TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher met with the media Monday to discuss last week’s loss to Clemson and look ahead to Saturday’s contest at North Carolina State (7 p.m., ESPNU). Here are highlights from that conversation.
1) Officials ‘have a tough job, too’
Fisher was first asked if he had spoken with the ACC office since Saturday’s game and said that he hadn’t yet, but that, even if he did, he won’t make those conversations public.
Otherwise, when it comes to officiating, Fisher said, “We either agree to agree or agree to disagree and move on.”
That said, Fisher did reiterate that appreciate the difficult position that the officials are in and knows that, like anyone else, thing likely won’t ever be perfect.
“There’s always questions and no one’s perfect,” he said. “Trust me, I understand that. They have a tough job, too.”
2) More praise for ‘Noonie’
On the heels of the best game of Nyqwan “Noonie” Murray’s career, Fisher once again praised the sophomore receiver not only for his efforts during the game, but also for his commitment in practice.
The Orlando native caught six passes for 96 yards and touchdown on Saturday.
“I think (Murray) was a really bright spot for the game,” Fisher said. “Been very anxious for him to play.”
Fisher had good things to say about Murray’s route-running and also noted that he can be dangerous as a punt returner.
While Fisher did not update the status of senior receiver Jesus Wilson (foot), Murray has likely played his way into an increased role regardless of when Wilson returns.
“Very proud of the way he’s developed,” Fisher said. “I love him. He’s a great kid. He’s very smart.”
3) Marshall’s loss hurts secondary
There’s a clear line that can be drawn from Saturday’s game – before Trey Marshall was ejected for targeting and after.
The Tigers had scored 20 points through three quarters and, despite moving the ball fairly well, had yet to fully get the best of FSU’s defense.
Clemson, however, scored two touchdowns and a field goal on the three drives it had after Marshall left the game, including the 34-yard catch-and-run by Jordan Leggett that proved to be the game-winner.
Fisher said after the game Saturday that he did not believe Marshall should have been penalized. The junior safety will also miss the first half against NC State on Saturday.
“I think it definitely (impacted the defense),” Fisher said, while noting that, in addition to Derwin James and Nate Andrews, FSU was down three safeties after Marshall’s ejection.
Ermon Lane and Calvin Brewton finished the game at safety for FSU.
“So you’re talking about three guys in that position of safety that makes calls and angling and it did affect (the game),” Fisher said. “Trey, again, is one heck of a football player on top of that.”
4) Sacks, pressure not all on offensive line
Quarterback Deondre Francois was sacked six times on Saturday and pressured many more times. And while Fisher allowed that FSU’s line still has room to grow, he also noted that the Seminoles’ pass-blocking issues weren’t entirely on the O-line.
“We had some on the fullbacks and tight ends,” Fisher said. “We had the (defensive) ends doubled and they split (the double teams). … and one sack (Francois) did take early on that he should have thrown it away.”
Fisher said he expects the starting five to remain the same, but that other players getting work in practice.
“Right now, those guys are showing they play the most consistent,” he said. “You’re never satisfied because, even when you’re perfect, you want to go push up. We’ve got to get better in a lot of areas, though, up there.”
5) A different feel between UNC, Clemson games
While the results were the same, Fisher came away from last week’s loss to Clemson feeling much different than when the Seminoles lost to North Carolina earlier this season.
That’s not to say he wasn’t disappointed with the outcome. Only that Fisher could see obvious signs of growth and progress during Saturday’s game.
“This team is growing and getting much better,” Fisher said. “The competitive series, the things they do, their toughness, their mindset.
“Those kids, they did against North Carolina (too), but they’re leaving everything out there. They’re playing the way you want to play as far as the effort and snap.”