The result? An FSU come-from-behind victory to move to 7-0 (5-0 ACC) for the first time in eight years and remain undefeated all-time against Duke.
Head coach Mike Norvell, defensive end Pat Payton, wide receiver Deuce Spann, quarterback Jordan Travis, defensive back Shyeim Brown, defensive tackle Fabien Lovett, defensive tackle Braden Fiske and tight end Jaheim Bell met with the media following the win to talk what led to the Seminoles’ overcoming the Blue Devils’ upset bid.
Watch the full interviews below, with a transcript for each available.
Head coach Mike Norvell
MIKE NORVELL: First off, what a night. What a night. So proud of our football team. Their response, everything that we do and train for and how we go to work, it’s for that moment, for that game, for that stage. They showed up, showed incredible heart. They fought back. Great second half. A lot of credit to Duke. They battled throughout. It’s a really good football team, and it’s one that — it was what I expected it to be.
I was just really proud of our entire team and just the mindset they brought. The way they encouraged each other throughout was special. We had big momentum swings, great plays, some disappointing plays that we have to be better at, but as a whole, like I said, that’s why we train the way we train.
Want to definitely shout out our fan base. There’s no words that can really do justice for how much I just appreciate them and the impact that they’ve made. The last three games, you play three straight home games and every one of them is a sellout. Every one has been an incredible atmosphere.
Tonight was special, though. There’s nothing like Doak Campbell at night. To see the energy, to see our guys and how they battled throughout, really fed off that. It was remarkable.
Obviously today being a game to celebrate our Seminole heritage, it was a wonderful experience. Getting a chance to see the council members from the Seminole tribe of Florida, being here, being celebrated, it’s a special relationship that we have. I’m glad they got to see a game or our team got to put on display an unconquered spirit.
That’s how they played.
They had a lot of confidence in what would happen, in what would occur, but it wasn’t perfect, and it really doesn’t need to be. These guys, they really fuel off those moments where they’ve got to rise up and put on display their identity.
Proud of them. Proud of just every person a part of this program, and continue to work and taking a positive step forward because that was a big one for us tonight.
Q. The 4th down stop when they’re up 20-17, you get the stop at the 5-yard line and then you go 95 yards against obviously one of the better defenses in the country. I guess looking back, how important is that moment in this game and maybe even moving forward what that said about the offense?
MIKE NORVELL: It’s huge, and we’ve talked about it throughout these last few weeks. Our defense, even on that drive, they got their back against the wall, and they’ve responded in the red zone all throughout the course of the year.
To be able to get that stop and then seeing the offense really — I think it was a 15-play drive that we took the ball down the field and just the confidence that our guys had, some big plays. Keion’s catch was remarkable. The big runs. Jordan was a threat with both his arm and his legs.
To be able to finish that one off in the end zone was just so impactful. Not just for this game but even moving forward, just to — you grow in confidence through the work. Our guys work at a very high level, and when you have these type of experiences, it just continues to fuel that.
But it took all three phases tonight, and all three made big impacts, and I’m proud of our players.
Q. The performance Jordan had in the second half specifically, both passing and running the ball, can you talk about his efficiency and what he did in the second half that was so effective?
MIKE NORVELL: I mean, he was unbelievable. I told him at the end of it, man, that’s a champion’s heart, and that’s how he works. It’s how he prepares.
I have no doubt about the way that he’s going to show up because we see it throughout every day in practice, just the mentality which he brings.
He had fun out there tonight, and it was really enjoyable seeing him lead this football team. When it got tight, when it got tough, he played his best. To see him really take over in that game was special. I loved seeing him celebrate with his teammates and just the encourager that he is. That was a really cool moment there in the second half.
Q. It seems like he hasn’t needed to run much this season. You guys haven’t used his running ability much. But on that drive when you guys had to have it, did that feel like we’ve got to go to it now?
MIKE NORVELL: Well, obviously we’re going to try to create things throughout the course of the game. That’s a really good defense. They do a great job of fitting all runs. Very, very rarely do you get them off balance, but we did feel like if we needed it, there would be great opportunities to possibly have Jordan help us in the run game. It showed up.
