On Wednesday, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher and UL coach Bobby Petrino answered questions during the weekly ACC Coaches Teleconference. Many of the questions were about their impending match up this weekend and how they are preparing for the game. This included questions about key players like Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and FSU defensive end DeMarcus Walker.
Stopping Jackson (Fisher)
The key to a Florida State victory is stopping Jackson. “The defensive line needs to be great at containing Jackson and controlling the gaps.” But the team should not focus on Jackson alone. Since their 2015 rout of the Cardinals, Jackson has become a “better passer and is more poised in the pocket. The secondary still needs to play hard.”
Jackson’s Improvement (Petrino)
Petrino has been very proud of Jackson this season. He is responsible for 13 touchdowns in two games. “He worked on is footwork and accuracy... since the bowl game.” Petrino believe that this work ethic has “rubbed off on some of the other guys.”
How difficult is it playing at Louisville (Fisher)
The Seminoles last played Louisville at home in 2014. Jameis Winston led FSU back from a 21-0 towards the end of the first half to win. Fisher believe that these teams are highly talented, just like the 2014 teams. “Hopefully, we won’t be down as much as that game.” A noon kickoff should make the crowd less of a factor than the previous Thursday night kickoff.
Personality of Walker (Fisher)
Walker has been the difference maker on the defensive line this season. He had 4.5 sacks in the second half of the Ole Miss game. “Walker has a passion for this game. He’s always smiling when he’s on the field.” Walker lives for football and “want’s to be great.” When Walker gets into the flow of the game, he shines.
Plan for Walker? (Petrino)
The Cardinals know Walker and know he plays very well in big games. “He has lots of skills with quickness off the ball and great hands.” Petrino knows that the coaches like to move Walker around on the defensive line. “We have to know where he is and get our guys some help there.”
What has Travis Rudolph given the team this year? (Fisher)
Since sitting down with young Bo Paske for lunch, Rudolph has been on everyone’s mind. Paske is an autistic sixth grader who was sitting alone at lunch before Rudolph joined him. “He grew on the field because of his maturity off the field.” Rudolph has become a leader on offense because his “work ethic affects the other players.” Rudolph has 13 catches for 179 yards and three scores so far this season.
Freshman Special Teamers? (Fisher)
Fisher was asked what his impression was of the freshman special team players: Ricky Aguayo and Logan Tyler. “Aguayo is killing it and is doing his job.” Aguayo is kicking 100% on field goals and PATs. Logan Tyler is averaging 45 yards per punt and is “constantly kicking the ball out of the endzone on kickoffs.” It is safe to say that Fisher is comfortable leaving the freshman where they are now.
Loss of Derwin James Jr. affect game plan? (Petrino)
Petrino began with saying he “hopes [James Jr.] gets better soon,” but it does not change the fact that the Florida State secondary will “still be a challenge.” He notes that FSU likes to shift their defensive backs around at every position. “They have a lot of depth in that secondary... and we need to look at the schemes and anticipate them.”