TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Jimbo Fisher met with the media Monday to discuss Florida State’s loss to Louisville and look ahead to Friday’s visit to Boston College (8 p.m., ESPN). Here are highlights from that conversation.
Fisher confirmed Monday that junior running back Jacques Patrick has torn cartilage in his knee and will have surgery this week. There is no timetable for Patrick’s recovery, although Fisher told Tallahassee radio host Jeff Cameron this morning that Patrick would “most likely” miss the rest of the season.
The injury is a difficult blow for Patrick, a former five-star prospect who waited his turn behind Dalvin Cook and had made the most of his opportunities this season. Patrick had run for 452 yards on 76 carries (5.7 YPC) and, along with freshman Cam Akers, formed a formidable duo in the backfield.
“It hurts,” Fisher said. “He broke down and cried. I about did too with him. It hurt me to have him do it, because it means everything to him.
“Finally all the little things were clicking for him, you know what I’m saying? And it’s a shame, it really is.”
In Patrick’s absence, Fisher said the Seminoles will lean more heavily on Akers, and that Amir Rasul, Ryan Green and Khalan Laborn could also see increased workloads.
Losses are hard enough, but the Seminoles have been dealt a number of especially painful defeats this season. Games against Louisville and Miami were decided in the final seconds, while the NC State game was in doubt in the last minute. FSU’s opener against Alabama was close in the second half, too.
Any one of those setbacks would be enough to test a team’s resolve, but Fisher said Monday that his goal is for the Seminoles to use that heartache to drive forward on their quest to get back to their usual standard.
“Unfortunately, you learn through adversity,” Fisher said. “You have to go through the experience, you’ve got to feel them. And I’ll be honest with you, we feel awful. There’s no easy way to say that loss is going to go away. That loss ain’t going away. You have to use it.
“It eats us up. It makes, coaches feel awful, players feel awful, we as an organization feel awful, just like the fans do. There’s no problem with that. I understand that. But what you’ve got to do is take those adverse moments and learn from them.”
It was easy to miss, given the circumstances, but defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas impressed both his teammates and coaches by being the one to bring down Louisville’s Lamar Jackson after a 51-yard run.
Christmas’ responsibilities as an interior lineman don’t usually require chasing quarterbacks down the field, but, according to Fisher, the 309-pounder went above and beyond to make the play.
“That shocked me when he did it,” Fisher said. “I had to double take and say, ‘Was that Christmas?’ All the way down there, 50 yards away.”
That type of play, and that type of effort, is what Fisher wants to see from everyone on the team as they move forward this season.
“This is what I’m talking about,” Fisher said. “(We want) to always give those guys visual images of what we want and how we want it. Those things, we do those constantly. I mean constantly.”
Florida State’s game-week routine will be accelerated over the next few days, as the Seminoles are set to play Boston College on Friday. That means one fewer practice and a condensed scheduled for the team’s usual preparation.
It may seem like another hurdle to clear, but Fisher took a matter-of-fact approach when asked about the adjustment.
“You either do it or don’t,” Fisher said. “You know the Nike saying, ‘Just do it?’ It’s about as good as it gets. What I mean is, all right, you remember that feeling you had walking off that field? We’ve got to put that behind us. … You’ve got to drive and that’s what’s got to push you.”
Boston College has built a reputation for stout defense during most of its time as a member of the ACC, but, in recent weeks, the Eagles have reinvented themselves as an unlikely offensive force.
BC scored 45 points in its win over Louisville two weeks ago, and followed that up with 34 points in a 41-10 victory over Virginia. It was the first time since 2002 that BC had scored 40-plus points in consecutive games.
The Eagles racked up 1,067 total yards during those two games, and redshirt freshman QB Anthony Brown was named the ACC rookie of the week following a 275-yard, three-touchdown performance.
“They got confidence, got over that hump and made plays,” Fisher said. “… They’re running the football, the quarterback is doing a much better job, I think. Making good decisions, good throws. (They’re) growing up, getting better, athletic. Hard to get on the ground.”