COACH FISHER: Looking forward to getting back on the field this week. Have come out, practiced really well after a disappointing performance against Louisville. Louisville played a great game, did a great job. We have to get better in all of our areas. We're going to have to do it quickly because South Florida is a very good football team. This team is undefeated. Since our game last year, I belive have lost only two football games. We played them the third game of the year. Done a great job. Went to a bowl game. Very dynamic this year. Averaging over 50 points. Quarterback is very dynamic. Play-makers everywhere around. Defensively, very good, strong front. Linebackers active in the secondary, very athletic. Special teams are very sound in everything they do, have play-makers with the ball.
Have a very dynamic game this week. We'll have to play extremely well. We need to practice well this week. We've gotten back, we've been pretty good. Look forward to playing Saturday and finish out this week of practice.
Q. It seems like with this team, road games and neutral site games have kind of been a problem. What do you think it's been about these games that has been a struggle compared to home games it doesn't seem like it's much of a problem for you and your team? COACH FISHER: First two out of three this year have been opponents. We played a very good Ole Miss team and a really, really good Louisville team. I think that had a lot to do with it.
Anytime at home, you always feel more comfortable. You have to get used to doing that. We have a lot of young players in some key positions that have to do that. That's part of growing up.
I think the opponents have as much to do with it. Hopefully we won't start slow this week. We have another really, really good opponent to play on the road this week.
Q. With punt coverage last week, was it the punter, coverage team, or a combination? What do you have to do to get cleaned up in that area? COACH FISHER: The punt return for a touchdown, we kicked the ball on the wrong side of the field. Directional punt, kicked the ball on the completely wrong side of the field, got us out of our lane. We have to try to recognize that quicker when the ball is kicked. We hadn't done that all year. They got us out of place. The guy had a really good return.
The second one we had perfectly hemmed up. We have to be more aggressive at the ball. We had five guys perfectly fitted around him, had him in a vice. One of our guys needed to be a little bit wider to put him on his inside shoulder instead of his outside shoulder.
When we went to go het him, one of our outside guys did what I call stuck his nose in the honey. Jumped inside. Looked like he was going to make a tackle. Didn't need to. Needed to stay outside, and the guy got the edge, where the other four guys couldn't do their job. That was just a tactical error, something we work on all the time. It was just very disappointing.
The other one, just kicked the ball on the wrong side of the field and got everybody outside their lanes.
Q. On Matthew Thomas, he's leading the team in tackles right now. Was there a point last year or maybe during the spring when you sensed he was a different person and was really buying into things now? COACH FISHER: Yeah, Matthew was never a guy who was totally defined. He just always had little things that always caught him. He was never a disrespectful young man or anything ever. Was always a super guy. Didn't always make enough of the right choices at times to get himself in trouble. I know that sounds crazy, but it's the truth.
You knew there was a lot of good in him. I think he just started maturing and understanding the importance and urgency of it. He's really turned into a really good player for us, but more importantly becoming a very good leader. Very vocal, very sound, just becoming overall a really, really good guy.
Q. Anything in particular you've been kind of working on with your secondary this week that you want them to improve upon? COACH FISHER: I mean, a little bit of everything. We got to tackle in space, trigger on runs. These guys do a lot of the same things in the running game, with the quarterback. When you're the fitter, or you're in support, or back in centerfield, on your rotations, things like that, making sure you're communicating all those things with verbal commands and hand sign commands, both way. Making sure your communication is on top of everything.
Q. Did that game last week kind of expose anything that you had though was not a concern that you now think is a concern? COACH FISHER: I think it's always been a concern. We have known we have a lot of work to do. At the same time I think how good they were, how they executed definitely did. Some of those things came from in the secondary, but some of those things came up front, we got out of gaps, too. We have to stay disciplined all the way through.
Q. Willie Taggart is really building a solid program in Tampa. What is the one thing that stands out for you when you pop in that tape? COACH FISHER: How hard they play, how physical they are, how well-coached and how disciplined they are. They do a great job of being where they are supposed to be, using their hands, using their shoulders, just making plays. You could see they're a well-coached team that's buying into everything Coach Taggart is doing. He's done a heck of a job.
Q. You mentioned in the opening how good the USF offense is. What are they better at now than what you saw when you faced them last year? COACH FISHER: I think they understand the scheme more. Guys have been in it, playing more, more consistency. They're being really consistent in how they're executing. They're creating plays down the field throwing the football. They do a great job running it. Multiple formations, whether they are unbalanced. All the different things they do. I think they're more comfortable executing overall in general what they've done just from repetition, experience, keep doing the same things.
Q. Just wondering how you've seen the team respond after the loss during practice this week. COACH FISHER: They've been good. Monday was a solid day. Tuesday was a really good day. Energy was back up. They practiced hard and played pretty well. Hopefully we'll have another great day. Today is third down day, red zone day, review of yesterday. Those are all very critical areas in what we're doing.
Kicking game, our guys have been kicking the ball where they need to and doing that. They seemed at practice to work pretty well.
Q. Did you have to say anything, talk to Deondre about not getting down, putting that game behind him as a young guy having to go through something he hadn't yet in his career there? COACH FISHER: Yes, I have. With the other guys, too. The whole team in general. Young guys, how quick things can happen. If you don't do the right things, yes. But also that sometimes, you know, you can do the right things and you don't get rewarded like that. It's just part of it. You have to move on. You have to process. You can't let one become two. It's all part of the growing process.
Like I say, it hurts all of them because they care so much. Not that you can't care too much. You have to learn how to deal with that where you just have to move on. That's a great point. And we have.
Q. You're running into a very similar offense that you faced Saturday. Maybe not as dynamic a quarterback, but Flowers has his offense rolling. Are you expecting a high-scoring game? COACH FISHER: I don't know what to expect. Hopefully we'll go in and play well on defense, play well on offense. I'm sure they're thinking the same thing.
I'm don't expect anything. But I expect an extremely competitive game, both ways. They are definitely scoring a lot of points, are very competitive, are doing a great job.
We're going to have our hands full, there's no doubt.
Q. I know this is an away game on your schedule, but there will be a lot of Seminole fans at Tampa. How important will that be for you? COACH FISHER: I think it will be critical. I hope so. I hope we see a lot of our fans down there, I really do. Looking forward to that. When you're on the road, you want as many people with you as you possibly can. There's no doubt about that.
Q. What did you think of the defensive talent of Louisville, the speed they had, maybe their ability to set the edge a little bit, limit Dalvin in some ways? COACH FISHER: No, they did. They did limit us in all kinds of ways. They did a great job up front. Their run defense was very sound. Guys are physical, hold the point. The edge guys can rush. Very dynamic. The linebackers, again, we knew with Kelsey, Clements played safety and forth. We knew Josh, knew him in high school, tried to recruit him. He's a great player. Kelsey we knew of, very good player. Secondary guys can cover. They play very hard, very well-coached.
Todd is a really good football coach, too. I've known him for a long time. Well-respected. Todd did a great job, did a great job against us. They're have talent, are coached well and are playing well.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks for being with us.
COACH FISHER: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports