We're very excited to be here, very thankful to be here, and I can say this trip, I want to say to Vizio and the National Championship Game, it has been a tremendous, tremendous experience. It's been nothing but first class, everything has been done right, great facilities to practice at, everything. It's been a tremendous, tremendous atmosphere for us, environment. This has been a long process for us. This has been a four year process that we started building the program and bringing it back, and we were preparing for this opportunity and I'd like to thank Coach Bowden for all of his support and all the folks at Florida State for allowing us to have the resources as we continue to grow in those resources by allowing us and our program to continue to grow in what we're doing.
The thing I'd like to thank, though, too, is a lot of players to me in the past four years have been very influential in getting us here, also, not just this football team. We've had some great leaders from Christian Ponder to Nigel Bradham, Bjoern Werner, E.J. Manuel, Chris Thompson, Lonnie Pryor, Xavier Rhodes. This has been a tremendous amount of players here that, to me, have set the groundwork and the standard for our guys of how to work, how to develop, and I think a lot of the leadership of our football team right now comes from those guys. The examples they set, the precedents they set ahead of themselves for this team, and those guys to me are just as big a part of this as anybody else and all the guys that played for us in the last three, four years.
In our program everybody was saying to you everybody wants instant gratification. I was interested in building a program. You can have great teams and teams can come and go, but programs reload every year and can come back every year and that's what I was very interested in building, a team that was comprehensive, that can withstand different things that happen and be able to reload each year and set a standard for how we want to play as a program. We have expectations at Florida State. We embrace them. But to do that you have to build a foundation and a core that doesn't falter, just like building a house. You can have a pretty house but if it's on a bad foundation, it can come and go. We want to be very solid on how we did things. Sometimes that takes time, but very proud of where we're at and what we're doing.
We've changed our training methods and things we do are different. We do a lot of technological things, a lot of training things that are different, that are a little bit off the cuff, but I think it's very influential in our injury situation and our player development and our mental conditioning on how we've been able to develop our guys and I think that's what gets you ready for these moments. I think that's very critical because to me the thing you have to build, if you want to be a program, is consistency. Great programs have great consistency, and to me right now that's the hard thing to do in today's time, develop consistency over a long period of time. It's very hard, and you have to have patience, but you also have to be great selflessness where you are a team oriented guy. And I think that's what our players are now realizing, that they're not selfish players, and in the return, they're getting a lot of individual awards, they're getting drafted, they're going where they want to go and they're becoming great people, and I think that's been very critical in our development. Because I've said this all the time, we're a very talented football team, extremely talented, but in my opinion we have better kids on our team than we do players, and I think that's been the key to our success. Our guys really like each other, like being around each other and we try to always try to stay on the cutting edge of being able to develop things, like the old adage, you don't have to be sick to get better, and we try to do things that step out, or are a little bit different, and it has paid off for us in what we've done.
Like I say, we expect the expectations, we expect to be here are and I truly believe this, I don't believe we've played our best football game. I really don't. I think our best football game is still out there and hopefully it'll come on Monday night. I've liked the way we've practiced, I've liked the way we've prepared. I think we're in a great mental state of mind. I think we're very healthy physically and we're looking forward to Monday night.
(Inaudible)? Extremely business like. That's the way we handle everything. This team, it can compartmentalize about as well as any team I've ever been around as far as when it's time to work, it's time to work, then when we're off, we're off. It focuses and understands the big picture of the organization and what we want and our kids have been very professional about how they went about it.
(Inaudible.) Well, it does. It shows people that you're growing and that you're going to be on that big stage, and kids want to play in that atmosphere and environment, and then you also see the player development. We have great kids. Last year we had 11 players drafted, more than anybody. They all had degrees.
They're developing and getting opportunities in the NFL, they're graduating, so they're playing in big games. All that to me goes hand in hand for being able to recruit the right kind of guys in your organization.
(Inaudible.) Hey, every football coach at the end of a season is extremely tired. Right now we're trying to do a bowl game and you're trying to recruit, but that's standard for the business. I frankly got more sleep out here than I have all year. The three hour time change, I'm ready to go to bed about 7:00 and been able to get some rest. That's part of this. To me this is an elimination process. The mental toughness, the grind that goes on in a season for coaches and players, that's why there's one champion at the end. If it was easy, everyone would do it. We're fortunate enough to be here.
(Inaudible.) Oh, we do. Auburn is a great program. I've coached there, I know it. They're in a great league. They have great coaches. I know a lot of their coaches, I know a lot of their players because you're recruiting. They're a tremendous program, a great program, and it's going to be a great ballgame on Monday.
(Inaudible.) Well, I think the more situations you're in, hopefully you learn from every situation you're in, everything that happens on the field, off the field, how you handle guys, how you handle players, how you handle administration, how you handle adversity as far as injuries, things like that, and coaches, what you're allowing each coach to do and as each coach on your staff grows, the growth you allow him to have and the independence you allow him to have in your organization. But that goes with trust, and I think that's where as coaches we all grow. I think I've learned to trust more because I've been around our guys more, our players and our coaches, and I think just in the delegation of things, I think because now I think everyone in the organization knows the standard and the way we want things done.
(Inaudible.) Yeah, I mean, some of these things I've even adjusted here, but a lot of the things that we did came from there, the mental conditioning issues. He and I, like I say, when it first came there and it was different and we grew from it, and it was tremendous, it opened my eyes to a lot of things. But we've even expanded from that on some times that I don't even think they're doing right now, it's a matter of training and different things that are going are. I think we always want to stay on that cutting edge, but I think it did open my eyes that it's more than what's on the field. It's more than Xs and Os if there is an off field thing. To me that's maybe more critical than what goes on on the field because if you can get them right off the field, the on the field things become much easier.
(Inaudible.) Like how we train with our GPS system right now and our training and how we can actually judge player loads and the maximum speeds they run at so we can adjust and judge each player's practice. We have individual practice, how many reps a guy gets in a practice, how many reps our team gets. - How we adjust practice on Monday, on Friday, on Thursday, from the different - it's a component, I think we're one of the only teams in the country that do, that allow - and then you know why we're injury free the last two years? You have a knee injury or a shoulder that's one thing, but we have very few pulls, strains, those kind of things because we are able to monitor our players much better.
(Inaudible.) We just want to play well. I'm not concerning myself with the scoreboard. Our goal is to play better each game and grow as a team, and then grow as that game and play it one play at a time. We'll live with the results when they're over. We need to play well. If we want to win, we need to play well, need to keep preparing well right now and need to play well.
(Inaudible.) I feel very confident we're ready. I think we've practiced extremely well and I like our mindset and our attitude right now. I think we're very confident in what we do but we're not arrogant. I think our kids believe in the system and the team we have, there's not a lot of arrogance where they're ignoring things and not preparing at the same time, and I think that's very critical.
(Inaudible.) Jameis looks like he did right back when we were getting ready to play Pitt. He's excited but you see a guy who grinds and works affecting his teammates extremely well.
(Inaudible.) I think it definitely does, and I think you go look, we talk about the ACC, you look at first round draft picks, draft picks, the SEC and the ACC are the top two. There's five other conferences that don't have the quality of players that we have. We question the ACC, so I don't know where that comes from. You look at the draft boards over the last 10 years. Look at the first round picks, the players in the Pro Bowl, the whole thing. The ACC is putting out as many as anybody. I think what Duke and Clemson - we have a great conference, we have great coaches, and like I say, I think we're one of the best conferences in the country.
(Inaudible.) Yeah, I did, because I think he had passion for the game, and I think to be a coach you have to have passion for the game.
From what you see in Jeremy Pruitt (inaudible)? Well, I knew Jeremy from before. I knew his background. I've watched him coach in high school. I knew, I had talked to folks at Alabama, I knew what they thought of him, and then what I sat down and interviewed him, and then the answers - not only the answers he had for the questions, but how he went about it, his poise, his presence, how he presented himself, to me I thought it was a no brainer. Now, he has to go out and perform, but I knew the sky would be the limit, and he didn't do things quite as well this year as we want. I knew he would quickly, because I think he's a very smart guy, and the game means a lot to him and he's very natural coaching and he understands it.
(Inaudible.) The maturity and the consistency. It's hard for old guys to be consistent, let alone young guys, and he eliminated the clutter as far as controlling what he can control in the moment, and that's a very hard thing to do for a young guy.
You said there was a moment you told him he would be the starter. (Inaudible.) Well, the consistency. I look for consistency in players. You have flashes, you have talent, you have flashes of greatness or a day or so, but the thing he did over all things to me as a young player, every day he was the same guy and was very consistent on how he did things.
(Inaudible.) Be fundamentally sound and do things right. If you're fundamentally sound, get great angles, get your guys where they need to be, you handle those things.
(Inaudible.) They got them all predicting to beat us, so I don't think anybody is - they've got them as the team that's going to win the game, so I don't think people are underselling them at all.
(Inaudible.) Nothing. James Coley had it, too.
(Inaudible.) No. I just answered the question. No. James is a great coach, a great guy, I coached him, was a great player, tremendous guy, was one of the best players I've ever coached, very good guy, very good player. I think he'll be a great coach for a long time, good recruiting, good coach, everything.
(Inaudible.) He is. It's fundamentals. It's like let's go and win this game, fundamentals. Blocking, tackling. That's what you've got to remember. It's still a football game, and those old guys like that understand that, been in those wars, been in those trenches, those are the guys you want so your kids will be ready to play.
(Inaudible.) Oh, yeah, got them all the time.
(Inaudible.) No, I didn't, and it's amazing to me the things that affect kids, that affect the quality of how they play, how they think, and I think that today - the distractions and clutter for these kids today is ten fold to what it ever was when I played. It's different than it was 10 years ago. I think the more you can hone them in and understand what to do and show them that this is beneficial. And kids are no different than anything else, like y'all, if you think it's beneficial to you and your job, you do it. It's the same way with them. If you can prove that you're doing something that maybe somebody else isn't or doing something as good or better, and it makes their trust and belief in you go up, and to me that's the key. The trust between coach and player and player and coach.
(Inaudible.) That was a great time. I was 27 years old. I didn't know I didn't know. Just going to coach. Undefeated the first year, we recruited well, had great times there, great people, it was a great place to live. It was one of the funnest times of my career. It was a great place, and a lot of great friends that I still carry from there.
(Inaudible.) I think understanding in recruiting and that SEC at that time, how I'd say dog eat dog it is and how when you're really out on the road, you have to work at it and it's a year round thing. You have to develop the relationships football wise and how close and how physical the game really is and how many good players are out there and that you don't know everything. What you have to do is that fundamentals are more critical now than schemes. Schemes. You have to have schemes, but everybody is good, everybody knows things, everybody had good coaches. You have to get the mental side of the game. There was a lot of things in that way that we just continued to groom.
(Inaudible.) Oh, no doubt. I think we feel very confident where we're at like I say but not arrogant, and we'll continue to have another great preparation today, but I love where we're at right now.
(Inaudible.) I mean, the infrastructure of the program, to me there's three phases. There's recruiting, there's player development, and then there's coaching the games, and I think we all recruit and we all see the games, but to me the player development from January to August is the most critical thing, and then you've got to carry it through the season. But developing the identity - a team only has a one year life expectancy. That group of guys will never be together more than one year, so it has to develop its own identity, its own attitude, its own work ethic, and you have to do that within a culture that understands how they can be successful. I think the off the field issues from how they eat, how they sleep, how they train, how they go to school, how they have tutors, I mean every facet of their life, you have to have an organizational plan for, because it develops their attitude and their character, and to me when you can get that right, then the on the field things become much, much easier, and it also goes into recruiting, that if you can as much as you can make sure you're recruiting those guys that have those certain common beliefs and goals when you're recruiting, not only talent - now you can't always do it because the guys have choices and you're not going to get everybody you want - but you try to recruit guys, and I think that's one of the keys to our football team, our team actually likes each other because I think they're a similar group of guys.
(Inaudible.) You're in the National Championship Game. There's pressure, but there's pressure in anything you do. There's pressure in the ACC Championship Game. There's pressure on the road at Clemson. There's pressure playing in Miami. There's pressure playing every game. That's just part of our world that we have to deal with and we have to forget about that and focus on just playing the football game.
We're from Miami. I know you have 19 guys on your roster from South Florida. Talk about how important they are. South Florida football to me is, if not the best, one of the best areas in America that you recruit. Coaching players down there, great athletes, great guys that football means a lot to them, and that South Florida area has been very critical in our development at Florida State and hopefully always will be. I think it's one of the best areas in the country to recruit.
Talk about the bond they have. They do. There's a certain bond once you get below that West Palm Beach area that those guys - they kind of carry that bond and pride that we play a different brand of football, and whether they do or not, they believe it, and those guys are very tight knit.
(Inaudible.) Been great. We've got a great practice facility. The facilities have been great. Our guys have had three outstanding practices since we've been here. You almost have to say whoa a little bit but they're practicing at a high level. Execution is at a high level along with the effort, so I've been very pleased.
(Inaudible.) Oh, without a doubt. This team knows how to eliminate clutter and turn it on and turn it off.
(Inaudible.) Well, yeah. I mean, to say our guy is the Heisman Trophy winner as a freshman, there's only been two of them, I would say he definitely has as far as you know he's going to be good, but to do it at the consistent level he has has been tremendous.
(Inaudible.) Well, unfortunately it is when there's allegations and not charges, and we blow them up into things that we assume, and I think the media needs to take a step back sometime when there's not charges and be very diligent about how you report and say things. I think there's a responsibility on y'all's behalf because you can taint someone without even charges being made that I think is very critical and wrong at times.
(Inaudible.) I think the way we practice it's been very good. I feel very confident where we're at.
(Inaudible.) That's a great question. How much do you load the box when you're playing against Auburn who's a very run oriented team? But that's a thing you've got to be careful of - the thing you have got to do is set your edges and then be able to make them defeat blockers inside but stay gap controlled, but at the same time Nick Marshall does throw that deep ball in post and it's going to be a lot of pressure on our corners and safeties to be able to read run pass and there's going to have to be some one on one situations. We're going to have to do that at times, but we're going to have to give him different looks and mix things up. Very good question.
(Inaudible.) There will be pressures. We'll have to bring pressures. You're going to have to create different looks. Pressures also don't always mean you're trying to sack the quarterback, but it also can be blitz pressures to stop the run. There's also blitzes that handle run, blitzes that handle pass, and we'll be able to mix those in.
(Inaudible.) Yeah, Nick is critical to them. He creates a lot of big plays for them, so we probably will at times have to spy him. There's no doubt.
(Inaudible.) Oh, extremely hard, it really was. It's hard because of the pressure, but as far as his - you can ask him this, if he was more of a tailback, maybe that does. Auburn, they both come at him. But I think two things: One, Jameis likes what we do on offense. We've had a great tradition of developing quarterbacks over the years, from all the way back to the Auburn, LSU days. Like I said, there's only one guy that we've coached that hasn't played in the NFL since 1993, whether it was at Auburn, at LSU or Florida State, we had a great run of first rounders.
