It wasn’t expected to be much of a battle. But Florida St. still had some questions answered in their 59-16 rout against Texas St. on Saturday. Head Coach Jimbo Fisher talked about what he learned from the game:
COACH FISHER: We officially got the first game in the books. Just trying to get some real nice things in the game and got a lot of things we’ve got to clean up at the same time, kind of where I thought we’d be. Very proud of a lot of youth, 23 redshirt freshmen played in the game. That’s a lot of youth. The way they handled the moment, the way they played, I was very proud.
I thought our team played with great effort in the game in all three phases, as far as their effort. They all played with good toughness in the game. Still got to get better in all those areas. There’s always room for improvement in that stuff. I like the demeanor and the way we’re going there, and young guys didn’t get caught up in the lights. Even if they made a mistake, they were going full speed, flying around and being physical in the football game, which I thought was very important.
In the game as far as defense, I was very proud the way we getting leverage on them. That’s a very difficult team to defend. What I mean, the multitude of things they did that can cause gap control, eye violations, leverage issues, and throwing the ball deep on you and things. Our guys did a tremendous job.
One time we had one little play and gap control was good, leverage, tackling in space was good, swarming to the football with good leverage, not letting cutbacks and things get out. Passes that were completed, I thought we contested pretty well and tackled well once we got there. Got good pressure on the quarterback. He didn’t hold the ball very long, but we still got pressure on him. Got a lot of different looks — quarterback run, option, inside run. Very pleased overall defensively with how we played in the football game.
Still if you look at it, there’s still so many little things that can really make a difference and really improve us. We’re going to have to continue to push on that and continue to build depth.
Offensively, we did a nice job of communicating. There were multiple looks and multiple blitzes. Guys not turning guys free, getting in and out of the right plays for the most part. Picked up the blitz on the run in, passed well, ran blocked downfield well. Our receivers and skill guys did a nice job of blocking, extending plays, making more big plays. Our backs ran pretty well.
Still probably missed some cuts. Could play a little cleaner, but very efficient. I thought Everett did a nice job with his first game. Some things he’s got to get cleaned up, made good decisions with the ball, pretty accurate for the most part. Some little things on the offense and the round of guys, and they’ll continue to really grow. All of our young players did a nice job there.
Special teams, I thought our return game was much better and the kickoff return. Thought we blocked well, put hats on hats, kicked the seams, and got our skill guys out in space and were able to run. If we missed one block, we were able to clean it up with another guy. Just played very efficient in that area.
And our punt game, the punt coverage was excellent. We just didn’t do a good job of kicking the football. Need to kick the football better and more consistently. What we did hadn’t been going all camp.
Kickoff coverage teams, when we did kick, we covered extremely well inside the 20. We had two errant kicks by Roberto, which is very rare. That happens. That’s very rare for him to do that. We’ve got to get that cleaned up. That shows everybody, you never know, take nothing for granted. That’ why as coaches, you wonder why we worry all the time? He’s one of the best kickers out there, and he even had a few sloppy kicks.
A PAT, our field goal teams looked good in that area. And our punt return game, Bobo did a really nice job stepping up in the game and taking that role over. I was very pleased with him. We need to work the other guys in that area. That was disappointing there. We live and learn, and we were able to overcome those mistakes, which can be critical. I thought that’s actually what gave the defense the points in which they got. I think defensively we could have possibly had a shutout with that first group for a while.
So a lot of areas we could clean up, a lot of areas we did well in. That’s why I said, we’re going to be a work in progress, and this team is hopefully going to continue to grow each week and learn from the mistakes and continue to do the things it does well.
Of course, we have a great opponent coming this week in South Florida. They played very well. Very physical on defense. Hardly didn’t give up a first down until the second quarter. Tackled well. You see them playing extremely hard, very good scheme in what they do.
Offensively, they switched out and went to more of a spread look, using the athletes more, the skill guys more, which they always have. Did a real nice job, scored 50 points in the game. The kicking game is very sound. They cover kicks.
This is going to be a very good football team. We’ll have to play very well, and we’ll have to prepare very well.
Q. How did you come out from a hold standpoint?
COACH FISHER: Good. We had no — a couple little bangs and bruises, but nothing that — guys will be at practice and be in the game. Everything’s fine.
