During Jimbo Fisher’s postgame press conference, one sentence probably captured the story of the day better than any other. "What a difference a year makes," Fisher said, speaking about the nightmare that was the Wake Forest game last season for his team, and specifically for Chris Thompson. "I was sitting there watching him in the hospital last year and he’s actually consoling me, not knowing what his future was, saying ‘Coach, I’ll be back.’ It’s amazing." The 52-0 blowout was certainly a far cry from the devastating loss to Wake Forest a year ago.
Thompson’s career day against the team that literally broke his back a year ago was the story that captured the most attention, but the whole team performed well, and Fisher seemed pretty pleased with the day they had. "We still have a lot of things we have to clean up but I’m very proud of the progress that we’re making," Fisher said. "We’re heading in the right direction and we have to get ready to play a very good Clemson team next week."
Fisher noted some frustration with mistakes in the passing game, notably some drops, but otherwise said he was happy about the offense’s play. Despite some leaky pass protection Saturday, he also expressed optimism about the offensive line. "That is true [that they struggled in pass protection] at times, but it wasn’t them a couple times, we had some backs miss some blocks," Fisher said. "But I’m very proud of them. They’re head and shoulders above where they were. Are we where we wanna be? No. But we’re making a lot of progress."
More from Fisher and Notes and Quotes after the jump.
As far as the big plays the Seminoles churned out on the ground, Fisher was pleased with the blocking downfield that the backs received in addition to good push up front. "The line gets you five, then after that you’ve got to be able to block down field," Fisher said. "We’re big, athletic and physical, and we need to be blocking like that all the time. That’s what good football teams do."
Florida State’s kick coverage Saturday was absolutely suffocating as the Seminoles continued to take advantage of the new kickoff rule with Dustin Hopkins focusing on hangtime on the kickoffs to give the coverage a big head start. Fisher spoke about the advantage it’s given his team so far this season.
"I thought about it last spring, [speaking to when he decided to try to use the new rule to the team’s advantage] we debated and we had some arguments about it but I hate to give something up that easy," Fisher said. "And when you have a kicker as talented as Dustin is to be able to adjust those kicks and do what he’s doing, and then be athletic like we are to able to cover… why do I have to give that up?"
"If you a hold a team inside the 10 and stop em, you score I don’t know, 80 percent or something, it’s a crazy ratio," Fisher continued. "When you keep them inside the 20 and they punt, you still score at a 60-70% ratio. So for us to do that and have that kind of coverage and a defense that can stop people, it’s points."
Daniel Glauser ended up getting the start at right tackle over Menelik Watson, but Fisher clarified that it wasn’t a health-based decision. "Menelik was ready to play but Daniel got more of the practice all week and that 3-4 defense is different," Fisher said. "We had some nuances and things we did differently, some calls and some reads, that you could say you could watch it and do it but you got to do it two or three times in a day and a bunch of times to really get good at it."
Notes and Quotes:
-FSU is now 3-0 for the first time since 2005
-The 52 points the Seminoles racked up also marked the first time in school history that Florida State has scored 50+ points in each of its first three games.
"I just wanted to look into his eyes and tell how much I cared for him. He's a special guy and I'm just so happy for him."-Fisher, on seeing Thompson break out for his first big touchdown run of the day.
“Again, you can sustain an injury. That’s what a program does. A team can’t do that.”-Fisher, on being able to replace Watson in the starting lineup with Glauser.
"That’s what I was ready for. Those first two games you play a quarter or two, and then the young guys get in which is good for them so they can get that experience, but I was just ready to turn it loose. The whole defense, the whole team we were like "we’re ready to go".- Timmy Jernigan, on the defense’s eagerness to face a better opponent this week
-Tank Carradine, who had a big day with 2.5 sacks, said the defense did indeed want to pitch the shutout. "Yeah, we didn’t want them to score at all," Carradine said. "We were not trying to give them anything." Jernigan echoed that as well, adding, "That’s what you pride yourself on on defense, shutouts and playing as a team."
"Make more tackles. Wrap up our opponents. They were breaking tackles, that’s what we need to work on."-Xavier Rhodes, on what the defense needs to focus on improving this week with Clemson looming.
"It’s just a great weapon because the guys we have on our team are so fast, and if I got anything close to a 4.0 hangtime, they’re gonna be getting them around the 15, the 18, right around there, so it’s a huge field position thing."-Dustin Hopkins, speaking about the lethal strategy FSU has executed on kickoffs so far in 2012.
-For those keeping score at home, Florida State has outscored its opponents 176-3 so far in 2012.
"Everybody talks about speed, but Im gonna tell you something else-size and speed. Speed is great, but if you have speed without size, it can be negated too. Or if you have size without speed, you gotta have both, and that’s why we try to recruit.”-Jimbo Fisher, on how much team speed factored into Saturday's game.
-How dominant was the Florida State defense Saturday? Of 59 total plays run by Wake Forest, less than half (27) went for positive yardage. 11 went for negative yardage, while 21 netted no gain. (This one courtesy of the main man, Bud Elliott.)