You’ve got to give credit to Duke; they played really hard. Like I said, that defense did not disappoint from what I expected them to be.
But our guys showed up and made big critical plays throughout the second half, and that’s what we needed to win.
Q. Deuce Spann turns in a huge kick return for you guys; response in the moment and also just breaking one in the kick return game?
MIKE NORVELL: I was so happy for Deuce. I was talking to him throughout the course of the week. I felt if we got a chance that — JP did a great job with the scheme and putting together a return that we thought could give us a chance to have a game-changing play. We knew Deuce was ready. He’s been working. He’s been preparing. I was talking to him throughout the week, and even in the pregame, just be ready for this.
When I saw him when he hit the seam and was able to — great job by all guys blocking. They battled through that, but when he hit the seam, I knew nobody was going to catch him. That was the momentum we needed. It was a huge boost to our team.
Deuce actually got to break the rock because it was such a big play in the game that I think really sparked us.
Q. Third straight second half shut-out for your defense. I know the goal line stand felt big for that for sure, but what is it about this unit that they seem to grow into games really well, and what changed for them in the second half?
MIKE NORVELL: Yeah, with every rep they get better, and I think Adam has done a remarkable job, really has, just playing to the strengths of our guys. I thought they were dominant throughout the game. Duke was able to run the ball, got to the edge a few times, we lost contain, didn’t have the edge. I thought Adam did a great job, and our players do a great job.
When you make slight adjustments you re-emphasize and focus on the things that they need to be doing and looking at, and to see that response — basically there was 10 points, we had the missed 4th down where we were able to get an immediate stop and held them to a field goal, and then obviously the pick six there early, but other than that, they held them to 10 points essentially defensively.
You talk about the goal-line — the inside-the-5 stop there at the end on the 4th down, that just shows the confidence with which our guys play, and 11 guys going out there and executing at a very high level.
Q. You guys have scored 80 points in the fourth quarter this season, which obviously is a lot. What is it about this team that allows it to turn it on in the fourth quarter?
MIKE NORVELL: It’s building and getting better. We want to start fast. That’s something that’s important to us. We spend a lot of time on how we come out of the gate, but ultimately we want to finish. We want to finish strong. We want to make sure that we put into everything the game, the adjustments — put your preparation on display. Put your physicality, your toughness.
All the hard work they do in the off-season, Coach Storms and his staff, they do a remarkable job, and you see that in the fourth quarter, and our guys have confidence in it.
Last thing before we left the hotel today, we talked about our identity, and this is going to be a program that’s going to finish, and whether it’s in the classroom, whether it’s on the practice field, whether it’s in the weight room, on the game field, primetime, whatever it needs to be. That’s what we want to be known for. It’s one of the greatest qualities you can ever have as you go through life.
These guys, they embrace that. They’re willing to go through the tough moments so they can have confidence whenever it’s maybe stacked against you or when you need to dig deep and to go put your stamp on a game or whatever you’re going through in life. That’s why I’m so proud of this football team.
Q. With the slow start, was it more your guys just being antsy or was it something Duke was doing schematically that was giving you trouble?
MIKE NORVELL: Well, you’ve got to give credit to them. That’s a good team. I think they were leading the ACC in rushing. That’s a tough offensive line. They do a good job in the schematic part of it. I think Coach Johns put together a really good plan, and there were some times that we missed things. We had a couple of really poor eyes, poor fits that allowed them to get out on the edge.
Offensively we had two 4th downs that we didn’t convert on, and then the turnover. I didn’t feel that it was our guys not — the want-to was there, but it’s just slight execution and being able to finish within drives. They kept playing.
Obviously we got the spark on special teams. Was able to still get in the end zone there offensively, and then once we get to the second half, you saw those guys get rolling.
Q. The tight end room has been very versatile this year. Talk about Jaheim’s performance tonight. He had 10 targets, eight receptions. How much of a role did he play tonight when it came to the passing game?
MIKE NORVELL: You know, sometimes you’ve got to take what teams give you, and as you saw, they were trying to fast buzz everything underneath Keion and Johnny. It was a little bit of a challenge to get those guys into one-on-ones, but it opened up the middle.