Q. In an opener, I guess any year, but especially a team with so many new guys, were you even kind of anticipating like — were you even surprised maybe by some things you saw and just —
COACH FISHER: I don’t know if I would say surprised, but just I was very optimistic and wanted to think that but just wanted to see it in person before I confirmed it. I was very pleased with the communication — the checking, the getting in and out, the adjustments on the offensive front, communicating it to our backs and tight ends and all those things in that area.
On defense, I was very pleased with some of the youth we had and how we had to keep great gap control and leverage on that football. Going in, I was very concerned because they are a very difficult scheme to defend in those areas, and I was very pleased with those areas.
Q. Everett, it seems like even after one of the touchdown passes, he came over and you were still telling him maybe something he could have done differently.
COACH FISHER: Yeah, you look at it, and we get caught up in the results sometimes, but there’s a process you have to go through with the ball handling, the things, the eye control, where you’re looking at, maybe a blitz pickup here and there, and you do it when it’s fresh in their mind so it can click in their mind right then and they adjust.
When you’re a quarterback, there’s so many things that can happen. People don’t understand. You never stop coaching. And you can over coach a guy because you can have him worrying too much. But at the same time, there’s key areas you’ve got to make sure he’s aware of on little things. Like I say, things out there that really separate the average quarterbacks from those good ones and those good ones from those great ones, and he’s able to do that, I think, in time, and I just wanted to point those things out. I was very pleased overall with his performance.
Q. How long did it take him — and maybe wasn’t at all — to be comfortable with the pre-snap reads and the checking and stuff like that?
COACH FISHER: It’s still a lot of work in progress. Still a lot of work in progress going on with that as we expand and do different things and where we’re going. For right now, what we’ve got now, I think he’s doing a nice job.
Q. Strictly from a physical standpoint, it seemed like he made a lot of variable of throws from the far hash to the outside bounds.
COACH FISHER: His arm strength and ability to get the ball to all parts of the field, deep part of the field, underneath, field out throws, those kinds of things. He can make all those throws, there’s no doubt. And the key is he’s doing a great job with his footwork, balance and body control, because you do throw the ball with your feet. You’ve got to have your footwork and balance and body control in place.
Q. You spoke about what his mobility can do for the passing game, but for the run game, having the read option, just having the threat of a guy that can run, what does it do for Dalvin and —
COACH FISHER: It’s good, but we’ve always done that. We did it with E.J. and Jameis. It’s always an element of our game that we’re always going to have, but it’s good to have his ability to run. It helps.
Q. After watching the game, who was the best on the offensive line?
COACH FISHER: Rod. Rod plays well. I thought the two guards played really well too. And Martinez and Ruble, for young guys, freshmen in there, I thought they did a really nice job, but they’ve got a ways to go.
Q. Did Rod dominate his guy?
COACH FISHER: For the most part he did. I thought he had a good game. Our players of the game on offense were Dalvin Cook on offense, and then it was Jalen Ramsey and Giorgio Newberry on defense.
I’m going to tell you a guy that jumped out there, Jalen played super, did a tremendous job all over, physical, covering all those things. But Giorgio, you’ve got to watch that film now. Giorgio is playing football. That guy can change us. He’s 6’7″, 300 pounds that can run and play inside or outside. Did a really nice job in the game, really nice job.
DeMarcus Walker played well. Terrance Smith played well. Brutus did a real nice job of controlling everything and running things back there. Very pleased with a lot of guys on that defensive side of the ball.
Q. What changed for Giorgio? Something that Coach Lawing has done with him? A light bulb come on?
COACH FISHER: It’s called when you’re juniors and seniors. If you guys would just be patient. I try to tell you that all the time.
But you don’t ever know. Just when a guy decides. Sometimes there’s the urgency. You get to your junior and senior years and say I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to grow up. I’ve got to do those things. I’ve been on him at times and rode him extremely hard, but the guy is playing great football now, and he can be a huge difference in our football team.
It’s fun to watch guys do that, especially in today’s times where we want to kick them out by the sophomore year if they’re not great players, want to run them off their bus in the recruiting world. We forget that. That’s hopefully how things continue to grow.
Q. You changed positions, and sometimes it takes guys a little while to pick up a new position.
COACH FISHER: I don’t necessarily think that’s part of it. He could always do that. I think he just decided he wanted to be a football player. Sometimes you’ve got to — it’s like I say, you can coach your kids and teach your kids all you want, when they walk out the door of their house, they’ve got to decide what they want to be. You can coach a guy all you want. When he walks in between the white lines, he’s got to decide what he wants to be. Sometimes that just takes guys longer than others, and I’m very proud of what he’s doing right now.
