TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher met with the media Monday to talk more about last week’s loss to North Carolina and look ahead to the Seminoles’ visit to No. 10 Miami on Saturday (8 p.m., ABC). Here are highlights from that conversation.
1) ‘Ain’t used to losing, ain’t going to get used to it’
Fisher on Monday started and ended his press conference the same way – by saying, “We ain’t used to losing, ain’t going to get used to it.”
“We’ll coach and get better,” Fisher said.
It was something of a theme for Fisher in the wake of Saturday’s last-second loss to the Tar Heels.
Yes, the Seminoles are disappointed and frustrated.
But Fisher believes the Seminoles still have a lot to play for, and that starts with a marquee matchup against Mark Richt and the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday.
“Any time you don’t play to your potential, you’re disappointed,” Fisher said. “Whether that’s being the No. 1 defense in the country or being the No. 15 defense in the country or being No. 30. Whatever your potential is, that’s your job as a coach – to try to get that potential out of your players.”
2) Fisher is evaluating, adjusting as needed
Which isn’t really all that different from usual.
Fisher has long insisted that he evaluates the Seminoles after every game, win or lose. And that won’t change after dropping two of their last three.
“We’ve changed scheme, we’ve moved personnel, we’ve moved guys around,” Fisher said. “We moved them in the last game – different positions they were asked to do.
“And we’ll continue to do that and evaluate in all phases. How we coach them, what we’re doing schematically to their personnel and those things.”
While the particular question Monday focused on FSU’s defense, Fisher also pointed out that the staff has made the same assessments on offense. He pointed to the way that the Seminoles have shuffled their offensive line through the first month of the season as an example.
3) Encouragement from previous seasons
Fisher has been in the coaching profession for nearly 30 years, which means he’s seen plenty of teams work their way through tough times in the middle of a season.
He was quick to remind on Monday that, even as the season nears its halfway point, the Seminoles are still evolving.
He used FSU’s 2011 team as an example. The Seminoles were 2-3 after five games, but rebounded to beat both Florida and Miami and then topped Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl.
“We ended up having a really good year,” Fisher said. “That actually propelled us into ’12 and ’13, for having the seasons we had.”
4) Miami adds ‘juice’ to game week
Nothing provides an opportunity for an FSU football team to wash a bad taste out of its mouth like a game at Miami.
The Seminoles have won six consecutive games against the Hurricanes, and a win Saturday would match the longest winning streak for either side in series history. (FSU won seven straight over UM between 1963 and 1972.)
For the first time since 2010, the Seminoles face UM as the lower-ranked of the two teams.
“I think you could have a little more juice. It could help,” Fisher said. “Hopefully it will help.
“It doesn’t help that Miami is real good,” he added with a laugh. “That never helps, no matter if we’re undefeated or not undefeated. And they’re a really good team, they present a lot of problems. But I think it will get the kids’ attention.”
5) Mavin emerging
A week ago, Fisher said that tight end Mavin Saunders might have had his best game as a Seminole during FSU’s win over South Florida.
Against North Carolina, Saunders, a native of Bimini, Bahamas, may have been even better. With three catches for 74 yards – including a long of 33 – Saunders exceeded his previous career receiving total in one game.
“He’s getting better and better,” Fisher said. “He’s understanding the game of football. And I know that sounds funny, but he’s only played two years. He grew up in the Bahamas. He didn’t grow up around football. He grew up around soccer.”
Saunders’ big day was part of a larger outburst for FSU’s tight ends. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Izzo added another four catches for 63 yards and, all told, tight ends accounted for 37 percent of quarterback Deondre Francois’ passing total (107 of 372 yards) against UNC