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October 28, 2013

Mondays With Jimbo: Miami Week Edition


Every Monday Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher holds his weekly press conference to discuss the week's opponent, the previous weekend's film and whatever else he feels like talking about that afternoon. We cover it in a weekly piece called, "Mondays with Jimbo."

It's Miami week here in Tallahassee (and FSU week down in Coral Gables) and Jimbo Fisher spoke about all things UM today at his weekly press conference. Stephen Morris, James Coley, Duke Johnson and the significance of the rivalry itself -- Fisher hit them all. 

"We have a great game and great opportunity in front of us in Miami," said Fisher in his opening statement. "This is one of the great traditions in college football. One of the reasons why you come to Florida State, to be able to play in this game and then of course -- both teams being in the top 10 -- [it's] like the old days.

"They have a great team, they’re very well-coached. Al (Golden) has done a tremendous job, he and his staff and his players and we have tremendous respect for their program, tremendous respect for their players and know they’ll be ready for us on Saturday."

One of the major storylines heading into Saturday night will be the relationship of Miami offensive coordinator James Coley and Fisher. Coley served as the offensive coordinator for Florida State for the past three seasons before taking the job -- and play-calling duties -- at Miami last Winter. Coley never called plays at FSU, but he knows the offense and the players.

While the terminology has changed, some of the concepts will be the same and you can be sure the Hurricanes will look for ways to exploit Coley's intimate knowledge of FSU's program in any way they can.

"I’m very happy for him and his family. James is a great guy, he was a very good friend of mine -- he still is -- does a great job," said Fisher when asked about his former coordinator. "I’m very happy for him and his family to progress. We all want to progress in the business and do well. He’s done a great job. Very smart guy."

Fisher said he hasn't watched much of the Hurricanes' offense on film as he's focused more on their defense (he is an offensive guy after all) but he did have this to offer as an assessment of Coley's performance as a playcaller so far:

"We knew [Miami] had a great group going in -- as far as player-wise -- and he’s added to what they’ve done. They’re well coached all around the board… Coley’s done a great job. I always say Coley’s a great offensive mind, I think he’s a very good coach, a great recruiter and he’s got a very good future in this business."

As for Duke Johnson, Fisher told reporters it would be a shorter discussion to just list what the talented sophomore running back doesn't do well -- rather than get into all of his strengths.

As for Stephen Morris, Fisher doesn't see any lingering effects from the ankle injury Miami's quarterback suffered a little over a month ago. 

“I don’t think [it's bothering him]. I think Stephen’s a great player, I don’t think he’s doing anything wrong, I mean that’s part of playing quarterback -- sometimes you make a mistake or so -- but he’s responded well from it and played very well," said Fisher. "I think he’s a heck of a player.”

More from Jimbo:

##- On Tim Jernigan and the guys in the middle of the defensive line:

“Defensive tackles and nose guards are the most unselfish people in the world. You talk about offensive linemen which are also, but defensive tackles and nose guards are too –they’re taking on double-teams, freeing up backers to make plays, not letting guys get second level. Those guys are very unselfish football players if you’re playing great football. They have to be very disciplined because you want to go make a play, but as soon as you do that you run out of your gap there goes a gash up inside. Those guys are doing a great job of keeping leverage on the ball and being disciplined in what they do. The guys that understand football when you watch him play you really respect what he’s doing.”

##- On what he told his players after getting jumped in the BCS:

“Don’t worry about it. Control what you can control and keep playing and don’t worry about it. Polls don’t concern us. We’ll worry about that when the year is over. We’ve got to control what we can control and that’s playing well, setting goals each week, setting a standard to which we want to play to and try to that standard and above and try to grow. Those things take care of themselves in time and you’ve just got to keep playing.”

##- Here's the obligatory Jameis Winston question on how he's handling all the hype asked weekly by an out-of-town reporter:

“What he’s doing because how he’s gotten there is the thing that he’s got to remember. He is doing a great job of that. He understands. Who was I before everyone knew me? I’m the same guy and I think he knows that and our team respects that from him. He’s one of the guys that doesn’t put himself above him at the same time they have tremendous respect for him for how he does handle that. How he differs things to them and he seems like the same guy to me. He continues to grow and work and play hard every week and he’s fun to coach. Like I say, he’s his own worst critic at times. Sometimes I’ve got to be easy on him because he demands so much from himself at times. He’s handled it tremendously in my opinion.”