Q. Sometimes it never happens?
COACH FISHER: Exactly. Sometimes it doesn’t. You don’t never know why. That’s the nights that I lay — that I don’t sleep. Why could I not reach him? Why could I not get to that guy? Why could I not make a difference in that guy? Why could I not hit the button that made it happen?
I’m not saying me, but as a head coach, that’s your responsibility. Coach Lawing had done a great job with him, our defense, but at the end of the day — everybody can do a great job with him. But at the end of the day, the actual person who does it has to make up his mind to do it.
Q. You said you didn’t want to watch any or too much film of Everett from his days at Notre Dame. With practices, scrimmages and now a game, what’s been the assessment of Everett?
COACH FISHER: He has a chance to be a very good quarterback. He’s doing a nice job, adapting well, working hard, and hopefully he’ll continue to play well. I like a lot of his attributes. He’s doing a good job of managing the game, interacting with his teammates, leading, doing those kinds of things, and learning our offense and doing a great job at decision making and accuracy.
He’s got a ways to go, but I’m very happy with where he’s at. I think he’s a very good player.
Q. What are your impressions of Corey Martinez and Brock Ruble?
COACH FISHER: Like I said, young guys that played well. Played well in their opening game, did a really nice job. Going to be really, really good players, but they’ve got to continue to grow in what they’re doing and where they’re at. I’m happy they’re with us. They’re going to be really good players.
Q. Will Bobo be the punt returner —
COACH FISHER: Yes. Right now, yes.
Q. You touched on it after the game. It seemed like your defense really rallied to the ball.
COACH FISHER: I thought we ran, pursued the ball, good pursuit angles, knew what was going on. I played very crisp, sharp, aggressive.
Q. Rest of it, though, is that something you noticed even on the sidelines —
COACH FISHER: No doubt. I thought we were swarming the football, tackling well, and getting to where we needed to get to. They got the message. That’s something we preached extremely hard in spring practice and fall camp.
Q. How much does that help too when your best player on defense is a cornerback who likes to body slam guys?
COACH FISHER: When your cornerback is a tough guy, when he’s a leader, when he’s that kind of guy, it’s hard not to. You see those skill guys play like that, it’s hard not to when you’re supposed to be the physical guys on the team.
Q. So Jalen helps in that respect?
COACH FISHER: Big time. And he’ll tell you if you don’t.
Q. Jalen said he felt a chemistry, a difference with this defense from spring now. Can you sense that?
COACH FISHER: Yes, I do. I sense they’re hungry, there’s a chip on their shoulder. A lot of guys want to prove a lot of things.
Q. Could you talk about that 17 jersey, kind of the process in getting it.
COACH FISHER: I think he was talking with Charlie, and Charlie kind of suggested to him, I think. He was talking about another number he could wear, and he was joking with numbers, and it came up. Charlie suggested that to him.
I think Charlie has great respect for him and the kind of young man he is, what he represents as a student-athlete and as a person. Jalen was very honored to be able to do that.
I wanted to make sure with Charlie there wasn’t something conceived with them to push — Charlie is a unique individual. Charlie is one of the most unique guys to be around. To be a guy of that magnitude and have that impact on the program and one of the true superstars that ever played here in college football history, but it’s never about Charlie.
I know why Charlie won a Championship now that I met him. It’s never about Charlie. It’s about whoever he can help, whatever he can do for his school, whatever he can do for somebody else. He’s one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever been around.
He thought that would be a great gesture, have Jalen do it. I wanted to make sure that was the thing, and we talked. It’s an honor for him. I think it’s tremendous he’s letting Jalen do that. I think Jalen will represent that number very well.
Q. Have you had players do that before? Not only reaching out to others to grab their number, but also changing it in the middle of the game?
COACH FISHER: I’ve had — change numbers, yes, I have. I’ve had that quite a few times. I’ve had linemen do it. I’ve had guys do it for certain situations, extra tight ends on the field, different things like that that you put in.
But retired numbers and things, most of them, that don’t ever happen. They’re retired for a reason. Charlie’s different.
Q. You’ve been demanding of the receivers back to spring and preseason camp, and it seemed like they caught a lot of balls and had good catches on the sidelines and things like that. Also the routes, Bobo’s route for the touchdown looked like a good one.
