ACC Championship Game: Florida St’s Jimbo Fisher Discusses the Game

The oddsmakers think the Florida St./Duke is going to be a blowout. Florida St. is a 30 point favorites against the Blue Devils. But don’t tell that to Florida St. Jimbo Fisher. He discusses the matchup in a Monday press conference:

Duke right now is playing tremendous football. They’re on a great hot streak. They’ve won I think eight games in a row. Very balanced as an offense, can throw it, can run it. David has done a tremendous job with this group. They’re very big, they’re athletic and he’s done one heck of a job, and we’re going to definitely have to bring our “A” game, but we’re looking forward to the opportunity and looking forward to the challenge, and hopefully finishing off the season on a good note, the regular season here, until we get to the bowl games and where everyone is going to go.
But I think it’s a great opportunity. It’s a great venue there in Charlotte, and looking forward to playing Duke and the team that David has created there. They’ve done a tremendous job.

On what Duke has done this year to improve:
COACH FISHER: Well, in terms of Xs and Os I think it’s confidence in what they’re doing. I think last year they got into the first bowl game in a long time. David did a great job and he’s built their confidence, and I think they understand what they’re doing. And I think their quarterback, the two?headed quarterback situation is a very tough problem to have. They can both run and throw the ball, both of them equally, and I think just they’ve grown in confidence in everything that they’ve done, and they’ve become much bigger and more physical and they run better in the secondary and have just gotten overall better talent, and David has done a great job recruiting and developing his players.

On Duke’s two quarterback system:
COACH FISHER: Well, I think they’ve created roles for each other, and they understand what each guy is going to do. I’ll tell you the funny thing, being the head running quarterback and passing, now I think now both of them are throwing it and running it pretty equally. So I mean, they’re very tough guys to defend, and it gives them two different guys, and each guy is fresh.

On the importance of his solid relationship with Jameis Winston:
COACH FISHER: Well, I think it’s been very critical, and I think because on the field you have to be the boss, you have to be this is what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. But I think off the field they have to see that you care. If you’re going to coach them hard and demand from them, they’ve also got to know you care off the field, and I definitely do care not only for Jameis but for every one of our players. I’m very tough and challenge them to be the player they can become, not the one they are. But at the same time when they’re off the field let them know that we do care about you. I do care what happens to you as a person, as a student and everything else, and I think that’s critical time so that you can coach them the right way on the field, and I think that’s even more critical, like I say, to the relationship than when you get to the field.

On what he was doing when Auburn beat Alabama:
COACH FISHER: We were watching on the bus at five minutes to go. I actually heard it, I was driving home in my truck from the stadium. I was listening to it. I was driving home and had it on the radio, and I was just listening to what happened in the game, and I was going, huh? I never dreamed of it ending that way, either. Just caught me off guard and I had to get home and see it on TV. Kind of was astonishing, really was.

On if he would attempt a field goal under a similar situation:
COACH FISHER: If I had Roberto I would kick it. I mean, Nick knows his players better than anybody. We can all doubt, but you don’t know what that guys is capable of. He watches him every day, and he’s been hitting 60 yarders and he had the wind at his back, why not try and win that game on the road and have a kick, and the odds of that happening. Now, you’ve got to go over and cover him. I’ll guarantee Nick has coached that up, I promise you that. We do it here, and that’s the way we handle that.
There’s chances in everything you do. If he makes it, he’s a hero. You play to win the game, you don’t play not to lose the game.