Also you presented the tight ends with opportunities that come, Morlock did some good things. Obviously Jaheim had a really good game. I was proud of him in some clutch plays and clutch moments. He’s continued to work at a high level. You see it and feel that within our group of guys playing. There’s a lot of unselfishness that’s taking on. I want every receiver and tight end and running back to want the ball every play. That’s what we desire. But some weeks there’s more, some weeks there’s less. When you play good teams, they’re going to try to work and adapt and adjust to maybe slow down certain guys, but it also provides other guys opportunities.
I thought our tight end room did a really nice job, running backs catching the ball out of the backfield and then still finding a way for Johnny and some of the receivers — obviously Keion, that catch, it was unbelievable. It was another one of those just wow moments in the game.
But I’m proud of our guys. Hykeem had a big 3rd down conversion. It’s fun to see guys going out there and playing at a high level and playing with that confidence.
Q. I know you guys are chasing perfection and putting everything together for 60 minutes, but that’s the 16th ranked team in the nation. You’re going to play teams like that as you go forward. How comfortable are you that your team is going to be able to find ways to grind out and win games?
MIKE NORVELL: Oh, I believe in our team. I have the ultimate belief in our team. Just like I told them, belief is one thing. Going and earning it is another. We’ve got to work.
Tomorrow I promise you we’ll come back here, we’ll clean up mistakes, and we’ll go get in the squat rack tomorrow and get out on the practice field, and we’re going to get better. That’s what this team has to do. If not, then we set ourselves up to be disappointed.
I have the ultimate belief in what these guys can do, what they can accomplish. We’ve seen throughout the season already, we’ve played seven games, multiple games where we’ve been down, we’ve had to respond and rise up at home, on the road. We’ve been up and had to finish games.
I like the makeup of this team, but ultimately all the things that we want and all the things that we desire, it doesn’t really matter if we’re not willing to continue to put the investment and stay focused on the journey of what we set out, and that’s just to get better with each opportunity.
Q. It seems like in the biggest moments Jordan Travis, the lights can never be too bright, moments can never be too big. How pivotal is it to a locker room and a culture to have the leadership intangibles in your quarterback?
MIKE NORVELL: It’s huge. Like I said, he’s a winner. He’s got a champion’s heart. The performances — it’s not just this year, it’s years past. When he’s in the game, you always got a shot. It’s really — Jordan is a great example of that.
But I think it also carries over to our team. There was a time last year where Jordan wasn’t available, and we had to come back and find a way to win. From Tate, really tried to carry over some of that. That’s where when you have that within the locker room and guys see it on a daily basis, it does rub off. Jordan is such a special player, but the young man of who he is and how he approaches things, that’s what makes him just elite. There’s nobody else I’d rather have — he’s remarkable. To have a second half like he did, to be able to take over the game like he did when the moment called, it was a great night for him, and he showed why he is who he is.
Defensive end Pat Payton, wide receiver Deuce Spann
Q. Deuce, can you talk about the kick return? Coach said you guys kind of had set it up during the week and the opportunity was there, but the blocking in front of you, then just taking off and housing it?
DEUCE SPANN: Yeah, we had worked that all practice and stuff, so like we just trained it in practice and stuff, and then when it came to the game, Coach Norvell said before the game he said I was going to take one back, and it just happened.
Q. Pat, can you talk about the response of the defense in the second half, what you guys did particularly well to shut Duke out?
PATRICK PAYTON: It’s really just be us shooting ourselves in the foot sometimes. We’ve just got to — everybody got to believe the next man is doing their assignment, and then once everybody is doing their assignment, I feel like no team can really run the ball or throw the ball on our defense. We just all have to be on the same page, and that’s what I feel like.
Q. Patrick, when you guys — when the pass rush gets going, you guys start to get going in the second half, how much fun is that, and can you feel like you guys taking over the game?
PATRICK PAYTON: Yeah, it felt great, especially this game because like the last few games it really ain’t been no pass rush, just been a lot of teams really just scared to drop back and let us rush. But today, even though we had like zero sacks, still, the rush was there every time. A different person was one step away from being home, and that helps out the DBs, too.
Q. Deuce, none of us will ever get to feel a moment like this. When you see the hole open up and you know your speed and you know there’s nobody over there that can — what is that feeling like? Do you hear the crowd? What does that feel like when you’re at midfield and you know nobody is catching you?