COACH FISHER: Really good route. That’s what they’ve got to understand. It’s not about ability. It’s about precision. It’s about detail. Everybody out there can run and jump. Hopefully, that will carry on. That’s something we’re not going to get off because, if you want to be a great passing football team, the precision and timing it takes to do that is relentless, and you have to be one of those guys who stays focused all the time.
When it does, you can see the results of what happens. When it’s not, it can be one step at a bad angle where you stepped across yourself and up — I mean, little things in the passing game. That’s why people — a lot of people say, well, in the old days — there’s so much to it. There’s a lot of teaching to it, but when it’s on and you can do things the right way, it’s really pretty.
Q. Jalen’s long kickoff return, is that exactly why it’s worth the risk of having him back there?
COACH FISHER: That’s something. When Deion Sanders was back there, Terrell Buckley was back there, when Rocket Ismail was back there, why would you not put one of your best players with the ball in his hand? How is that a risk? What are you risking? That your best player doesn’t touch the ball? I thought that was the object.
Everybody says it’s a risk. Deion Sanders was one of the best punt returners in the history of the game. Terrell Buckley, one of the best returners in the history of the game. When you put your best returners with the ball — Vanover was a receiver, right? You get open space and get a chance to put your best players with the ball in their hand, you’re going to do it? I don’t see it as a risk. I think it’s stupid if you don’t.
Q. How’s Lorenzo doing?
COACH FISHER: Well, he’s progressing. I don’t think he’ll be ready this week, but hopefully by the end of next week.
Q. Jimbo, you started Kermit Whitfield, and you said a lot of good things about him during camp. Did he earn that? Is that why he started?
COACH FISHER: It was the most consistent guys and the guys that play the best. There ain’t no age limit, and I don’t care who you are. You play the best, you play. You don’t, you don’t. Everybody else — I don’t decide who plays, they do by what they do daily.
That’s who we thought had the best camp and who we come through camp with.
Q. You thought he had the best camp among all receivers?
COACH FISHER: No, but deserved a start. I thought Bobo probably had the best camp of everybody.
Q. On the long pass, did he turn the wrong way? Did Everett throw it a little —
COACH FISHER: No, he turned right. He got tied up on the way and stopped running and had to accelerate back for the ball, which wasn’t there. He needed to run through and avoid the guy a little better, would have been a little cleaner and probably easier to read.
We could have pulled him over to the other side, but we couldn’t tell because of how they were related going down the field. Like I said, there’s a lot of little things we’ve got to get cleaned up.
Q. How is that relationship between Everett and all those guys? So many guys with so much depth there. What are you learning about those young receivers particularly?
COACH FISHER: Well, they have to understand precision and timing and the relentless pursuit of perfection on how you do things.
As a receiver, you have to be a technician. You go back and listen to all the great receivers — the Jerry Rices of the world, all those guys that talk about how they ran routes. The precision and timing and the discipline, everybody said — Michael Irvin was another one.
All summers they would go run routes in pads and go with their quarterbacks one-on-one, and how precise. Everybody thinks, you see the great athleticism, but the athleticism can never be used until the precision is there, and I think that’s the key these guys got to understand, and we’ve got to continue to push on.
Q. That’s got to take a lot of time for a freshman, right?
COACH FISHER: There is no doubt. So you’re learning how — the guys that are smart and can learn quickly progress faster.
Q. Jimbo, obviously, Quinton Flowers is the USF quarterback, a guy that can move around and is dangerous with his feet. What’s the key as a coach to kind of mitigating that run factor with a quarterback?
COACH FISHER: Hit him. Be physical with him. Keep great leverage on him. When they run it, you’ve got to make them feel it. You’ve got to hit him, and you got to make him understand. You’ve got to keep great gap control just like you do with a rack. You got to keep gap control inside when you rush him, but you can’t sit back and not pressure him and get after him and let him sit back there.
I think you’ve got to keep great leverage on the ball and understand it in second contain, when a guy moves and get second contain and get great pursuit angles.
Q. Coach Fisher, talk about Golson on Saturday. In the first half, it seemed like he was — was he nervous in the first half or just —
COACH FISHER: No, he went 7 for 9. He went 7 for 9 and played very well in the first half. I thought he played very well. We just were running the football, and that was kind of the game plan of things we were doing. He was very efficient in the first half. I thought he played very well.