##- On this weekend's recruiting impact:

“I think it always helps, but I don’t know if it matters as much as it used to because recruiting has changed so much. But at the same time, it doesn’t hurt you to be able to win that game. There’s a lot of other reasons other than recruiting to win that game. That’s your rival, it’s a conference game, it’s a national implication game and all those things, I don’t think it hurts it for sure.”


For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

FSU's Fisher: 'Let's Not Even Make a Preseason Poll'


Another year, another BCS headache for Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles.

This time though, instead of being disrespected by computers, Fisher's Seminoles are contending with preseason polls and the perceptions of voters nationwide that have so far been unwilling to consider Florida State ahead of Oregon.

“Let’s don’t even make a poll -- you wouldn’t sell any preseason magazines though --  and wait until about week six or seven so you can really judge in your opinion where [teams] are," said Fisher on Monday.

“The argument is more ‘should they jump them?’ Well why were they ever ahead of them? You know what I mean, and I’m not saying that for us, there could be teams behind us that think they’re ahead of us, I mean I think you’re probably better off to wait until week six or seven and see who’s playing well and what’s going on."

In that regard Fisher is probably right.

If you had to pick two groups of individuals that would probably rather fight you than ever admit they got something wrong, football coaches and reporters are definitely at the top of that list.

While the Associated Press poll doesn't factor into the BCS itself, it does factor into perception and the AP does award a national championship every year.

And if Oregon and Alabama win out, they will finish 1-2 in both polls for the simple fact that jumping another team over them would be a fairly blatant admission that the voters were wrong in the first place.

Should that matter? Probably not.

Does it? Yes.

Despite beating Clemson convincingly and dominating NC State so completely that their starters didn't have to play during the second half, FSU fell behind Oregon in the latest BCS standings due largely in part to Oregon being ahead of Florida State in the human polls.

And that's why a lot of folks around Florida State are just resigned to their BCS fate.

"That’s something I really can’t control so I just leave it up to God," said Devonta Freeman after FSU's 49-17 win on Saturday. "God sees everything and whoever was looking -- whoever saw the game -- they saw what happened. I don’t really too much care what the media or whoever say about that."

Added WR Kelvin Benjamin: "We only can control what we can control. You know you can always throw your comments out there about it, but you know at the end of the day you’ve got to put your faith in God -- just put your faith in however they do it -- and just trust that we’re probably going to get a spot."

Unfortunately for Florida State, God doesn't get a vote. But Jimbo Fisher does.

Surely, Florida State's head coach is doing everything he can to make sure his team ends up where it wants to get -- barring a loss, of course?

“We didn’t have a first place vote did we?” asked Fisher, rhetorically, when answering a question about whether he had given FSU a first place vote in his coaches poll ballot.

“I don’t look at it that way," added Fisher. "That’s a job I have, I don’t look at it through our team, you can’t let emotion get into it. And I think that’s one of the things you have to do as a coach, you have to understand what your job is.

"Emotion can’t be into it, you have to do what you think from your study, your evaluation, your opinion and your expertise over years of doing it where you should fit into that poll and look at it. It really isn’t [difficult] because I just don’t look at it that way.”

So what does Jimbo Fisher's top five look like?

He's not telling. Nor does he have any suggestions for a better way to do things.

"There’s not an answer because whatever you come up with somebody’s going to argue and say there’s a different way," said Fisher. "That’s why college football is such a great game because some of this skepticism brings about popularity to the sport and keeps every week and every game so important.”


For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Video Rewind: Bobby Bowden's Return to Doak


Bobby Bowden returned to Doak Campbell Stadium for the first time since retiring this past Saturday. If you missed it, here's a video (courtesy of TheACC.com) of FBS's all-time winningest coach dropping the spear before the Seminoles beat the Wolfpack 49-17.

You may also notice the moment at the end when Jimbo Fisher and Bowden embrace. After the game Fisher was asked about the moment.

"I love the guy. I just wanted to pay my respects," said Fisher. "He’s the greatest football coach in college football history in my opinion and the greatest gentleman for sure.”

Added Florida State Hall of Famer Willie Jones Sr.: "It means a lot to me just to have him to bring him back to recognize him for the great things he’s done not only for the university, but for the higher education environment everywhere. 

"Sometimes we wait to say how much we love a person until after they’re dead. But we get to enjoy this now."


For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...



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