I think Jameis is a big picture thinker, where he wants to go, what he wants to do, and I think it takes a very strong minded young man to walk out of the state of Alabama, and I don't think it was doing any disrespect for them, but I think for his personal development he made a decision what was best for him, but it was very critical, it was very tough.
(Inaudible.) Well, you practice with great intensity, and we go good on good every day, so we go good on good. We don't just do scout team work. We're good on good, passing, running, team, so we get the fastball look in the way we practice. Our passing game is very crisp right now.
(Inaudible.) Extremely well. That's the way he lets pressure off, and he has fun and enjoys it, but he's a very focused guy. He's a very driven guy. He's an extremely competitive guy. He and I are probably much more similar than we are different, extremely more similar.
(Inaudible.) No, it's not a softening. It's been a confidence. I have tremendous confidence in him, and when a coach has confidence in his player, he doesn't have - you push the buttons when you have to push them, but you you let them go when they have to go, and he understands when to do the things and be who he is, and I have tremendous confidence in him because I know how he prepares and how he competes.
(Inaudible.) I got to watch a little bit of it, yeah, because no one ever does that. But that's the thing about bowl games, you don't ever know. Teams have time to prepare, but Oklahoma is a very well coached team and a good team. Again, I don't know the inner workings of Alabama to know the team itself, but yeah, that was surprising.
(Inaudible.) Oh, no, they're back. They lost two games. Daggone guys. They've won three out of five National Championships. If that's not back, they're, what, 12 2 or 11 2, that's still a pretty good year. That's the thing about our society we forget, a player can be 11 2, 12 2, 10 3. That don't mean you've lost anything. Hey, other guys on scholarship out there, too.
(Inaudible.) A lot of beliefs early in my career when I was with him, opened my eyes to some different things in very critical - he and I have similar philosophies on things.
After seven years at LSU working for two different coaches? Both my kids were born in Baton Rouge. Tremendous place. We hadn't had a lot of success when we got there, they'd been 3 8, 2 9, and it was fun because when the program came back, those fans are as passionate as any in the country, and they have great facilities, great everything, but I developed a lot of great friends there, a lot of great players were able to coach there. To me that was a special time in my life, being able to coach there for seven years and under two great guys, Nick was tremendous, Les, we had two great years with Les and had great success and were able to move on, and without those guys, you wouldn't be in the position you are, and LSU was very critical in my development as a coach and one of my favorite places I've ever been.
(Inaudible.) Players right now are very confident, loose but not arrogant, they're preparing well, practicing well. I've been extremely pleased with our practices since we've been here.
(Inaudible.) Yeah, I mean, but that's our society. Like you ask coaches, well, if we don't win as many games, you want us to move on, don't you? It's a give and take. It's funny how fans say you're being disloyal. Well, as soon as you win 10 games or 11 games and you're not winning 13, we don't want him anymore, we want somebody else. It's the nature of the business, it's what it is, and that's why I don't comment. I don't believe in commenting out there on other jobs and other people. It's disrespectful to the teams, and like I say, I'm happy in the job I have, I have a great job, I love being where I'm at, and we'll be here because no matter what I say or anybody says, your guys are going to write what you want and I don't mean that as disrespect to you, that's your job, that's your job to create news. I understand that.
(Inaudible.) Oh, it is. I mean, what you want out of it as a guy, as a coach. And also, it still is the administration and the school still willing to keep adding things so you can continue to grow. I think that's very critical. Once you get it set up, well, if you stop, somebody passes you up. You still have to have the forethought and you don't have to be sick to get better. You've got to continue to grow as an organization in things and have an administration and a school that understands that because as soon as you're either getting better or you're not. As soon as you quit getting better, people pass you by.
To me it's a whole organizational thing, not just a coaches' thing.
(Inaudible.) I think it'll be great because we don't pay attention to the scoreboard. Scoreboard means nothing to us. When they start it's 0 0, so they're pretty close. I mean, it's been - we've just got to play each play. I'm not worried about the outcome of the game. What I'm worried about is the process of the game and how we play it and how well we play it, and we're just going to play one play at a time and ignore the scoreboard.
(Inaudible.) Quit football, you mean what I went to college? I did. I loved all sports. I was on a baseball scholarship at Clemson. I was too young to be away from home, 17 years old, wanted to get homesick, wanted to get back, and the thing I did, it was funny but the thing I did, I had a plan when I did went back, that I did miss football. I went back to play it, Terry continued to recruit me. I don't think he ever stopped. It is funny how things go. But again, it was a choice I made, and it was a choice of leaving something but having a plan to go back to something. Sometimes when kids want to quit something, all right, where am I going? You know what I'm saying? I had I plan, I knew I wanted to go back, so it's funny but again, to me it was choices that I made and not your destiny.
I still believe this: If we're on the world, what do we work for every day? If God has already got your destiny laid out, just walk down the street and he'll direct you where to go. I think God puts you on the planet, on the world with an opportunity and you make decisions. Your destiny is truly determined by yourself. I truly believe that.
