TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher met with the media Monday to discuss last week’s win over South Florida and look ahead to Saturday’s home game against North Carolina. Here are highlights from that conversation:
1) ‘Do your job’
A new mantra seems to have taken hold at Florida State, and it should be plenty familiar to fans or followers of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
“Do your job,” Fisher said, in a variety of ways, on Monday, echoing much of what he said in his postgame press conference at USF.
He used the phrase in reference to Florida State’s offense, defense and special teams. And he used it as an answer when describing the difference between FSU’s loss at Louisville and its win at USF. The team simply did its job better against the Bulls.
“I know people think there’s magical formulas. There isn’t,” Fisher said. “Do. Your. Job. And do it every day and do it consistently, over and over and over until you’re bored. Then when you get bored, do it that much harder.”
2) A productive Dalvin Cook is good for everyone
Fisher was asked early on what a performance like the one Dalvin Cook had on Saturday – 267 rushing yards and two touchdowns – can do for the junior running back’s confidence moving forward.
Fisher laughed and said, “How about my confidence?”
Good point. The Seminoles’ offense is a different animal when Dalvin Cook is winding and weaving his way through opposing defenses the way he did against the Bulls. And, as the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. The offensive line – which had its best game of the season Saturday – can feed off of success in the running game, and, when defenses finally make adjustments to stop the run, it makes things easier on Deondre Francois and his receivers.
Fisher gave credit across the board for Cook’s big day. He praised the receivers for their downfield blocking, and noted that tight end Mavin Saunders might have had the best game of his career.
“It’s good,” Fisher said. “…All of a sudden you start getting confidence, and all of a sudden the things you thought were (difficult) ain’t so bad anymore. And I start playing fast, I quit thinking. I start reacting and I play football. Now we’ve got to go back and do it again this week.”
3) Derwin James may be ahead of schedule
Good news for Florida State’s defense, as Fisher said Monday that safety Derwin James may be a little ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery.
James had an operation to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee two weeks ago.
“He actually had a little bit of weight on it the other day, which was shocking,” Fisher said. “I thought it would be another week, week and a half before that. They say he’s recovering good.
Fisher jokingly suggested that the key to James’ fast healing may be found in his hometown of Haines City, Fla.
“He’s got whatever is in that Polk County mud.”
4) Dealing with dual-threats
Defending dual-threat quarterbacks has been a sore spot lately, as both Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and USF’s Quinton Flowers ran up big yardage totals against the Seminoles in back-to-back weeks.
While he isn’t content to just let that slide, Fisher did note that dealing with a player who can both pass and run effectively is a problem for defensive coordinators across the country.
“Name me a team that doesn’t have trouble with dual-threat quarterbacks,” he said. “That’s part of it. That’s the way of the world (in college football) and the way people do the things. The best team in the country, Alabama, has trouble with them. Ohio State, everybody has trouble with them. That’s it.”
But Fisher isn’t offering excuses, either.
“I don’t care what everybody else does. We have to get better at what we’re doing,” Fisher said. “Do your job. Eye control, gap control and be physical at the line of scrimmage.”
Speaking of quarterbacks …
5) UNC’s Trubisky ‘a pain in the tail’
North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky is mobile enough to escape pressure, but he’s not the same type of runner as Jackson or Flowers.
Trubisky, however, may be one of the best passers the Seminoles face this season.
The junior is averaging 326 passing yards per game, and he’s thrown 10 touchdowns without a single interception.
He’s performed in big spots, too, having guided the Tar Heels to three fourth-down conversions on their late, game-winning drive against Pittsburgh last week.
“I like him, but he’s going to be a pain in the tail,” Fisher said with a smile. “He can throw it, he can move, he can run, he makes good decisions. He’s a competitor. He’s big, he’s strong (6-3, 220 pounds) he’s hard to get down in the pocket. Arm strength underneath, run-pass options, he does it all. I mean, he’s a really, really good player.”