DEUCE SPANN: It felt good. When I seen green grass, I just know I was going to score, so it felt real good.
Q. Deuce, Jordan hasn’t had to run the ball much this year and hasn’t run the ball much this year. What does it do for the offense when he does what he did in the fourth quarter running the ball?
DEUCE SPANN: When Jordan be running the ball and stuff, he made plays so it opened the offense up for other things to open up. That’s real good for him. It opened up...
Q. Pat, can you talk about Riley Leonard in this scheme, what you guys prepared for him to play? Then when Belin came in, what type of adjustment did that take from the defense?
PATRICK PAYTON: It really was — we prepared the whole week like he was going to play. We didn’t really care about it, but we prepared about it, and we just knew whoever was out there at quarterback, we was going to give him our full Seminole defense. We wasn’t going to underestimate nobody, and then when No. 3 got in, it was just the same mindset with him, get to him, get him out of the game, next.
Q. Deuce, I feel like obviously guys like Jordan, like Trey, like Keion, like Johnny get a lot of attention. For the first two touchdowns to come from Caziah and you tonight, what does that say about how many weapons you have and how scary the offense and the special teams can be with your playmakers?
DEUCE SPANN: It shows that our football team has a lot of playmakers that can make plays all around like at the position, like receiver, running back, we can all make plays, so it shows we have a lot more playmakers.
Q. Patrick, can you talk about the 4th down stop you guys got inside the 5-yard line and how big that was.
PATRICK PAYTON: It was good because all season we
done gotten down there to the goal line a couple times when it came to 4th down, and I don’t think we gave up a touchdown not one time. We’re just knowing like our backs are against the wall, they’re going to score, and that’s when I always say we play the best, when we know our backs are against the wall.
Quarterback Jordan Travis, defensive back Shyeim Brown, defensive tackle Fabien Lovett
Q. What was that atmosphere like? Have you experienced anything quite like what it was tonight in Doak and just walking off the field winners? That just seemed like an old-school Florida State win.
FABIEN LOVETT, SR: Yeah, I could say we experienced it last year when we played Florida. It was about the same crowd. It was a great time. We played good, and it was just a great, great team win.
Q. Jordan, Coach Norvell said you were having fun out there. How did it feel out there today? Were you indeed having fun?
JORDAN TRAVIS: Yeah, I had a lot of fun today. Winning is fun at the end of the day. When you win, you have fun. I’m very thankful for my teammates. Coach Norvell and I had a meeting last Sunday about having fun again. He feels like sometimes I might be pressing, I feel like I have pressure and I’m trying to do too much. So I’m just trying to be back to myself, enjoy the game of football, enjoy it with my teammates, but yeah, winning is fun, so I would sacrifice the pressure and everything to win every single time.
Q. Jordan, you guys were 0-2 on 4th down situations tonight. Do you think that this needs to be a focus in practice this week as you guys gear up for Wake Forest, or was it just Duke’s defense tonight that really caused that situation?
JORDAN TRAVIS: Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, it’s two really good football teams going at it. Duke is a really good football team. That defense is really good.
Sometimes that defense is going to make plays, too, at the end of the day. But we’ve got to keep chipping away.
We’d love to convert those downs, but at the end of the day there’s two football teams going at it, and one side wins on each play. They came up big on those plays, but at the end of the game we came up when it mattered.
Q. Jordan, in that fourth quarter the offense scored 18 points, nearly doubled the total for the game. What adjustments did y’all make to be able to turn it on like that at the end of the game?
JORDAN TRAVIS: We really didn’t make that many adjustments at all. We knew we had to keep chipping away. Like I said, Duke is a very good football team. I mean, I think they were 1 for 26 on plays over 20 plus yards this year or some crazy stat like that.
Yeah, we were going to keep chipping away. We knew it was going to pop at some point. We got the run game at the end of the game, and Keion made a big plays, and Deuce made the biggest play of today’s game.
Deuce is the type of person that comes to work every single day. He always doesn’t get the ball on offense, but he came up when it mattered. We’re thankful for him.
