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Mondays with Jimbo [Wake Forest Edition]

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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."

Jimbo Fisher stopped by earlier to discuss beating Miami, playing freshmen and Wake Forest. He started by repeating one of his favorite refrains -- about how the next game is always the most critical.

"The next most critical game we have is the next one against Wake Forest. Wake does a great job, Jim [Grobe] has a great program," said Fisher. "[It’s] a very tough place to play. They play very well. We need to go in there, have a great week of preparation and put this one behind us and move on. I think the maturity of this football team, you have to test it every time because all of these games are important games, but you have to learn to move on and don’t dwell on it and remember what’s in front of you and that’s one game at a time. That’s our theory and motto and that’s what we’re going to do and I think our team will respond to that real well."

As far as what Wake does well? Plenty. You'd think they were 8-0 by the way Fisher talks them up. 

“They’ve changed. They were running all kind of option things early and now they went back to throwing the football, but Tanner Price seems like he’s been there forever and making great decisions," said Fisher. "It’s a shame their receiver, Michael Campanaro, got hurt. I think he had 67 catches on the year, he’s a heck of a player for them. They were throwing it around, it seemed like they ran a lot of option and they can go back and do some of those things and probably look at some of those things and we’ve got to prepare for both groups. It will be tough. They’ve got a good group."

As for what's changed around FSU since they last played their -- and lost -- in 2011, Fisher says quite a bit.

“We’ve learned from our mistakes, but at the same time I remember that football team was very beat up," recalled Jimbo. "You talked about the EJ (Manuel) situation. You forget that was Bobby Hart’s first start ever. We had three or four guys on offense that were banged up, bruised and we had a very beat up team.

"From that we’ve learned. I think we’ve learned to get better and improve every game and take the importance (of) every game. That seems like a long time ago, we’ve evolved and hopefully we can learn and continue to evolve. Tomorrow and the next day you have to try and get better and better and get where we are trying to go.”

And finally, Jimbo took time to laud Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest's nose guard -- who plays a lot bigger than 5-11, 250.

“He’s is just a football-playing son-of-a-gun. He’s a little short, but he’s powerful, athletic, can run, disruptive. In the seams, can pass rush, can play the run," said Fisher. "They’re doing a good job on defense. They’ve only given up 19 points a game. They’re the number one red zone defense in the league. [They] create sacks, create different plays in the secondary and they do a very nice job.”

More from Jimbo:

##- On Kelvin Benjamin's Potential:

“K.B. can do anything he wants. His ability, his hip, you can go behind him, down low, I’ll tell you what. You talk about dominant in a game, blocking there were some blocks in that game if you go back and look at it, he played a very unselfish game. We could have gotten him the ball a little more than we did – we got to that running game. We were very content, kept running the ball and were keeping them off the field as we were driving and moving the football, which we were proud of, but man was he was dominant in that game. K.B. is becoming a complete football player.”

##- On losing Terrence Brooks to a Concussion and how the young players stepped in:

“Critical. I say that all the time. Keelin [Smith] coming in the game of course Jalen (Ramsey) adding to what we’re doing and Nate Andrews and playing his tail off. Those guys came in that secondary where there’s a lot of experience and say, ‘well you can’t play’ because these guys are experienced and some of those guys are doing good, but those guys are doing so good you have to give them opportunities to get them in there and they’ve really created depth and certain scenarios and the different packages we can plan and the multiplicity of the things we can do is right there.”

##- Review of Winston:

“I thought he played a very good game. I thought it was a huge growing day for him because of the hype of the home game. That’s harder sometimes - a lot more distractions. (He) dealt with some adversity, came back very calmly. Managed the game and in the second half was 12-of-14 and made big plays when he had to – critical third down throws. He didn’t have the touchdown throws but we had a lot of guys got caught on the five, six, seven (yard line) and ran it down there. It didn’t matter. We were still scoring leading drives. We had five drives of 70-yards or more. Execution of the game and managing of the game all those things, I think he continues to grow in a lot of ways. Sometimes not always on the stat sheet, but 325 yards is pretty dadgum good. I thought he played very well and for me as a coach to watch him make a couple mistakes and then brush them off and come right back and still execute at the same time, not get passive. Dump the ball down there when he had to, but still stay aggressive when he saw the throws down the field, he was still throwing it down the field. He still took those shots and to me as a quarterback guy, that to me showed a lot of signs of maturity and growth that I was very excited about.”

##- Nick O'Leary not jumping over people anymore: 

“We’ve worked on some fundamentals of squaring the shoulder, getting near leg, near shoulder, protecting the ball in the opposite hand and keeping the ball high and tight and being more fundamentally sound and not trying to be as reckless. He’s doing a great job of doing it.”

 

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