JIMBO FISHER: Very excited to come back for the championship game up in Charlotte. It's a great venue, great city. You know, our goal always is to reach that game, because to get to your ultimate goal, you have to win your Atlantic and then get to that game. We're playing a great team in Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech had a tremendous year. They're really hot right now, playing great football on offense, defense, special teams, all the phases. Great win against Georgia coming into the game. Paul is a heck of a football coach. He always has been. They can move the ball, they run it, cause you a lot of problems with the option, the dive game, the quarterback game, and now they're throwing the ball very well. Defensively, fly around the ball, very aggressive, blitz packages, play multiple coverages, Ted and those guys do a great job, so it's going to be a great game, looking forward to it, it's a great opportunity for our program, and we're very appreciative to be there.
Q. Jimbo, you guys have obviously had some great comebacks this season. The flipside, though, is that you've had some slow starts. What do you think has caused them, and what have you guys tried to do to start a little bit faster?
JIMBO FISHER: Nothing. That's who we are and how we play. We'll play the way we play. You know, we've had some -- a game is a 60-minute game, and some of the games we've started fast and some of the games we haven't started as fast. We'll keep doing the things that we do, try to play 60 minutes as hard as we can, and adjust to the game.
Q. Is the message we've been here before, you guys have come back? Is that the message or do you know how you do it because they've done it?
JIMBO FISHER: They just keep playing. They play for 60 minutes. I know the game is long. I think there's a confidence in them that they've been there and they feel very confident in their ability to execute in key situations. But there's not a lot really said. They just play.
Q. Facing Georgia Tech, you haven't faced them since 2012. What do you do to get ready for that offense?
JIMBO FISHER: Well, I mean, you have to -- it's a whole different perspective how you've got to defend their offensive attack. They do a great job, like I say, and they also throw the ball very well. It's going to have to be a complete game plan and overhaul as far as different things you do. Everybody has a certain way to play that. Charlie has -- Coach Kelly has a great appreciation for it after coaching at Georgia Tech for a while, because he's seen it. But that still doesn't get you prepared for it, you've still got to go in and make the adjustments for it. You have your plan, you know what you do, we work on those things in the off-season when you have to play teams like that, and then you try to implement based off what they do.
Q. And talk about Winston; does he get himself too fired up before a game?
JIMBO FISHER: No, not actually. He's usually not a really rah-rah guy. He plays the same even keel all the way through.
Q. Is it different preparing for a team now that the regular season is over, you've gone perfect through the season? Is it different preparing for a team in the postseason, especially with a Georgia Tech team that came off a huge win against Georgia?
JIMBO FISHER: No, it's not, because it's a one-week game. This is like another regular-season game as far as the time frame now. Now if it's a bowl game, it's different because you have a lot more time and film and time to break things down even more complete and really study and maybe put a few wrinkles in and do the things you do. You'll have your few wrinkles here, but this is more like a regular-game routine.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Winston's ability to put away mistakes in a game and still be clutch in key situations in a game?
JIMBO FISHER: He does. I mean, to me these guys are truly confident in their abilities. A lot of guys are confident but sometimes you can shake confidence when they don't play as well, but the guys have true confidence, go back to the basics and keep playing, and I think Jameis true confidence in him. He doesn't have an arrogance but he has a confidence and he knows if I just go back and stay in my fundamentals and very few guys have that true ability, and he's one of them, and we're fortunate to have him.
Q. Has he expressed any desire about coming back next season, or are you waiting until the off-season to discuss that?
JIMBO FISHER: We haven't even mentioned that. We're trying to get through the season, and we'll worry about that later on.
Q. They've got a lot of production out of their B-back spot with a Laskey and Days this season. I don't know how much you've studied yet, but what have those two guys been able to do to make that position more effective for them this year?
JIMBO FISHER: They're very effective runners. You have to hit them very square. They break a lot of tackles. They're very physical, but then they're athletic and they have good speed once they get out, they're elusive, and they do a really good job up front. Those guys are really good football players. Like I say, the start of all those good -- the option teams, you've got to be able to stop the dive first, and those guys -- and Paul is willing to keep taking it and taking it, and they're very effective with it.
Q. What did you take away from the ACC's performance against the SEC yesterday?
JIMBO FISHER: I was very proud of the ACC, I really was. I mean, 4-0 and everybody won their games and did the things that they had to do and I think it's a true mark. We keep saying all the time, the ACC is a heck of a football league, and week in and week out, a lot of the top defenses in the country are through us, the offenses, there's a lot of great players. You look at it every year, this league has the second-most players drafted. But then to go out there and actually win it on the field in the cross-rivalry -- cross-league play was tremendous, and hopefully gives us a little more respect for what we're doing.
Q. Does it get a little tiresome to hear the SEC talk?
JIMBO FISHER: No, you don't listen to it. The coaches say what they want, you know what you know, and you go about your business.
Q. After the game you said both Allen and the defense -- did yesterday's game show off this team's versatility and how you guys can win?
JIMBO FISHER: It really does. That's a great point, because Jameis usually does it. They guy has always got it on his back and bringing us back, with the other players around him functioning, but we did it with a running game, we did it with great defense, and it is a great point that there is a lot of other parts of this team that are very, very good, and when they have to be used, they can be used. That's exactly right.
Q. And a follow-up, you also mentioned you're very proud of how the linebackers played yesterday.
JIMBO FISHER: Yes.
Q. Has this been a steady growth over the course of the year, or is it maybe Matthew Thomas coming up?
JIMBO FISHER: Well, I think that game there was one of the best games by far they played because they came downhill more physical, took blockers off defensive linemen, allowed them to make plays and then shot through gaps. Some of this was Matthew, but Terrance and Reggie did a tremendous job of doing their job.
Q. As you started your head coaching journey, with news today about UAB going to pretty much shut down their program, what are your thoughts on their program shutting down?
JIMBO FISHER: You know, it's the same because they did a heck of a job. I just heard about it just a few minutes ago. I had no idea and it was a shocker and it was a shame because they did a tremendous this job, they got bowl eligible, won their sixth game, the coach has done a heck of a job turning them around from where they were a year ago. It's a shame because Alabama has such a great, rich tradition in football and Birmingham being the king of the South years ago in football, not to have it in there, you've got it in Tuscaloosa and Auburn we understand that, but it is sad because UAB plays a big role in the Birmingham community. It was very sad. I hate to see any program do that.
Q. I think 14 of Winston's 17 interceptions have come in the first half. What is the difference you've seen in just the way he's played in the first half and executed in the first half as compared to the second half?
JIMBO FISHER: Sometimes it's him, sometimes it's guys around him. I think guys getting in the game. At times we've just been out of sync at different times, but he's played well. Boston College game he played really well the first half. It can be a lot of things. His interceptions came from his poor decisions, came from dropped balls, came from a route not being where it's supposed to be or a blitz not being picked up. I don't think there's any one thing that you can say.
Q. Does it work the other way, too, him throwing a lot less interceptions in the second half and your team being able to play a lot better and really --
JIMBO FISHER: Yes, I think that's a great point. The overall execution of everybody around him, there's no doubt, and his execution. I agree with you 100 percent. FastScripts by