(Inaudible.) You know, I was very happy and relieved, and when I went back and started playing, it fit. It was like a glove. I just was very content about what I was doing, very happy. I thought it was kind of a special time at Salem because we had a bunch of players transfer in and we got really good real quick. You ever just hit someone you feel very comfortable in what you're doing, what's happening, the people you're around, and I felt very comfortable about it.
(Inaudible.) He was the lead recruiter on Jameis.
(Inaudible.) Well, I mean, you develop - as assistant coaches you all develop relationships with the players you recruit because assistants get recruited more than the head coach because we're not allowed to come but one time, so every assistant on our team has special relationships with the guys they recruit because they spend large amounts of time with them. And then when he left, Jameis and - I called Jameis in because I let our quarterback coaches build that relationship and I have a very good relationship with them, but he and I for a long time we got back to like I was an assistant coach again. We hit it right off. I coached Damian, so it was a lot of things and beliefs he had came from where we came from. But they always had a bond. But that's life, you move on. And now he and Randy Sanders have tremendous bond along with myself.
(Inaudible.) Well, we were very close anyway, but more on a day to day basis, on a daily basis day to day that sometimes you don't always get that opportunity to do as a coach. I took that role especially early until Randy got adapted and got around Jameis.
(Inaudible.) Again, somebody made a decision. You do, but it's funny, you look back, you could have went here, you could have went here. I try to make decisions based on where I want to be 10 years from now, and luckily I hate to say it, I'm glad they made that decision.
(Inaudible.) I think it brought them together. We have a team that really likes each other. I mean, I don't know if I've ever been on a team that likes each other as much as this team does. Whenever one of them has adversity, they rally to him, and I think it brought us - I think it even brought us tighter together because they rallied and supported, and then they saw how Jameis was very mature and didn't let his individual situation override all the team goals, that he still carried his responsibility to them, which I thought was very mature on both parts, and I think it made us grow as a team.
(Inaudible.) Yeah, the situation and the Fancone anemia, it hit me because we were coming off a great season, a 10 win season my first year, and everything was great and it's all about ball, it made me get back to reality and understand what's truly important, which this is very critical, and the player development and all the things you have as a responsibility, but as a father and as a husband, to me those are the most critical things, and I hope those are examples I can set as a coach that will show these guys life's not fair. Life doesn't care. I don't mean to be rude about that, but life has - throws those things at you control you or you control it.
I love my son more than anything in the world, but I'm not going to let that control me, and I'm going to do everything in my power and our power to save him and other children like him. I believe God gave us a platform, I really do, to speak not just for Ethan but the other kids who don't have this platform and be able to raise money and awareness for these kids. Hopefully being the head coach at Florida State can develop players but then save lives on top of that, I don't think there's a greater calling.
(Inaudible.) This senior class is very special to me. One of the first classes I ever recruited, like I say, the leadership of our team - everybody asks why our team has been so focused and we have a belief how to do reinforce what you believe as a coach it doesn't get anywhere LaMarcus and Telvin and Terrence Brooks and Christian Jones and Stork and Chad Abrams and Kenny Shaw. We have a tremendous group of seniors that every day they come to work and believe in everything we say, and they're fun to coach.
(Inaudible.) Well, again, the destiny I don't believe it. I think you control your own destiny by what you do. I think this is a team that had a chance, was very focused. I felt after spring ball, I felt it in the camp by how they just came to practice every day.
(Inaudible.) Well, it's fun because I believe in balance. I don't believe in being totally spread out, and I don't believe in totally running the football, and I believe in diversity of - you can spread, but I think at times you've got to line up and bloody somebody's nose.
We have players that we recruited to that system, but our players have done a great job. Like you say, if you're a little bit off in the passing game, let's run it. If the running game is not going, you have to have two dimensions in my opinion to truly be a very good offense, and we're blessed. It's extremely blessed.
(Inaudible.) I don't know if he's mellowed. I bet what's happened is he's got a lot of confidence in those guys and what they're doing. As coaches we mellow when guys do things right. We don't mellow when they do things wrong.
(Inaudible.) That Coach Bowden did what Coach Bowden and he's who he is; one of the greatest guys who ever walked the sideline, one of my heroes, tremendous man, tremendous coach. But at the same time I'm not Coach Bowden. I didn't want to be Coach Bowden. I can't be Coach Bowden. The one thing I learned about the sensible coaches I've watched, they're who they are. They have their beliefs in how to do things. They're convicted to them. Whoever it is, even when there's doubters, I believe in things, smart enough to make changes, but they have to be themselves. That's the one thing I've always tried to do is I am going to be Jimbo. Whatever people think that is, I'm not going to try and imitate somebody else because I believe if you're a leader, people don't follow people who are fake, and I think people can realize and look into people's eyes, kids can, definitely, and see if you're not being genuine about how you do things, and I just want to be me.
I haven't thought about - I haven't worried about the results. I've worried about I believe this, this is what I'm going to do, and if we get the results, we get them. If not I'll make changes. I don't try to be Coach Bowden or Coach Saban or be anybody. I just try to be Jimbo.
(Inaudible.) It was tough in that you had to deal with it, but there's one thing my old man always told me: You be honest and you be genuine. They may disagree with you, but - and have a plan. This is the direction we're going, this is how we're going to do it, and by God that's what's going to happen. You go that way and you're honest and genuine, and then to me the consistency and people seeing - because I may say tomato, he may say tomato, I still believe our beliefs, Coach Bowden and I's, are more similar than they are different.
(Inaudible.) Hey, this world eats you up if you're not. The world eats people. You have to have confidence, you have to have belief, and that's where you've got to start, and if you're not, somebody else will have your job.
How are you different? I don't know. I guess that would be more of a question for y'all than it is for me. I think we believe the same things, but I don't know if our personalities - I don't know. I enjoy being around Nick. I like talking to him. I consider him a very good friend. But I think we believe the same, but I don't know - that's a good question. I'll tell you what, ask some of the people that worked with both of us. You'll get a better answer.
(Inaudible.) I think it gave our team and our organization confidence, I really do. I think that championship last year was very critical, and I think because until you win a championship, even if it's a Conference Championship, kids feel different, and they did afterwards. They told me, Coach, I understand now. There's a pride about them and a sense of I want more. They say, if I do this I can have these results.
And I think it was very critical in our development, and I just think I have confidence in our team and our staff. I'm very comfortable that things get done the right way, so it was a - as a boss let intense how I want things done, but the trust factors in players and coaches has grown in my opinion.
(Inaudible.) Because of the consistency with which they're going about their business, and you see it day in and day out. If there's something wrong I'm going to correct it.
(Inaudible.) Well, I really believe this: This game is critical, but as our program grows, the result of that game is going to be more important how we play it than the result of it. If we play it right, the result will be good. I think it's critical how you handle these situations. This is another moment for us to step up, and I truly believe our program is on the rise. I think we're hitting things at full stride right now. I'm very comfortable where we're at. I'm not saying I don't want to win, but I don't know if the outcome of that game Monday is going to deter anything that's going on in our organization, I really don't. I don't say that because we definitely want to win, but I think we've hit things and we know how we want to do things, and I think the sky's the limit from here on out.
(Inaudible.) I don't believe in destiny. Destiny is by the decisions of the things you do on a day to day basis. You change your destiny by the decisions you make each day. We're going to play our game, Auburn will play their game. We'll see what happens.
(Inaudible.) No, it doesn't at all. We're going to play our game. The scoreboard doesn't matter to us. It's about playing well. We're not got to worry about the scoreboard. We're going to play each play and go about our business.
(Inaudible.) No doubt we practice two minute against our defense every week. We practice those situations every week.
(Inaudible.) Well, I think as a head coach you always need to have a direct line into your quarterback, and I think it does. And even if he wasn't directly involved with the offense, I'd still be very involved with the quarterback and the leaders of the defense. I think as a head coach you still have to be with the core leadership of your team, you have to be very tied into, and I am not just with him but other players on our football team.
(Inaudible.) Recruited him, coached him, gave him his first college job. He was a GA for us at LSU, hired him back at FSU, tremendous guy, tremendous coach, has a great future in the business. He was a tremendous player to coach, very competitive, excellent, big time player.
(Inaudible.) He was critical. He did a great job recruiting as our whole staff did. We had a whole staff of good recruiters and do right now. But he is a very good recruiter.
(Inaudible.) I think he's just genuine and he works hard. He's a smart guy. He works very hard, and he's diligent and he's honest with what he does.
(Inaudible.) No, well, I haven't talked to him as much because he's working. We just don't get time to talk. But no, I still feel the same way about Damian.
(Inaudible.) Hopefully we learn from our mistakes, things we do good and bad each year so we can repeat good things and correct bad things. Hopefully I have. Not just knowledge of the game but how you handle people, how you handle an organization, how you handle where you want your organization to go and be able to plan for the future better, all those things hopefully I've gotten better at.
(Inaudible.) Well, that was a critical - I loved the way we handled - we were down 17 3, and our guys never blinked, came right back. But that was a critical point. But I've felt good about this team the whole year, I really have, even from camp. But I think being on the road there, I think that was a very critical time for us and how we handled that.
(Inaudible.) Oh, I mean, they can still rush the passer, Ford and Gilbert up front, their linebackers can run, Chris Davis and those guys can run in the secondary, they can cover, Ellis Johnson is a heck of a coach. They're a very good football team, and they rotate a lot of guys up front. They only give up 24 points a game.
(Inaudible.) Well, I think you control your own destiny by the decisions you make each day. I didn't believe God put us on here and said this is your destiny. I think God gives you opportunities and by the decisions you make and how you go about your life, that is your destiny. I think you control your own destiny by the decisions you make daily.
(Inaudible.) Well, we had the bluegrass miracle when I was at LSU, and you know something, we practiced that every week. We practiced one from the 50, we practiced one from all the way back. We practiced for that moment, and two guys, which it happened in practice on that play, Michael Clayton wasn't supposed to be the tip guy. We got displaced, Michael took his place, Everett went behind, but that had happened in practice believe it or not. You have to have a little luck to go that way, but it's something we had practiced, and I believe you control that.
(Inaudible.) Yes, we did two or three times. We had a couple tips, the other guys.
(Inaudible.) No respect in what
(Inaudible.) I think you always play for respect. I think any time you line up and lace your shoes up you always play for respect because the score is 0 0. Every day the score is 0 0. If you quit playing for respect, to me you quit playing. That's what you play for every day, and to me that's what I talk about by the intensity you play with, the execution, the preparation, the development, all those things to me are about playing for respect, and I think it's all about playing for respect.
(Inaudible.) I mean, that's just the way it is. The media is going to turn things, and we can't worry about it. We've got to control what we can control, and that's how we play.
(Inaudible.) When we played Clemson this year or you mean the game yesterday?
(Inaudible.) Oh, this year's game that we played? Well, we can handle - what I was proud of because it was game day, you had all the, I call, clutter. You had tons of media, everybody in the country was there, and they were able to handle the moment, and by doing it, they weren't worried about the moment, they were worried about the game, and I thought to me showed me the sign of guys that can handle clutter, and that's a very mature team. They were focused on one thing, playing the game. Not worrying about what people thought, what was written, what anything else was. And to me when you can do that that's when you can handle the moments like you're in right now.
(Inaudible.) No doubt, no doubt, and handle each situation differently depending on what the circumstances are.
(Inaudible.) I mean, we had a couple of those at LSU at times. We played on the road pretty well at Alabama one time, we played well up there, had some games in the SEC Championship games and things, but I don't know if any of those teams took it like we did that night. That night from all three phases we were a totally dominant football team and were very physical at the same time. We were physical and skilled at the same time.
(Inaudible.) Oh, it was very critical for him to come back because he's such a leader and he's such a - he affects the guys every day by how he goes about how he practices, how he does things. It was tremendous getting him back.
(Inaudible.) I mean, that's why we signed him early. People ask me why you got two kickers on scholarship. I thought he was that good, and I wanted him to watch Dustin for a year of how to prepare mentally, and Roberto is -- to say a guy goes out, you think he may have a few bumps along the road, but I don't say it didn't surprise me, but it didn't shock me, either.
(Inaudible.) I think he's very knowledgeable. Players like him. He's very organized, has a plan. And I don't know Gus - I've never been around him coaching but he's been successful in all the stages, and he has confidence in what he does.
(Inaudible.) Oh, yeah. To me it's a tremendous coaching job. It's a great league, and they were able to get - what they did, they were able to win a couple key games early and be - we did that one time when we were at Auburn, my first year there, and Terry Bowden's year, we went undefeated in '93, went 11 0, and they were 5 6 the year before, and what was key that year I think for them, they won a couple games early in the year like the A & M game and some games that gave them some confidence, and once a team gets confidence, then it can take off.
(Inaudible.) Well, they can get the ball to the edges. They can be physical inside, and then the quarterback can create plays with his legs. So you have three guys that can run the football.
(Inaudible.) I don't know. I mean, it shows that you can be great, but I don't know why those situations happen. I haven't been there since '98. But they obviously can get to the top, though.
(Inaudible.) The fans are very excited, very happy, which always goes with it. But I'm happy for the fans so they can be proud of what we're accomplishing and they can have a sense of pride and wear that Florida State jersey or hat and feel that we have one of the best programs in the country. I'm very happy for our fans and our players that they can walk around with a lot of pride.
(Inaudible.) No, I don't ever reflect on a season until it's over with, and I don't want to reflect on it because it creates clutter in your mind. I just want to focus on the game, and we'll reflect on that what we're done. But we've had a very good season, that's for sure.
(Inaudible.) Well, I think you've been here, you've been through it. You have no expectations how to deal with this kind of thing. I think every time you're in a situation you can grow from it, and experience is always good.
(Inaudible.) Yes, I did. I thought we could be here, and I expected us to be here and be in this situation or be competing for this situation. Whether that happened, the ball has got to bounce right occasionally and things like that, but if you have a plan and you're organized and you believe in it, and I thought we had a great University to be able to do that.
(Inaudible.) I think the consistency of our leadership, about how we prepared and practiced, and our leadership really never faltered. If anything started to go, they would jump on it and address the problems quickly. It was a true genuineness about this team that it really loves each other and it plays for each other.
(Inaudible.) I truly do. I mean, compared to what he's handled this year and all the adversity, he has an amazing ability to compartmentalize things and process things that I haven't been around for a guy that age for sure.
(Inaudible.) He does. He expects to be here, and he's happy to be here, and he believes he should be here, but at the same time he's not arrogant about it.
(Inaudible.) Well, I mean, Bobby built Florida State. Florida State had won no games. He came in, Bobby built the brand name of Florida State, and to me Florida State is one of the best brands there is in the country. To be an icon like he was, the class with which he did it with, that's why he's one of the all time - if he's not the all time greatest coach he's one of the few you can argue about, and he's had a tremendous impact on me, also.
(Inaudible.) He hasn't come around for two or three years, and it's funny, he said that to me back when I was a young coach in the late '80s, early '90s, because it happened to him when he was a coach. He said, whoever my coach is, I was a GA so I wasn't planning on being the guy, that whoever the next guy when he retired, he was going to get away for a couple years because he never thought it was right because they always look over your shoulder and say this guy didn't do it this way, this guy didn't do it that way, and he saw with Terry at Auburn how that happened, and I think no matter who it was he always had a plan to do that a long time ago. To me it talks about his character and who he is.