Q. What do you see with South Florida this week? I know they’re a Florida school that play in the American Conference. What do you see getting ready for that game on Saturday?
COACH FISHER: You look on defense, guys on defense that really chase the football, physical on the front four. The one D-tackle was committed to us, No. 10 from Immokalee, he was committed to us. I mean, Deadrin, he was there. He was a good player, big guy inside.
James Hamilton, we recruited the heck out of him. The edge guys can run. They’re long. They’re big. The linebackers are very physical. Tajee Fullwood, we recruited the heck out of him. A lot of their guys we did. They can run. They’re very good on defense.
Backs are excellent, tailbacks, good skill receivers. We recruited a couple of those guys. Big physical guys up front. The quarterback Flowers, we recruited him. He’s athletic and can run. They’re a very good, athletic football team.
Q. What do you like having two running backs? Cook had a good game, plus you had the other guy. What’s it like having two running backs in the backfield?
COACH FISHER: Cook and Pender, those guys, I’ve been saying all camp, they’ve played extremely well and done a good job. Very happy with them and their progress. I thought you saw the two young backs. When they did get in there, you saw why I’ve been talking about those guys. They’re going to be good players too. Very happy with that group. At running back, you know you can never have enough of those guys.
Q. It seemed like Travis Rudolph and Eberle and Bobo as well, all the receivers really bought into blocking downfield. What’s it take for those guys to really buy into that?
COACH FISHER: Bench time. Don’t play. Don’t get no balls thrown to you. It’s like I tell them, you’re around here, you’re going to play on special teams. You’re going to block. And backs that don’t pick up blitzes don’t get runs. It’s that simple. You make them be complete and make them be selfless players and play for the guys beside them.
You want the back to pick up the blitz when you want a pass, you’ve got to block the safeties in the corners when they break contain. It’s got to be selfless. It’s got to be an education process. Why it’s important, how it’s important, what we’ve got to do. Our guys are doing a real good job. We emphasize it in practice and put a lot of time in the physicality of our receivers.
Q. A lot of those guys [indiscernible].
COACH FISHER: This team is a very close team. This is not — when you go see them, offense, defense, this group hangs together. They’re a family. They really are. They hang together and stay together a lot, and they care about each other.
Like I say, we have a saying, plays don’t care who makes them. Somebody is going to make them. My turn this time, your turn next time, whatever it is. Just play hard and do your job and do your job well, whatever it may be.
Q. Ryan Izzo got his first start against Texas. How did he do?
COACH FISHER: Excellent. One little holding call they called late, which he held a little bit, but it was out of great effort and tenacity. I was extremely pleased with how he blocked. And it was Kerr too. I thought Kerr did a really nice job of blocking in the game, and Mavin is going to do a nice job when he gets in there. I thought Izzo had a really, really good football game.
Q. Saw something out of practice making his first start, but you never know until you get a guy out there?
COACH FISHER: Exactly. That’s the nerves you put out there until the lights actually matter, the scoreboard is lit up. In practice, they’re not lit up where the numbers are, just the time or something like that. You always worry. But the way he’s worked in camp, and Coach Brewster has done a great job with them. Those guys are ready to play.
Q. Jimbo, when’s the last time you slept past 11:30? You remember the last time anybody slept that late?
COACH FISHER: Slept past 11:30?
Q. Say you’ve got an 11:30 kickoff, last time anybody slept in until 10:00, 11:00, 11:30?
COACH FISHER: I couldn’t tell you any time. Honestly, it’s been — I couldn’t tell you when. I don’t ever stay in bed that long, I promise you that. I can’t.
Q. Do the kids try?
COACH FISHER: The kids today? You’re daggum right they will. No doubt about that in a heartbeat. They grew up here. They didn’t grow up on a farm. On a farm, you got up when the chickens got up.
Q. Was part of the reason you have those early scrimmages because you —
COACH FISHER: I timed it right at 11:30. Everything we did was 11:30. Be up and have a pregame meal at 7:30 and everything else. That was part of it because I knew it would be something different.
Q. With the chunk plays early in the run game, how much did that build confidence for the offensive line?
COACH FISHER: Tremendous. Also with the receivers and tight ends and the fullbacks. Freddie Stevenson, you go back and look at Freddie was blocking downfield. He was flipping some guys now. Freddie can run the football, caught the football. Freddie’s a complete fullback and is very pivotal in what we do.