Q. Shyheim and Fabo, the goal line stop you guys had, what goes into that toughness both mentally and physically in that moment, and why does the defense continually play well with its back against the wall?
SHYHEIM BROWN: Well, on the team, we got a saying, January to January. That work we put in the off-season, fall camp, spring, summer, that prepares you for those moments like that. Today’s motto was they don’t score, and unfortunately we didn’t do a good job of that. But anytime we can stop as a defense the offense from scoring, that’s our job, and it’s whatever it takes down there. That’s what you seen.
Q. For all three of you guys, as leaders on the team, when you go down early on in games, is there any rah-rah speech on the sideline or any heads dropping, or is it just you guys business as normal?
SHYHEIM BROWN: You come to Florida State to make plays. This is DI football. It’s division athletes on the other side just like there is on your team. As a team, as a defense, as leaders, as an offense, you just let your guys know that you got them. It shouldn’t be like no rah-rah because at some times rah-rah ain’t good for the environment or the scenery at the moment.
But you’ve just got to pull like individual guys aside, and they’re going to relay the message. As a team, we’ve got each other’s backs, so we’re going to say something when it needs to be fixed, and when it’s going good, we’re going to say it’s going good.
Q. Shyheim and then Fabien and Jordan, just the way you guys played that second half against LSU, it felt like this team was going to be maybe unstoppable, almost flawless. It hasn’t been perfect, but you guys keep winning football games. How confident are you that you guys can find ways to win football games even if it isn’t perfect every night?
SHYHEIM BROWN: It’s the want-to. You’ve got to make up in my mind that my man ain’t going to beat me, or your 11 ain’t better than our 11, and our motto on defense is trust your brothers. Like Pat said, trust your teammate is going to do his job so you can do yours, and everything will work out fine.
Q. Fabien, you guys have been really good late in games. How much of that do you think is the rotations you guys do so that guys are fresher in the second half?
FABIEN LOVETT, SR: It has a lot to do with the rotation because at the end of the day if I’m going out there fresh, I’m going to go make plays like I did today. If Fiske go out there fresh, he’s going to make plays. If Josh is out there fresh, he’s going to make plays. At the end of the day, it’s all about putting each other in the best position to be dominant, regardless. We don’t want to put nobody out there if you’re tired, just because you’re tired you need to come off the field.
Q. For Jordan, 10 carries, 62 rushing yards. Was that something that Duke was giving you guys, the ability for you to run, or is that something that you guys felt like you had to have in the second half especially?
JORDAN TRAVIS: We kind of knew that this week. We talked about that. A couple of those plays were going to hit, and they did. But it starts up front with the offensive line. I appreciate them more than anything in the world. They fight through a lot of adversity, injuries, and they just keep going. Maurice on that last drive, he was hurting pretty bad on his knee. I just said to him, come on, man, this is the last drive right here. He got up without saying anything and just grinding on that last play, and we scored a touchdown.
I mean, kudos to them, kudos to the guys on the perimeter blocking. It makes my job easy. I wasn’t getting hit beyond the line of scrimmage. It was always downfield. Yeah, that’s all my teammates.
Q. For Jordan, you mentioned today was about having fun playing the game and letting off a little bit of the stress, as well. There were a handful of big catches tonight from Jaheim, Markeston — you can go down the list. It seems like Keion has one every week. How much does the game become funner when you’re seeing those guys make those type of plays?
JORDAN TRAVIS: Yeah, I love seeing my teammates be successful. At the end of the day, that’s the biggest thing for me. It puts a smile on my face and makes me enjoy the game even more just seeing my guys happy. But yeah, those guys stepped up big, but it comes from practice.
Everyone goes really hard in practice. Keion goes hard in practice. Johnny goes hard in practice. Just guys making plays. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. That’s what we’ve got on this side of the ball.
Q. Jordan, you just mentioned, I know he wasn’t out there at the end to celebrate, but the game Johnny had and what it means to this offense, the toughness he continues to show to be here and keep making those catches that he makes.
JORDAN TRAVIS: Yeah, Johnny is my guy. Praying for him. He fights through a lot of adversity, too. My favorite thing with Johnny is no matter what, he doesn’t get the ball, you never hear him complain, never see him throw his hands up in the air.