(Inaudible.) No, I expected our program in time to be here. I knew what we could build. I thought we had an opportunity to be here, and we truly, with our goals and where we wanted to go, we felt like we belonged here and we were going to eventually get here.
(Inaudible.) I felt very comfortable right after spring ball. I felt this team had a chance to be a very good football team.
Now, how it took the summer and camp I was anxious to see, but this is a very unique group how it practiced and how it did things.
(Inaudible.) You know, you say that and I'll remind these guys, this group is unbelievable about how it comes for business for a situation. When it's time to work, it works. When it's time to relax, it relaxes, but it is unbelievable about the leadership of this team, and it really hasn't been hard at all. We've had tremendous practices, tremendous meetings.
(Inaudible.) Yes, it is. It's very unique. Like I said, I don't know if I've ever been around a team that truly likes each other this much. It loves each other. It plays for - these guys really, really like each other. They hang out together. They're together all the time.
(Inaudible). No, I'm ready to go. I definitely don't want another week. I'm ready to go.
(Inaudible.) Yeah, I mean, I would have been very happy to play right after the ACC Championship, I really would have. I thought we were playing very well.
(Inaudible.) Well, I don't know if it'll be longer because you play by Christmas. Don't you play the first week and then the second one would be two games?
I'll tell you what I hope, though. What scares me about everything that goes on is we don't de emphasize the bowl - when I was a kid, if you played in the Sugar Bowl or the Orange Bowl or the Rose Bowl or the Cotton Bowl, that was a big deal. I just hope we don't destroy our bowl system. By selling out crowds, I understand how hard it is just to get to an Orange Bowl or a Sugar Bowl even if you're not in this game here. Those are tremendous accomplishments, and I hope we don't taint that for college football because to me that takes the memories I have away. I think it's very critical for the bowls to stay. If we do, we're going to keep tearing the bowls down, and I think that's one of the unique things we have about college football.
(Inaudible.) He walks well because he prepares. I think when you get too confident, what you start to see is your day to day habits change. We always tell our guys, your day to day is what you make decisions off of, and when they start to change how you prepare, how you work out, your mental preparation, I think when you see those change then you start to worry. Those haven't changed. I'm telling you, it's been amazing. It's actually made him more so.
(Inaudible.) I don't say harder but he's trying to make an emphasis that this isn't going to change me. That's been the thing, so that's why I don't worry about it.
(Inaudible.) Oh, yeah, they do. Our old players come back and the history on the walls, they know why they walked in there. They remember that. They don't remember it to the extent because they were young, all of it, but they remember how good the times were and they embrace their history and the expectations that come with it.
(Inaudible.) No doubt, and we have to learn to handle these moments because we plan on being here a bunch, and we've got to learn to do that.
(Inaudible.) Well, I think it would be great for our league, and I think showing people what I've been saying and what we've been saying the whole time, the ACC is a great conference, and to take nothing away from the SEC but there's other folks that are pretty good, too, like Oklahoma and other programs. I think it's good for college football. I think it would be very critical, and I was very happy for Clemson and Dabo and them last night to win that football game.
(Inaudible.) Good. I text with Jeff, I sent him a text when it happened, and he sent me a long one back and he talked with Odell, and they seem to be doing well. It's unbelievable. I can't imagine. I remember when TJ was born and I was at Stanford, we were coaching together. Jeff coached me. He was my coach, and we coached together. Jeff is a great guy, and my heart goes out to him, and like I say, God bless him.
(Inaudible.) Yeah, we are, exactly right. I've always had a great relationship with them. I can't imagine.
(Inaudible.) Well, they're good at it. One, they can block, they're physical, they've got good backs, they've got good players. They get the ball to the edge, they run it inside, and then the quarterback can run it, so you have three guys. The term is like the old triple option, where you flanked it, pitched it, ran it. It's not that. It's in a form, but they create the big plays down the field with coaching those guys at times, too, so they get the ball to all - they spread the field. They make you cover the whole field, whether you throw it or run it. That's the key, that you make people defend the whole field.
(Inaudible.) Oh, yeah, it is. As a matter of fact I just sent him to a bunch of our games and a bunch of Auburn's games so he stays involved in it all the time. We're constantly talking ball all the time about that. He'll call me and say, hey, you ain't doing this well, you ain't doing this well, send him films. He watches games, and I always like to get his perspective because he knows how I think after games and he watches them all from a perspective sometimes, even far from a TV or something.
(Inaudible.) A bunch, two or three times a week we'll talk. I'm very close with my brother.
(Inaudible.) I think the diversity which we're able to create, being able to pressure the quarterback, being much more different in the secondary, be able to change looks, be able to change coverages, be able to change fronts, how to adjust personnel groups and be much more multiple which I think creates problems for offenses and I think that's one of the keys that they've been able to bring, which I wanted in our defense.
(Inaudible.) Yes, I did. We created a tremendous amount of turnovers, scored off of them, won the field position battles, and at the same time were still getting three and outs, weren't gambling, still creating three and outs and being sound as we did it.