New University of Miami offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch spoke with reporters Friday afternoon. Here is what he had to say:
Opening statement: "I want to say how excited I am about joining The U. While it's been a crazy time here in Seattle preparing for the second round of the playoffs, the opportunity to join the U football program, coach [Al] Golden, is really exciting. I can't wait to be down there, but hopefully it won't come for a few more weeks as we're hoping to continue on our Super Bowl quest. It's a great moment for me, my family. My wife can't wait to get down there as well as my two kids."
Why did you decide to make the move to college now?
"That's a great question. The first reason is I realized how much I missed the game of college football, the pageantry that college football brings, the youth, excitement, energy of the players you have the opportunity to coach. The second reason was I wasn't planning on going back to college football this year. It wasn't something I was looking into at all. I was thrilled to death to be in the job I have, but when a program like the University of Miami calls and you have that opportunity, it was a dream come true. I grew up in northern New Jersey, my brother went to law school at the University of Miami. I couldn't believe it, was so thrilled to take it."
When will you be able to start recruiting?
"Depending how we move forward in Seattle. Assuming we win on Sunday [in Chicago], then I will continue in my role as the quarterbacks coach of the Seahawks and the program will recruit knowing that I will be there when the season ends. I hope the athletes Miami is recruiting, there will be some visibility because then we will be in the NFC Championship Game and from there the Super Bowl. Recruiting would be going on without me making the direct hit, hopefully the indirect hit of being part of a championship program [would be beneficial]."
Are you allowed to recruit while you are still coaching the Seahawks?
"From what I understand about the compliance, until I take the NCAA recruiting exam, which is administered at the university, there would be no contact with potential student-athletes."
Can you at least evaluate the QB's Miami is currently recruiting, watch film of them to figure out who you want?
"That will have to wait. Brennan Carroll who is the national recruiting coordinator has been evaluating some top-notch quarterbacks. He's looking at them and coach Golden is looking at them, George McDonald, the wide receivers coach, is looking at them. They know what direction we're going in on offense. What I appreciate most about coach Golden is, `You take care of your business, winning this week and beating the Chicago Bears, and whatever happens after that we'll revisit it.' Right now we're about winning, taking care of the Seahawks business."
Can you talk about your offensive philosophy?
"I know a lot of people use the term pro style offense. We'll be multiple and balanced. That's the key to a pro style offense. We'll use personnel groupings to our advantage. We're going to try to find our best matchups whether that be through the air, on the ground, getting the ball to our running backs in space, more of a downhill running attack, taking one-on-one matchups with our wide receivers. We're going to evaluate all of that. We'll be under center and shotgun, and we're going to attack. The one thing I really believe in is taking advantage of the defense with your personnel and being able to make explosive plays when the opportunity presents itself. If you take care of the football and make explosive plays you'll win a lot of football games."
What did you learn in your time as offensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota (2009)?
"You can never underestimate the value of experience. It was a phenomenal learning curve for me, both the good and bad. What you learn is what the players can handle, the 20 hour rule versus an NFL work week, how it really feels, what you can ask your players to do, really do a better job of evaluating your own talent. I think the key thing in college football vs. pro football - you better really know what you have. You better know what you can ask your guys to do. The thing about coming to the U is we have the ability and opportunity to have the best players in the country. To be able to figure out what they do best, put them in position to do that, will give us our best chance."
Having coached at the pro level, what do you think can you bring to a college team?
"I believe a lot. Pro football -- it's football all the time, and you're around the best of the best in terms of the athletes you're coaching and you get a great feel of what can be done and can't be done, what's too much and what's not too much. When you're around the pro athletes scheme is so important, the amount of time you can study film, get ideas, learn from different coaches in what people are doing to attack defenses. It's really good. To be able to take that experience and the resources you have in the NFL in terms of offensive line coaches, quarterback coaches, wide receiver coaches, coordinators - talking to those guys and asking those guy questions you build such great relationships that they never die. What I'm looking forward to is coming in and taking the experiences of what we did in the NFL, and we did a lot of good things in the nine years I coached in the NFL, and the things we did at Minnesota - we did some good things there - and put those together and put [forth] the best possible plan for the University of Miami to put the U offense back on top, which is where it belongs."
What is the history of your relationship with Al Golden?
"It's a very short history. It goes about five days. I never met coach Golden prior to our phone conversations. I will tell you I can't be more impressed. Obviously it's not an easy decision to make when you're in the middle of a playoff run with a very young team and a first-year head coach. The reason I left is two-fold: one, Al Golden, two the tradition at the U. The times I spoke to coach golden on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, every time that we talked prior to the offer and the acceptance of the position has been great conversation. We're on the same page not only philosophically but schematically. We bring a similar passion and energy to coaching. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work for him."
So you've never met coach Golden?
So how did the connection form between you and coach Golden?
"I never specifically asked him that question. I don't know the answer. The relationship, we'll build that over time. The relationship will thrive; I can tell that from the conversations we've had.
When did he first make contact with you?
"He made contact with me on Sunday evening, spoke with coach [Pete] Carroll and then he spoke with me. It was more of a brief introduction at first, talked about my history, the people I've coached, coached with, the philosophy I have. We moved forward from there."
Can you talk about working with Mike Shanahan, coach [Pete] Carroll and Brian Billick, coaches like that?
"Those coaches have won three national championships, have competed in five national championships, and they are coaches that have won three Super Bowls - it's about as good as it gets in that regard. Obviously each guy brings something else to the table. Each guy has a special quality. But all of them universally have the No. 1 quality of being great competitors. The No. 1 thing I've taken from those guys is the motivation to compete every time. I hope I can take all of their characteristics and mold them into the coach that I'll continue to be."
UM's quarterbacks have thrown a lot of interceptions the last couple of years. How do you work with quarterbacks to make better decisions?
"Interceptions are the craziest things. You watch Tom Brady, it's in the 330 range of throwing without an interceptions. You can watch ones tipped, dropped interceptions. Sometimes it just works out that way. Other times it works out that they weren't clear on the read. Sometimes it's experience in the offense. What we need to do is make sure with the quarterback that the first thing you teach them is where everybody is on the field. Until they realize where their receivers are they stick the ball in tight places when they don't need to. The other thing is you have to teach quarterbacks to take care of the football - punting is okay, it's okay to throw it away. When you don't, sometimes momentum swings. We have to teach our quarterbacks to be extremely disciplined. They have to have a great work ethic so they understand what we're asking them to do."
You never played football, even at the high school level. How unlikely is it for you to be where you are now at age 34?
"There's a lot of circumstances that go around a lot of things. The one thing I know is when you work extremely hard, if you give it everything you have usually good things happen. One thing I chose to do growing up is I was going to be a football coach and a football coach at the highest level. That opportunity presented itself every time I turned around."
Your offense struggled at Minnesota (2009). What went wrong?
"They were in their third year [under the same head coach], had run spread, had no experience with the quarterback under center, from an I formation. I tried to go and put in an offense thinking they had more experience in that type of system than they actually did. I might have been quick to assume they were able to get it right away. We just have to always continue to evaluate, how to get better and make sure that at Miami if there's something that I'm going to make sure I keep a close eye on, it's what our players can handle mentally and physically."
How familiar are you with the guys you're coaching with and will you have any input on the offensive line coach hiring?
"I know George McDonald, spent three weeks prior to him departing for Cleveland - he was at Minnesota when they hired me. I think highly of him. In terms of Brennan [Carroll]] - Brennan and I met a couple of times, have always had great conversations. I'm looking forward to meeting with everyone on the staff. Coach Golden and I have been speaking about the line coach and we'll continue to have that communication. Obviously it's a critical hire for the program, for me to make sure we're on the same page with)the philosophy of running the football and pass protection."