That’s one of your favorite things as a quarterback. You don’t want to see your guys showing you up, and Johnny never does that. I respect that more than anything in the world, and Johnny fights through so many injuries. He’s always in practice no matter how he’s feeling with a positive mindset. That’s my guy, and that’s all I’ve got to say.
Q. Jordan, you’re now the career leader in total yards here at Florida State. You passed Chris Weinke. I was wondering if you knew that was in sight for this game but also kind of how you feel about having your name up there at No. 1 now.
JORDAN TRAVIS: Yeah, it’s a blessing from the man upstairs. I did not know that. I’m very thankful. Once again, I can’t do anything without my teammates. That award is for all of us. Offensive line blocking really hard, the receivers making big-time plays, and running backs making big-time plays, too.
I’m thankful for my teammates. My coaches putting me in the right position all the time. Defense giving us the ball back with good field position. I’m just thankful for my teammates.
Q. Shyheim and Fabien, y’all have seen Jordan play a lot of football. Does he still surprise you sometimes with his play making ability, be it the feet or the arm?
FABIEN LOVETT, SR: Yeah, it’s always a surprise even at practice, even chasing him around at practice, it’s always a surprise. He does different stuff every day, but we’re used to it now. At the end of the day, he’s a ball player.
SHYHEIM BROWN: It’s like he’s in that green jersey in practice so we really can’t touch him. It’s always an argument in conversation, is he down or not, but you see him perform on Saturdays, and it’s like, as a defense we’re like, you know he wouldn’t have been down right there because you know how he gets.
Watching him in practice, watching him in the game is just amazing. You want to have a guy like that back there all the time.
Defensive tackle Braden Fiske, tight end Jaheim Bell
Q. Braden, can you talk about the second half and second half, what you guys were able to do against Duke’s offense, especially the running game?
BRADEN FISKE: Yeah, I think we went to the locker room, we just made a commitment and said, no more, we’re not going to let no more points on the board. That’s kudos to the effort from all the guys on the team. I mean, we knew we had to step up. The first half isn’t who we were. Like I said, we made a commitment to be better, and it showed. We got more hats to the ball, and we just played a better second half.
Q. Jaheim, neither of you guys have been here that long. This is your first season here, but what have you seen from this team, and what do you feel like this team has in a game like this where you’re trailing pretty much into the fourth quarter the whole game, to be as resilient as you guys are?
JAHEIM BELL: I feel like everybody on this team got some type of fight in them. Everybody on this team has made a commitment. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen seen how hard we work. When I came in, I knew this was the right fit for me when I came in, just watching how these guys work. That’s the type of guy I am, and I filled in well with this group.
Q. Braden, you’ve played three home games already with Southern Miss, Virginia Tech and Syracuse, but I have to imagine it wasn’t quite like tonight. As a kid in his first year of this kind of football, what was that crowd like for you tonight? What was that experience like?
BRADEN FISKE: Yeah, I think the atmosphere showed itself. It was unbelievable for me. I feel like I say it every time I talk to you guys. It gets better and better that I get to experience this.
I couldn’t agree more with what he said. I feel like it was a perfect fit. I feel like we brought the right guys in, we do the right things, and it’s starting to pay off on the field.
It’s great for the community, great for college football, and I couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of it for my last year. It’s just an awesome experience overall. Just really, really thankful.
Q. Braden, can you walk us through the goal-line stand and what that moment says about this defense in particular?
BRADEN FISKE: The one there was it the end of the third quarter there? Well, I mean, it was kind of my fault that they got that deep down in there with the facemask. But luckily we just — like I said, I think it was kind of the same mentality we went into the second half with, like no more points, we cannot let it happen, we cannot let the score happen there. Every guy on the defense was saying that. It was like, no more points here.
When you have 11 guys that are on the same page and have the same mindset, really good things happen, and yeah, I couldn’t be more proud of the guys out there that we made that stop. It was huge, huge for us.
Q. Braden, there was a lot of talk coming into this game about their offensive line and how experienced they are, and it looked like it was a good test for you guys, but did you guys feel like you wore them down a little bit with your depth as the game went on?
