performance against FSU last time. Can you talk about your defense and how you feel they match up against them this year.
COACH FISHER: I think it's going to be an extremely tough matchup. B.J. can run, he can throw, he is strong, not a little guy, he's strong, dynamic, a great competitor. We're going to have our hands full, have to be very disciplined in our rush lanes. The other thing is when he scrambles, he has such a strong arm, he can throw the ball extreme distances, so you have to play the ball in the deep part of the field. They like to throw go routes and get the ball to their big receivers. We have to match up in the secondary. They'll mix in the run with a quarterback run. It's going to be a tremendous challenge for us. We're going to have our hands full.
Q. I wanted to ask you about the psychology of coming off a game that ESPN's Game Day is there. You have a big emotional victory. How difficult is it to come back a week later and play a game that doesn't have quite the hype?
COACH FISHER: I think it depends on your football team. I think it depends on the maturity of your football team and how driven and how attention to detail they are and how much they really want what they say they want. I think that's an extreme challenge for them. I think as a coaching staff it always is, too, because you have those games. You're used to moving on. Again, we'll find out what our football team thinks and does by the maturity in which we play the football game with and prepare for them with. Like I say, it's another challenge for us, like every week is a different challenge. That's one of them this week. Here is my point. I don't look at this as a lesser game. I think South Florida is an extremely talented football team. They played Rutgers and just went and defeated Arkansas they have extremely good players. They have guys on their team when they defeated us up here last year. They're going to bring their A game, so we better bring ours.
Q. You mentioned earlier a lot of your know their guys. How much of a factor is that in terms of the knowledge of these kids? Sometimes people might be intimidated by the school's reputation at Florida State. These guys at South Florida played high school against your guys.
COACH FISHER: There's no doubt. In their mind, that gives them more motivation and more energy to try to knock you off. I don't think there's any doubt.
Q. There was a lot of national attention accorded, deservedly so, to EJ Manuel after the game. People are saying now he's inserted himself in the Heisman Trophy conversation, et cetera. Obviously EJ has been an elite quarterback. Did that game highlight him to everybody else? Did he just go out and do the kinds of things that you knew he could do?
COACH FISHER: Yeah, I think he did. Like I say, the media are going to promote and push who they think should be in the Heisman. That's a great award and wonderful, but it's not what you play for. If that comes within your teamwork, do the things you got to do, that's great. The scenario, do you want show dogs or hunting dogs? Show dogs get all that hype, which is great, but I'd rather have guys that can hunt, can handle all that and go play well. I think EJ understands that. If that's what the media wants to do, great. I think EJ will keep a level head and understand how to prepare and practice each week and play and won't put any added pressure on himself.
Q. When you looked at film and examined that game, how did you grade his performance?
COACH FISHER: Played extremely well, I mean, extremely well. He got us in and out of the right plays, did the right things, got the right reads, got the ball to different receivers on different coverages. Had a lot of backside three and four reads on routes and different things. When his primaries were there, he was taking them. He was very clean in the game as far as what I was concerned about reads, decision making, leadership, all those types of things. I thought he played an excellent football game.
Q. I know you probably don't want to go into it, but you seemed to be going really strong into the third quarter with Florida State. Where did the momentum shift away from your team?
COACH SWINNEY: We had two plays back to back. They ran a little speed sweep that we did not fit properly on the outside, really hurt us there. They got a touchdown off of that. Then the offense came back and really answered with a field goal. Put us up 10 again, kind of got the momentum back. After we kicked the field goal, we got a kickoff. We forgot that we need to cover the kickoff. Next thing you know it goes 90 yards the other way. That to me was the turning point, kickoff return, punch it in for a touchdown there. Cut the lead to 3, and really ignited the flame down there. Got the crowd rolling. That energy and momentum was pretty powerful. We needed to answer on offense. We went three-and-out. They came right back. It was just a tough little stretch there where we had a chance to finish the game on defense, offense and special teams. We didn't step up and get it done. A game we led for almost three quarters. Disappointing we didn't finish. Tough place to go and win. You have to give Florida State a ton of credit. They played their tails off, made plays, took advantage of the opportunities. That's what good teams do, especially at home. Similar situation with our game against them here last year. It was a hard-fought game by two good teams. Disappointing we lost. But that one's over. Even if we would have won the game, we would be talking about moving on, staying focused, finding a way to win this one. Nothing has changed in that regard. It's all about this game regardless of what's happened in the past. Hopefully we'll learn and grow from that and get better as a team this week. But I would say that kickoff return was the turning point.