I always say the offensive line is responsible for the first five. After that, it’s the skill guys and the back’s individual ability. They got through there untouched, which allowed them to make the second level guys miss, and those guys are doing a good job blocking on the second level, which all goes hand in hand. It’s a huge confidence booster.
I say this all the time, turnovers influence the game more than anything, but chunk plays and big plays are next. You’ve got to make them, and you’ve got to eliminate them on the defensive side.
Q. Monty and Chad were both really good. Is Freddie at that level —
COACH FISHER: Freddie has a chance to be really special. Freddie is bigger. He’s more athletic. Freddie’s a big guy at 240 pounds. He can do some things. Freddie’s got a chance to be a really special fullback.
Q. On that return down the sideline, what was going through your mind when he made that back flip or flipped over like that?
COACH FISHER: That’s football. I don’t worry about those things. How many times that goes on in a football game? The guy’s getting cut, guy’s knee flopped out. That’s ball, man. You just play. That’s our world. That’s normal.
Q. What kind of weapon is it to have Dalvin and Pender in the same backfield together?
COACH FISHER: Tremendous. Because of the great — to have two guys that fast but also two guys that can catch the football and can block for each other, that’s the thing. They both can be like fullbacks if they have to be. Don’t matter which one leads, which one is running the ball, blocking, whatever it may be. To have two guys and you’ve got to account for them and they’re both great inside runners, you know what I’m saying?
That standpoint, you don’t mind calling anything when they’re in the football game.
Q. And Pender was really good in the Syracuse game last year before he got hurt.
COACH FISHER: I keep saying that.
Q. People forget this kid is a legit big time running back or can be.
COACH FISHER: And in the Clemson game, had some big runs in the Clemson game and had nice plays early in the season. He was really playing great football. Out of sight, out of mind, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Dalvin was so dynamic.
But this guy has a lot of juice for us too. He can be a really special player, and he’s worked really hard. He’s up to 245 pounds. These guys put the mass on. They’re strong.
Q. It wasn’t a touchdown, I guess the kid fell down at the 2 or 3 on that play.
COACH FISHER: It was a run/pass option, and that’s the one I said — the one play Jalen does make a mistake, and he was trying to be aggressive, thinking it was a true run. He read run, but it’s an option, and the linemen were not downfield. You’ve got to just lock on that guy. You know what I’m saying? He came off one play.
That’s a lot of that spread football. That’s why I say the discipline, you know what I mean, and also keeping great leverage on the ball. That’s why that offense is such a pain in the tail. There’s a lot of — and eye control.
Q. And sometimes with quarterbacks, you talked about wanting to see how they come off the field, do they know — you know, if they made a mistake, do they know what’s going on? How did you feel?
COACH FISHER: Very good. Communication was very good. Soft coverages, what do you see? Yeah, that’s what we’re getting to. Didn’t see this on the run check, pass check, the fronts, what they’re doing — his communication for the most part, what came off to me, was really much right on what we were seeing too.
Q. You had 13 guys caught passes. How does that rotation work? Is there a set number of plays?
COACH FISHER: Best players play. There’s certainly things we like to do, but, hey, best guys play. We’ll keep it up until we get what we need to get point-wise, and then other guys get to play. You want to play in that rotation, play at their level. If you can raise your game to that level, you’ll be in that rotation. If you don’t, you won’t.
Q. You played a lot of young guys. Any that you’re still hoping to get in?
COACH FISHER: I’m trying to think who we didn’t get in.
Q. You got a lot in.
COACH FISHER: We got a lot in. Off the top of my head, there’s none I can think of — I lot of those guys early, from Derwin and Josh Sweat, all those guys getting in the game really early, even Tarvarus McFadden, all those guys got in there. There was a — I’m trying to think off the top of my head. Not really.
Q. You mentioned Sweat. The versatility you have on defensive line, like the fact [indiscernible]?
COACH FISHER: The ends have enough girth inside to play the run. Giorgio is still 300, and DeMarcus is still 285. Having those guys in there and the versatility and the push and the quickness makes a big difference and using our personnel. That’s very critical. I think that’s how we’ve got to do on offense-defense. We’ve got these guys. We’ve got to create packages for them and create problems for the other team.