BRADEN FISKE: Yeah, I mean, kudos to them. That was a veteran group. They played physical. That was probably one of the more physical O-lines that we’ve played all year. They were coming after us early on, and we had to fight back.
I think having depth and being able to rotate guys and getting fresh bodies in there helps a lot, but I think it was more so the mentality that we came with. The second half — we said, we’re committed to stopping this. This is not who we are.
But to your point, yes, getting fresh bodies in there made a huge difference, and I think we were able to wear them down at some point, yeah.
Q. Jaheim, I feel like obviously a lot of guys to pay attention to on this offense between you and Jordan, Trey, Johnny, Keion. For the first two touchdowns tonight to be Caziah and then Deuce on the kick return, what’s that say about how many weapons and how fun is it to be part of an offense that has so many weapons?
JAHEIM BELL: We’ve got a very elite offense. When the defensive coordinator comes in and they’ve got to scout us, they really don’t know who to look at because you never know who in this offense, they can go. I always say anybody in this offense can go at any moment, and like I said when I first got here, you can’t double everybody.
I just feel like our offense is very elite.
Q. Jaheim, you had the most catches tonight, 53 yards, 10 targets. How did the game really open up for you tonight at receiver?
JAHEIM BELL: Just through the week, I prepared like a pro. I was meeting with my coach every day just on the things that I had to lock in on, and it showed today. I feel like I played a great game, and I just want to thank my coach for helping me get prepared for it.
Q. Jaheim, where were you — I assume you’re standing on the sideline ready to go on the field when Deuce gets the kickoff. When do you know, oh, yeah, he’s gone? When are you saying to yourself — because he’s one of the fastest dudes in the country. What’s that like to watch, and what was your reaction when you saw it?
JAHEIM BELL: It was crazy. I know none of y’all don’t know this, but that’s my cousin.
I was very proud when he did that. I knew he was gone after he broke that little shoe lace, ankle tackle, I knew he was going in. But he did kind of scare me when he first caught it and he stumbled. I thought it was going to get bad.
But he stayed toes down and got up out of that, and I couldn’t be more proud.
Q. Braden, you’re on kick return, right?
BRADEN FISKE: For that play I was, yeah.
Q. You talk about the right players being here and this coaching staff, they are so sold out to having a good solid special teams unit. What does it mean to you guys to be able to perform, and how important is it to capitalize on those moments?
BRADEN FISKE: That’s probably one of the cooler things here is the emphasis on special teams. The stats show they are. I believe we’re No. 1 in the country in special teams. That’s a huge part to the preparation that goes into it.
Having your head coach basically running the special teams meeting and JP. They do a really good job.
No, I think it’s awesome. It’s huge for the game. That was a huge spark for us in that game. We needed that. What that did taking us into the second half was huge, and what that does going forward and the weapons that we have to put back there, the opportunities are going to be there to make plays like that. We’ve just got to keep capitalizing on them.
Q. Braden, on that halftime conversation among the defense, was that more led by the coaches or the players, anybody in particular?
BRADEN FISKE: Yeah, it was the coaches, but Fabien was really the one that stood up in the locker room. He made a statement of this isn’t who we are and let’s turn this around. Everybody was on board, but it was mainly he stood up and he took charge, and kudos to him. He’s a great leader for us, and he stepped up in the moment, and I think we really all fell in line from that. Yeah, the second half spoke for itself.
Q. Jaheim, I feel like that was one of the first times we got to see Jordan take over a game with his legs in that fourth quarter. On top of everything else he does, for him to do that, what’s it like to get to be a part of that, watch that, and just what’s he been like embracing all the new guys, kind of assembling this offense together as the quarterback, just the leader of this offense?
JAHEIM BELL: Jordan is a pro. He’s a prime example of what a pro is. Ever since I came here, I just see how hard he works. To be a quarterback, he really uses his legs like if he was a running back.
On that touchdown that he had down there in the end zone, down on the goal line when I got the block for him, I told him right before the play, I got you. I got you, bro. We snuck the ball, ran that play, I picked up that block in the end zone for him. I was just so happy. I felt like I scored. That’s how I feel about all these guys on offense when they have success. I feel like I did it.
I really love this offense for sure.