July 22, 2007
This weekend ACC Football Kick-Off took place at the Pinehurst Golf Resort and Spa. The home of the 2005 US Open Golf Tournament hosted 24 of the ACC’s best players and all 12 coaches. Seminoles.com was here all weekend covering the annual event. Today you can check out photos and quotes. Later this week Seminoles.com will take you behind the scenes with an exclusive video look at Antone Smith and Andre Fluellen with the media, on the golf course and at the driving range.
What does Florida State have to do to get back to where is was?
“We have to make a greater commitment to do all of the little things right. We had a lot of penalties last year; a lot of people were out of position last year. We have to eliminate all of that and do things right. The only game we really got it handed to us was Wake Forest. Other than that, we lost five games by a touchdown or less. One play here; one penalty there and we can eliminate a lot of that. I think it’s just doing the little things right. I look as Florida State as being a national championship contender every year.”
Can you put your finger on the disappointment of last year?
“I think a lot of it is just an attitude. I know that when I first got there (to Florida State) we were expected to win every game. Now is “we might win this game’ and `we might squeak by in this game’. It shouldn’t be like that. It should be expected that we are going to win every game.”
How do you get that attitude back?
“It comes from winning games. We have to go out – it’s going to be a tough game against Clemson at first – but I think that will set the standard for the season. If we can go out and have a really good game against Clemson, and pull that one out, than we can get that attitude back.”
On the 2006 Florida State vs. Clemson game.
“Clemson was a close game throughout the whole thing. They made some good plays. At the end they caught us when we weren’t ready. They had a 60-yard run on us while the defense was looking for the play from the sideline. The executed like they were supposed to. They had a few more plays than we had. That was it. It will probably be the same thing this year — a close game this year coming down to the wire.”
How is Florida State perceived right now?
“I think before that Florida State was perceived as going to be able to win the ACC every year. Now, Florida State is in the hunt, but you never know. I think that’s how it is now as compared to back then. I think we are trying to get back to the point where we will be in the ACC Championship every year. That’s our goal – to win the ACC Championship. That’s what we have worked for throughout the while summer and the entire off season.”
On the attitude of the team?
“I think everybody is pretty happy with what is going on right now at Florida State.”
On Jimbo Fisher as the Seminoles’ offensive coordinator.
“Jimbo Fisher is talking about getting me the ball as many times as he can. He’s not going to beat me up as far as running the ball up the middle a lot, but at the same time, he’s going to give me the ball and let me do what I do best to help the team win. I’m doing a lot of catching out of the backfield; motion out to the outside; the quarterback is checking down to the running back and things like that just to get me the ball as much as possible.”
On the current perception of the ACC.
“I think the ACC and the SEC are two of the premier conferences of the big conferences out there right now as far as the talent and the amount of great teams that are out there. Everybody thought Florida State and Miami would be those big schools – and then you add Virginia Tech to the picture – we had the down years and people say this is not a good conference any more and everybody goes to the Pac 10 and conferences like that. I’m not blaming them for that but they are entitled to think what they think.
On his vision of his role on the team
“I’m not a guy that really thinks about yardage. I’m all about team things. I’m happy at Florida State and I’m going to make the best of my decision here. It’s getting to the point that people know who I am. A lot of the guys who came before me are playing in the NFL so that makes it a little easier for me. It’s taken a little bit of stress off of me.”
What’s different with the five new assistant coaches
“The reason I think you should think differently is because the tempo has definitely changed. The way we do things is very different. These guys (the new assistant coaches) look at things totally differently. They are going back to the basics. They are taking us away from football itself and taking us back to the basics that you should have learned in Pop-Warner. It’s getting everybody back in that mindset of getting everybody our swagger back. That’s why they call it `The Awakening’,. We are bringing it back to how it should be. Everybody is buying into the system – we think we are going to be very good this year.”
On going back to the basics.
“These assistant coaches are going back to the basic things of football. They are letting you know what you are doing wrong and what you can do to improve. We haven’t put the ball on the ground too much as far as running backs. They are teaching us how to hold the ball to get a bigger advantage. We are definitely more accountable. Everybody is taking it upon themselves to do the right thing. We are lifting our teammates up when we are supposed to – everybody has each others back. We are even learning the proper way of spinning. They are teaching that and we are buying into the system.”
On running back coach Dexter Carter
“He’s bringing a young attitude. He’s been in situations that I have been in. Coming out of high school and getting to the league and he wasn’t the guy at all – he played a lot of special teams. He understands where we are coming from. I’ve got an ACC ring and I’m trying to get that national championship ring. He has plenty of credibility with us.”