Florida State offensive coordinator Alex Atkins, defensive coordinator Adam Fuller, and special teams coordinator John Papuchis spoke with the media today after a much-needed bye week before facing Georgia Tech at home. Georgia Tech’s starting quarterback Jeff Sims remains questionable for the matchup, which is scheduled to kick off at noon. They detailed injuries, player evaluations, schemes, and more.
Alex Atkins spoke about having a bye week and more time to evaluate the offense, saying that they were able to do one-on-one evaluations with the players, which was important.
“You always kind of have a base idea, you know, when you go into it, you just kind of want to confirm what your thoughts are and make sure you’re not focusing on something that doesn’t need to be focused on. But I think the biggest thing was looking at it from an individual standpoint also was better when you had players; you can basically go down and do a self-scout, of course, on the scheme and what you’re calling and things like that, but more of what is that player not seeing and put them in a better position and understanding why.”
When asked about some of the ways they can use quarterback Jordan Travis’ skill set, he said that some of the defense forced them to call certain plays to give Travis the best shot to succeed.
“Credit to some of the defenses we played for us having to do that and utilize that. Jordan is a true dual-threat quarterback; you know, when he pulls the ball, he’s a threat. He’s a dynamic athlete as well as when he’s, you know, throwing the football and reading progression. So he’s developed it himself where you can’t just key on one part of his game, you know because he’s shown that he can beat you either way.”
There have been some murmurs on social media on which school will take a run at Atkins,’ but he confirmed that although it is flattering, it is all just noise.
“I think it’s a token to him (Mike Norvell) of what he’s done in developing his coaches and young coaches he had on his staff, but, no, man, it is it’s flattering, but it actually is just social media, so it’s not really realistic or real, you know, it’s just more of just noise, to be honest.”
Atkins’ full interview can be seen below:
Further evaluating his defense during the bye, Fuller said that there is a balance in giving different guys reps, but there are roles that are already solidified.
“I think you’re constantly making sure that you’ve given guys opportunities, you know, I think that’s part of it, um, but you also get guys set in roles, and you know, so there’s a balance there, but at the end of the day, as long as your players know that you’re giving guys opportunities, the ones that deserve it out there on the practice field, and you keep that you alive I think we’ve seen good, um, good things happen during this season.”
Georgia Tech starting quarterback Jeff Sims is inherently questionable for Saturday’s games, but Fuller said the game plan is no different.
“I mean, you know, anytime their starting quarterback number 10, who’s been a good player for them, and you know, he’s created a lot of offense for them throughout the year, and, you know, he’s gone down in back-to-back games, so whether he plays or not I’m not quite sure, but like always, you usually try to plan for the starter and the backup, it’ll be no different um you know, and it’s just part of the evaluation when you’re getting ready for teams that have injuries, especially a quarterback.”
Fuller speaks on creating pressure, healing after the bye week, and Clemson's offense in his full interview below:
Wide receiver Mycah Pittman has come close to returning a few punts for touchdowns this season, and Papuchis said that he feels that as a unit, the put return team is close.
“There’s a lot of things that go into having success in return units, um, you know, you gotta get the right kick, you got to get everybody blocked, you gotta get the return man usually has to make somebody miss somewhere along the line, so um you know all those ingredients have to be in play, but I do feel like that unit’s certainly becoming a weapon for us.”
Defensive linemen Jermaine Johnson II and Kier Thomas both left for the NFL at the end of last season, and there were some concerns floating around about being able to generate such a strong pass rush. Papuchis said that he could see the concerns but felt the staff addressed them accordingly.
“I still think there’s a whole other level, uh, that this current defensive line group can take it to in terms of the pass rush, but you know, were there questions coming in into last off-season? Sure. But with the emergence of a Pat Payton, that’s obviously been significant. Derrick McClendon’s continued to improve, so that’s been good for us. Getting Jared Verse from a recruiting standpoint was critical, so I mean, coming out of last season, I could see where there would potentially be concerns, but I think that that either through recruiting or through player development, you know, those concerns have been addressed, but I do think that there’s a whole other level that this defensive line can take it to in terms of what we can what we’re capable of doing from a password standpoint.”
Papuchis’ full interview can be seen below: