ACC: FIsher interview 090409

Jimbo Fisher Q&A, Part II

September, 4, 2009
9/04/09
9:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


Some coaches throughout the league, like Tom O’Brien, have come out and said our backup guy is going to play. Cutcliffe said it, but Jim Grobe said no way, Riley’s our guy, that’s it. Are you trying to get E.J. [Manuel] in? What’s your philosophy on that?

Jimbo Fisher: I don’t have a problem with it. I think he’s ready to go in a game, but I think you have to be careful to say, ‘I’m definitely going to do this. I’m definitely going to do that.’ We’ll play it by ear and how the situations go.

Max Lashin/Icon SMI
Going into the Miami game, offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher is concerned with how his inexperienced players will perform in starting roles.
How has he looked over the summer? That was the first time I’ve actually seen him in person, and he looks like an incredible athlete.

JF: He is. He’s a phenomenal athlete, and he’s a better person that he is an athlete -- highly intelligent, great leader, he’s harder on himself than I ever thought of being. He’s just one of those guys who holds himself to a high standard, a natural leader. I think he has a great future here. I’m very happy with him.

Do you think he missed a beat at all from being out in the spring, or no?

JF: I don’t think he’s missed it, but it didn’t help him. He could be further along in some developmental things, but he’s a guy who, he didn’t waste that time. It’s not his personality. Once you get to know him, you’ll understand.

When I talked to Christian [Ponder] he told me he’s so comfortable with the playbook, and some of the receivers have told me he’s like a mini you out there. How good is he with the offense right now?

JF: Very good. He knows when they screw up, how they screw up, what they’re doing. He’s in a comfort zone, he really is, in what he’s doing and how he does it. He’s taken that role.

It sounds like everything is great. Where are your concerns going into this Miami game?

JF: The unknown about just youth, guys you’re counting on to take a significant role, just from the youth and inexperience you have. The talent and attitude has been great. Can they handle it? There’s going to be a moment or two one of them will mess up, but the good thing they’ve done, even at practice, there are not disastrous moments. Last year, we were the youngest team in the country. Nobody was younger than we were. They played a lot but now I have to give them starting roles. That’s the biggest concern. It’s just a matter of getting a little bit of experience.

How tough does Miami look on film? They’ve got a lot of young guys, too.

JF: They do. They’re actually a little older than we are, believe it or not, but we’re very similar. They’re athletic and can run, and physical like they always are. Typical Miami football team.

Do you like opening with that game, or is that an October game?

JF: It doesn’t matter, it’s what they want us to do, that’s what we’ll do. If you had your preference, you’d probably say no, because you’d like to find out what you are, who you are. Each year it depends on the type of team you are. Are you experienced? Are you not experienced? That whole gamut of things.

So you think this will tell you guys where you are very quickly?

JF: I think it could, but I don’t know either way with this game. You can’t put too much into it. You have success, it goes to their head, they don’t work harder just because you have a little success. It doesn’t go as well as you think, it means they’re good, they’re just a little young at times. You’ve got to be careful judging too much off the bat with this game, either way.

What about in terms of the overall picture? I know nobody has come out and made a decision one way or another, but there is this whole NCAA issue of the wins for [Bobby] Bowden, it may or may not be his last season. How much does all that matter to you, because you’re the next guy?

JF: It doesn’t. We all know the contracts and what’s going on. We don’t even think about that or talk about it. That’s never even part of our thought process or our daily routine.

But as a guy who works for him, is it fair to say you’d probably like to see him keep those wins? What are your thoughts on that?

JF: Oh yeah, I want it for him. Because he did nothing wrong. As soon as he was aware of the things that were inappropriate, we took action. That’s what people keep forgetting. We turned ourselves in. We weren’t trying to hide anything. And no coach was a part of it. We suspended them. That’s the thing we keep forgetting out there. If you’re responsible, you’re responsible. If you’re not, you’re not. If he went to court, he’d be innocent. They’re putting him in jail.

Because you are going to be the next guy, do you have a grasp on the whole team maybe better than most offensive coordinators would? Are you keeping an eye on everybody?

JF: I do, I try to keep an eye on everybody. I put myself in that position now, what I would do here, what I would do there. And you have to for recruiting. The guys we’re signing now will be the guys when I’m here. The type of guys we’re signing and why we’re signing them.

Well the future looks pretty bright.

JF: It really does. I’m going to tell you what, I think we could be a very good team this year and after this year we could be a really, really good team.

Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


Florida State enters Monday's Miami game as the front-runner to win the Atlantic Division (and last night's subpar performance by NC State's offense further validated that early pick, at least for now.) FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher has liked what he's seen this summer from every facet of his offense. And yes, the head-coach-in-waiting is keeping a watchful eye on the entire team, not just his offense. Here's the first part of our recent conversation:

Going into the summer, you had so many questions at wide receiver, but then guys started to shake out their legal issues. How confident are you in that group now?

Jimbo Fisher: Pretty confident. The challenge is how consistent will they perform, week in and week out, and keeping that focus, but we’ve got a good group of guys, and we’ve got a talented group of guys. You’re still always looking for consistency, but we’re seeing it more and more in practice every day.

Who do you think is going to be your go-to guy there? Any indications?

JF: It’s funny, there’s been a lot of guys. Rod Owens has had a super camp. Him and Rich Goodman have played well. [Jarmon] Fortson had some big scrimmages. Taiwan Easterling, he’s gotten back. There is no sign of his Achilles. He hasn’t missed a day. He hasn’t missed anything. He’s been good. [Louis] Givens coming back and doing some things. There’s a good group. Those first three guys have been the most consistent, but Bert Reed has had his big plays at times. They all bring a little something different to the table.

How good did it feel for you to be able to give Givens a scholarship?

JF: It was awesome, because he deserved it. He worked his tail off. He’s a great guy on special teams, and the numbers worked out. As people know, your numbers get screwed up sometimes to give a scholarship. There’s all kinds of legal implications, but it was super to be able to give it to him, and it was very well deserved.

How much more are you expecting out of your running game because the offensive line should be so much better, but they’re still young guys back there?

JF: They are, they’re still young. Jermaine has had a great camp, Ty’s gotten healthy now, and is really starting to come on, kept his weight up. There should be a good group. We feel very confident we’ll be able to run the football, and we have to be able to run the football.

You guys made a lot of strides in that area last year. I think it was some of the best numbers you’ve produced in a while. Is that because of the development of the offensive line? How do you see that growth continuing there?

JF: I see it continuing. I think our line grew, they got very good. Rick Trickett did a great job, and two, if you look at it, the ability for the receivers to have nice runs, the receivers did a good job running the football and the quarterback. You added a lot of yards, hidden yards people didn’t really see as much to a lot of different guys. The diversity helps, too.

What about Christian [Ponder]? You mentioned quarterback. I know last year he was banged up with his back, ribs, and all kinds of stuff. How much better can he be this year?

JF: I think he can be a lot better. I think he will be better. Especially as the consistency around him grows, you’re going to see his development grow. His confidence and his decision-making to know what people do and how they do it is going to grow. I think he’ll have a fine year, I really do.

Where did he make the biggest strides since last season?

JF: I think in just pure confidence. I think he knows he belongs here and he could be a heck of a player. When you’re confident in things, he really grabs ahold and his ability to learn and process information is very good.

Check back in a bit for Fisher's take on the Miami game and the NCAA's sanctions against coach Bobby Bowden.

SPONSORED HEADLINES