Q. That the most depth on the defensive line?
COACH FISHER: A couple years, we had a couple when we got Jacoby and them back that year, with Goldman and those guys, there was quite a few. But maybe numbers, but that year we had quite a few of those guys too.
Q. With all these numbers, is that something you expect to play a lot of players every week?
COACH FISHER: Yes, you’ve got to do. I think the wear and tear of the season, that’s part of our whole GPS process too. The wear and tear of the body, being fresh. Teams now go no huddle. So you know what, you say, okay, it’s a 12-game season. Not really. It’s a 15, 18-game season. That team averages 20 more plays a game, 25 plays a game, after three or four games, it’s a whole game. So you’re averaging more snaps, which equates to more games. The more bodies you have, keep your guys fresh, they can play great football, all that matters. All that matters.
Q. Is that part of your philosophy to recruit more of those defensive linemen?
COACH FISHER: You’ve got to. And be able to have different packages on the field, rush the passer, play the run, play the spread team, play the physical team. Those guys — there’s very few times you can find one guy fits all needs.
Q. Josh Sweat, was he your best freshman?
COACH FISHER: I thought a lot of them were outstanding. I couldn’t say that.
Q. How did he play?
COACH FISHER: Played well. At the end, had a couple of little plays at the end, I wish he played a little harder in the fourth quarter, but early in that game when he arm bars you, he can hold the point. When he transitions from speed to power, can rush a passer, plays relentless, long armed. He can do a lot of things. He’s got a chance to be a really, really good football player.
Q. How do you think Derwin played?
COACH FISHER: I thought he covered. That’s the thing about Derwin. Everybody loves how physical and strong he is, but Derwin is really a back end player that can come up and tackle because he’s so skilled and fluid. You wouldn’t think a guy that big and strong would have the fluidity to come in and cover, but he does. He has tremendous ball skills. He played a great football game.
Q. With the time that Dalvin missed this summer, were you shocked at the way he fell into the group?
COACH FISHER: I didn’t know football-wise in practice if he would adjust to blocking and all that to get back into the football part of it, but Dalvin is such a workaholic. His body and his workouts, he’s just a guy — I never doubted would not come back in physical condition and shape and all those things. You just want him to get hit a few times and run between the tackles, but it’s been natural.
Q. [Indiscernible] Dalvin?
COACH FISHER: Exactly. I think he’s even much more mature. He’s really emerging into a leader. Doing a really nice job of leading and influencing guys on the team.
Q. Dalvin and Pender obviously both very talented. They have somewhat different styles. Does it challenge the defense when there are multiple talented backs?
COACH FISHER: It does because of how you’ve got to play. Everybody says they’re different. I don’t know. I think they’re probably more similar than they are different. I really do. Both tremendous. Dalvin is — I mean, Dalvin is more boom, boom, boom, and burst really quick, but when Pender sticks that foot in the ground and goes, he may be even more sudden than Dalvin is in that regard. They’re different, but they’re similar too.
But the thing I like, the versatility. They can catch the ball. They can run inside runs. They can run outside runs. You can spread them out in the passing game if you want to and throwing passes, you know what I mean? That whole part of it makes them easy to give them the ball.
Q. Pender had a few plays like that where he stuck his foot in the ground and made the guys —
COACH FISHER: Check downs on flats out there. Second and ten, all of a sudden third and three. Third and ten one time, he makes the guy miss, and all of a sudden we get a first down. Covered the first two reads. Everett checked it down real nice. Going to get a little closer field goal. All of a sudden, with those guys, you don’t know. Make one guy miss and break a tackle, and all of a sudden, it’s a first down.
That versatility, that puts pressure on the defense. Now they say, wait a minute, I can’t give him that much space. Guess what? Throw the ball down the field and hit the open guy more. They create great pressure. When there’s great skill guys with the ball, it puts pressure on defense.
Q. Is that something in camp you let Everett know, don’t try to force it?
COACH FISHER: Exactly right. Let him use your personnel. That’s playing quarterback. People think that quarterback is throwing the ball down the field. No, it’s not. It’s making the right decision to move the football. However you’re going to move the football and make points and take care of it, that’s playing quarterback. There’s a lot of different ways, and everybody has their own opinion. You have to be a great decision-maker and be accurate and let those guys work for you.
Q. Did you pay attention at all to what Jameis did?
COACH FISHER: I saw the results, and I’m extremely happy for him. I’m glad it’s working out, all his hard work. Very happy for him. He’s a great young man.