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FSU coordinators recap Saturday's win, talk Miami — it’s rivalry week

“This is one of the best rivalries in sports. As a kid growing up, you know these uniforms when you think of college football”

Florida State coordinators Alex Atkins, Adam Fuller, and John Papuchis spoke with the media today, detailing their 41-16 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets while also discussing the upcoming Miami game this weekend. FSU is 5-3 on the season and 2-2 in conference play and heads down to Hard Rock Stadium for a prime-time matchup on ABC.

Offensive coordinator Alex Atkins

The Noles are coming off a record performance offensively in a game where there was a quarterback who passed for over 375-yards (Jordan Travis, 396), a running back crossing the 100-yard mark (Trey Benson, 111), and a receiver who caught for over 100-yards (Johnny Wilson, 111) in the same game for only the third time in program history.

In last week's matchup, the fans were left questioning the use of timeouts early in the first half, and Atkins expressed their philosophy on the subject.

“We always say we want to use the timeouts for disasters in the first half, and there’s no need to run a bad play,” he said. “On one of the plays, we probably would have been fine, but let’s just do it right, you know?” adding that “You had two incidents where instead of just doing some disastrous, that’s what the timeouts are for. We always say we want to use the timeouts for disasters in the first half.”

Running back Lawrance Toafili had two fumbles against Georgia Tech but was able to bounce back, becoming one of the star players of the bout. Atkins explained that sometimes “The biggest way to learn is through failure.”

When looking ahead to Miami’s defense (which is 9th in the country per pff), Atkins said,

“You know Coach Steele has been in the game for a long time. He’s done an excellent job, known as an elite D coordinator, so he evolves with not only his personnel but also things that give offenses trouble, you know? If he sees something giving you trouble, he knows how to, you know, present that to you again and make sure you’ve corrected it.”

Atkins details Travis’ toughness, the return of CJ Campbell, last year's Miami game, Robert Scott, and more in his full interview below.

Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller

Adam Fuller's defense completely shut down Georgia Tech on Saturday for the first half and had a dominant performance, only holding the Yellow Jackets to 24-yards. When asked about the plan and performance, he said,

“They came out, and, you know, we had a pretty clean plan. We knew what we wanted to get done. The only question was going to be kind of the quarterback situation. But I think we were pretty upfront with our guys of what it was going to be, and if it was this, it was going to be that, and, you know, our guys came out, they executed.”

With a change of staff down in south Florida, the film review for the Hurricanes is a little different.

With the change of staff and play calling, you know a lot of the film goes towards this year, and some of it goes towards that staff in the play callers from past years. Anything that would have come from our game last year against them was purely personnel study, you know, just our guys against their guys, but from a scheme standpoint, it’s all this year’s.”

As you know, this is a major game against a major rival, and Fuller knows that and said he felt humbled at the opportunity.

“This is one of the best rivalries in sports. You know, as a kid growing up, you know, these uniforms when you think of college football, these are two of the uniforms you think about playing in and now to have the opportunity to have an impact on what that result is going to be on Saturday night is humbling, and it’s inspiring, and, you know, every game is important, but you know this one obviously feels different.”

Fuller discusses Miami’s quarterback situation, game plan, newcomer growth, and more in his full interview below:

Special Teams Coordinator John Papuchis

One of the plays that stood out coming out of the half last weekend was a successful onside kick recovered by Georgia Tech. When asked about what went wrong on those plays, Papuchis said this of DB Azareye’h Thomas.

“His explanation was just that he didn’t think it was going to go 10-yards. He was going to go get it. You know, he just hesitated for a second and that that’s the biggest thing is, you know, obviously, you don’t ever want anything like that to happen, and there is things that — I mean, you guys are at practice, you see we work on these things, and you never want them to take place but um you know a young guy and in a tough situation. We need to learn from it as a group and get better.”

Defensive end Leonard Warner had a breakout game on Saturday with four tackles and two sacks. Warner has been around the program for a while and has impressed the coaches during his time at FSU. Papuchis mentioned his work ethic in battling injury and how that helped him grow.

“With Leonard, I’ve been impressed with his play because he continues to get better, so I’m not surprised by it... The thing about Leonard is worth noting is that last year, when he was recovering from injury, the way he handled himself was tremendously respectable.”

Papuchis talks about the punt return game, K Ryan Fitzgerald’s improvement, and DE Jared Verse’s comeback from injury in his full interview below: