TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The bye week is over and No. 1 Florida State’s preparation for No. 22 Clemson is full speed ahead.
The Seminoles host the Tigers on Saturday at 8 p.m. in a game that will be televised on ABC.
“(I’m) anxious to kick the week off,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday in his weekly press conference. “We had a really productive off week last week, I thought we did a great job with our fundamentals with some game prep. We got better in a lot of areas in my opinion. I’m looking forward to this week. Clemson (will give us) a ton of challenges. They’re still very dynamic on offense – all the different formations and sets and the way they get the ball to people.”
Clemson’s top two offensive threats for the past three years are no longer with the Tigers as All-American quarterback Tajh Boyd graduated, while dynamic wide receiver Sammy Watkins is now catching passes from EJ Manuel on the Buffalo Bills. Still, the Tigers’ offense has found success this year using the no-huddle and utilizing the quarterback tandem of senior Cole Stoudt and freshman Deshaun Watson. The Tigers put up 73 points against SC State in their last game on Sept. 6.
“They’re very multi-formational, very multi-personnel based,” Fisher said. “All those different things factor in the speed of what they do and they’re well-coached, they’ve got great athletes. They can catch it, run it, they can block and all combined is very effective.”
The Seminoles and the Tigers were the only two schools in the nation to finish the 2013 season in the top 25 in scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense and total defense. While Clemson lost its top playmakers on offense, it returned some veteran stars on defense, including All-American defensive end Vic Beasley.
“(Beasley) is a very instinctive football player,” Fisher said. “Not only quick but powerful, can change direction, he’s got body quickness, can run. He can rush the passer and he can play the run, he can transition speed into power very quickly. He’s relentless. Stand up get down, move around, very good football player.”
Beasley had 13 sacks a year ago, but none came against the Seminoles. His matchup with the FSU offensive line – specifically left tackle Cameron Erving – will be pivotal in this annual rivalry matchup.
The winner of FSU-Clemson game has gone on to win the Atlantic Division and the ACC Championship the past three years.
Junior defensive tackle Eddie Goldman practiced on Monday after missing a week following an ankle injury in the Citadel game. Fisher said he expects Goldman along with cornerbacks P.J. Williams (hamstrings) and Ronald Darby to play on Saturday.
Defensive tackles Nile Lawrence-Stample and Justin Shanks were limited in practice on Monday following lower extremity injuries sustained against The Citadel. Their status for Saturday is unknown.
College GameDay Returns to Tallahassee
ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot – college football’s longest running and most celebrated pregame show – will return to Tallahassee, Fla. this weekend for the Seminoles’ Top 25 match-up with Clemson. This is the third straight year the key ACC game has been featured by ESPN’s flagship college football show.
This will mark the 29th time the Seminoles have played a game with GameDay in attendance. The Seminoles have a long history with GameDay, dating to the program’s first “road show” appearance, which came Nov. 13, 1993 when No. 1 FSU visited No. 2 Notre Dame in the “Game of the Century” showdown in South Bend, Ind.
Florida State has actually won five consecutive games with College GameDay in attendance dating back to the 49-37 victory over Clemson on Sept. 22, 2012.
This will mark the fourth straight year GameDay has come to Tallahassee and will also be the second game FSU has played this season with GameDay on site, following the Seminoles’ season-opening 37-31 win over Oklahoma State on Aug. 30 when analyst Lee Corso and guest picker Stone Cold Steve Austin both picked the Noles to win at the end of the show held in Fort Worth.
The weekly three-hour Emmy Award-winning show (Saturday 9 a.m.-noon ET) is hosted by Chris Fowler, the GameDay team consists of analysts Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack with reporting by Samantha Ponder, Tom Rinaldi, Scott Van Pelt and Gene Wojciechowski.
Jimbo Fisher Press Conference Transcript – Sept. 15, 2014
“(I’m) anxious to kick the week off. We had a really productive off week last week, I thought we did a great job with our fundamentals with some game prep. We got better in a lot of areas in my opinion – skill and big areas for fundamental, execution, physically toughness it was a good hard week of practice. I’m looking forward to this week. Clemson will have a ton of challenges. They’re still very dynamic on offense – all the different formations and sets and the way they get the ball to people. Their quarterbacks can run, there’s nothing they don’t do. They throw it deep, they throw it short, and they throw quick screens, (the) quarterback runs. They have two quarterbacks – (Cole) Stoudt and (Josh) Watson both do an outstanding job. They have great skills guys out wide. Big, tall wideouts, fast wideouts, backs, good solid line – Chad Morris and Dabo Sweeney, they do a great job. Defensively, Brent (Venables) does a wonderful job. They played great in their second game. They played really well against Georgia except two or three plays because Georiga only had 14 points going into the fourth quarter. They’re very dynamic up front. Grady Jerett is a heck of a player. Vic Beasley is a heck of a player. DeShawn Williams has been there a long time. (Taylor) Watson and Corey Crawford – it seems like I’ve played against them ever since I’ve started coaching here. They’ve been here a long time. Of course Tony Steward is a heck of an athlete, (B.J.) Goodson. (Jayron) Kearse, we recruited – Mackensie Alexander is a guy we recruited very hard. (He’s) a great corner. (Corbin) Jenkins, (Robert) Smith, they do a great job. They’re a very good football team, they’re a very dynamic football team. They’ve got size, power, they’ve got athleticism and they’re coached very well and they’re going to come in here ready to play and we’re going to have our hands full. We’re going to have to play a great football game in all three phases and hopefully keep improving on what we’re doing.”
On the defensive line injuries:
“Eddie Goldman will be practicing today, he’ll be ready to go. Nile (Lawrence-Stample) and them will be close, he’ll be doing some things, he and (Justin) Shanks will be in limited participation it looks like. Eddie will full go. So will P.J. (Williams) and (Ronald) Darby.”
On the importance of the bye week:
“I think it was very important. It gets you into a mindset to go into your conference, not just because we have a couple nicks and knacks it kind of transitions from the non-conference into your conference games and how important they are. Just setting the tone for what you’re here for. The first goal, again you have to win your division, then you have to win your conference and that starts this week.”
On if last year’s game will help for this year:
“It’s useful in the scheme of which you use and judging players talents. How the plays went, whatever it may be that’s making a play. You still judge how they played your schemes and also the talent level of their guys because you actually played against that same guy that was in front of you, whether he’s, big, strong or fast and then looking at his film this year, how’s he improved, what’s he doing different, does he do the same things. From that standpoint, it’s very critical. That game is always going to (stand out) because we were successful in the game and it was a good game. From that standpoint, it’s always good to see yourself when you play at a very high level, mentally, physically and emotionally and what you’re capable of.”
On if he felt as if last year’s game was the first time his team could handle the big stage:
“I think two things. It was magnified in all three things hit at once, us playing well, but sometimes the other team plays well and you don’t see that. There was some critical mistakes by them that allowed, plus us being on our ‘A’ or ‘A’ plus game that allowed those things to take off. There are other games I felt we’ve played extremely well, but the other team played well too. Just because you see the lopsided score, doesn’t mean you don’t play as well in some of those games.”
On after that game how he felt moving forward:
“It gave you supreme confidence because you knew caliber of opponent, you knew how good they were and the rest of the season barred on that also. Also playing in a hostile environment like Clemson – the type of environment that is to play in and if you can overcome that and focus and concentrate and do those kind of things there you’re capable of doing that anywhere else on our schedule.”
On if that game was a national perception of a turning point:
“I think it was nationally perceived as that too, but what I was excited about and what told me a lot about our football team was when we hit the practice field on Monday they had already forgotten about that game. You could tell they weren’t dwelling in the past, they weren’t relishing in all of the accolades that were being thrown their way. We were just back to business and practicing football and that’s when I really felt good about our football team – one that could keep that focus week in and week out.”
On preparing for two dynamic quarterbacks:
“They’re going to do what they do, but at the same time, you may have to feature on certain things when a guy gets into the game. You have to understand one thing, they know their own tendencies too so they can change it up. I think both guys – (Josh) Waston is a little more dynamic with his legs but (Cole) Stout is still a good runner. I think both guys can create a lot of problems in a lot of different ways the way Tajh Boyd did. They did so many things with him, so there’s tons of things (and) they’re always have a new wrinkle Chad (Morris) does a wonderful job. We’re going to have our hands full. We’re going to keep leverage on him enough to stay in the box, but still be able to play the pass. Sometimes you’ll have to pick and choose and it becomes a chess match and a guessing game and sometimes, like I say, you just guess right.”
On what offensive coordinator Chad Morris does that troubles opposing defenses:
“I think first of all it’s no huddle. The key in no huddle is the speed in which they do it with. It’s like – ‘We do it so many times and you know we can do it but we can do it faster than you can get ready for it.’ It’s hard to simulate. That’s the first with no huddle. All those guys that do those offenses, there’s not tons of complexity as far as other people may do more schemes but how fast they do them and how well they do them. I’m not saying they don’t do a lot of things, but they’re very multi-formational, very multi personnel based. All those different things factor in the speed of what they do and they’re well-coached, they’ve got great athletes. They can catch it, run it, they can block and all combined is very effective.”
On how significant this game is since the conference winner has come down to this game the past few years:
“It’s significant because we both been at the top, but you can’t put more emphasis on it than you already do because at the end of the day they’re all one win one loss. Everyone learns that. There’s no doubt about that. It’s a game in which you like to be at Florida State to play in because of the ramifications, the publicity and the national attention it brings to be on that kind of stage and that kind of atmosphere.”
On Clemson having a bad taste in their mouths from last year:
“I’m sure they’re going to come in and play well. That team is over with and I am sure this team will want to come in here and play well and have a great standing – maybe because of last year a little bit but because they want to win and they know what’s in front of them and they have pride too. It’s a great program with a great coach and they have a lot of pride and I know they’re going to want to come in and play football.”
On Vic Beasley:
“His pure athleticism. The guy is very instinctive football player. Not only quick but powerful, can change direction, he’s got body quickness, can run. He can rush the passer and he can play the run, he can transition speed into power very quickly. He’s relentless. Stand up get down, move around very good football player.”
On the offensive line playing against the defensive line for three years:
“You get to know a guy and it because a battle. It becomes very challenging in a lot of ways. Very rarely does a linemen start for three year or four years on a defensive and offensive line. It can become a chess match, to a point, on how things go, learning each other and studying each other. But there is also a great, not say bond, but a great level of respect once you played against guys that long.”
On Linebacker Ukeme Eligwe:
“He’s doing better. We are getting him back in. I don’t know if he’ll go in this weekend, we’ll see but I’m very pleased with his progress and where he’s at right now. He’s ahead of the schedule.”
On positioning Eligwe:
“I’ll play him as linebacker, special teams.”
On Georgia-Clemson game film being beneficial considering Jeremy Pruitt being Defensive Coordinator at Georgia now:
“Defensively, yeah. We know the calls and what they did and can relate to what didn’t work. Second half, it worked and what Georgia really did was get great field position of the game. They dominated the field position, Clemson stayed backed up a lot and it’s hard to call your offense when you’re backed up constantly. I think Georgia won the field. First half, Clemson really threw the football so you see what they are capable of doing getting hot. Just like anybody, when you lose that momentum or you get pinned behind the chain or you get penalties or you get field position issues it all becomes big. I think it’s very good film just because you know what can and can’t work. You know what the thought process was going behind a lot of the calls.”
On Georgia-Clemson game film/past game experience with defense being beneficial to Clemson:
“Oh yeah. No doubt. You know how people play and what they think and how they are going to look at you. No doubt. Once it gets out there it’s equal to everybody.”
On Clemson switching quarterbacks:
“I think that all depends on the team. I think it depends on the team dynamic and how the team accepts it and where the team is that particular that time than once you do it you get into it. You have a guy with a hot hand and you’re going to play him in the third series but that guy goes out there and goes six for six and you’re going ‘Man, I don’t want to pull this guy out of the game.” That always is a challenge. It’s easy for people to sit back and say that but for a coach I think it’s very though because of the flow of the game. Other people do it very effectively. Chad (Morris) and Dabo (Swinney) definitely know what they are doing. They’ve been effective with it so far.
On senior left tackle Cam Erving’s game against Clemson last year:
“I think it was one where you knew you could play against the guy but the guys beside him did a good job when they had a chance to give help and I think the backs did a good job chipping. Vic (Beasley) is not a guy hey you got him, you’re going to have to give him different looks and do different things at different times to create those situations. I think it does help that we were successful but also Cam did a phenomenal job, I don’t mean to take anything away from him, he did play well but it was a collective effort because that guy is a heck of a football player.”
On if he feels more comfortable with the young defensive linemen after the first game:
“First games are totally different. People don’t understand that. It’s hard to comprehend. Even if you’re a veteran, you haven’t gotten into the groove of playing and first games are like Forrest Gump’s. They’re a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Even when you think you know what kind of chocolate it is and I think at time we were in good shape and at time we became hesitant. Those are things we can’t let happen you have to go and play those guys and that’s what we did last week and we’ll continue to do this week. You can’t play that many snaps otherwise.”
On if he can throw the same schemes are last year at them:
“I think we can. They’ll do things different and they’ll be ready for those and we’ll have to make adjustments ourselves. I think from what we are doing, I am not talking about them in general but in defense.”
On senior running back Karlos Williams’ progression:
“Good. I don’t think he was drastically bad in any of those games. I think he keeps getting better and better and he’s doing a really good job.”
On running the ball against Clemson and if there is a key:
“No. I think you’ve got to be able to block them. They’re good people and you’ve got to have an attitude and be physical and you’ve got to go. You’ve got to stay committed to it and we’ve been able to throw it because we’ve been able to run it. It works both ways and we’ve got to be able to get hats to a hat and go. You can’t be one-dimensional against them, but I don’t think there is any one key.”
On former FSU quarterback and current West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett’s performance against Maryland:
“I sure did (see it). He had an outstanding game. I am very proud of him. I know his dad (Rick Trickett), he won’t say it, but I bragged on him in front of the staff for how well he’s playing. You see when he’s healthy and what he’s capable of. I’m extremely happy for him. I knew he was a good quarterback. I’m very proud of him. I knew he worked his tail off. He had a heck of a day. He hasn’t had a bad day yet.”
On how Austin Barron has been playing this season and preparing for a big game against Clemson:
“I think he is playing well. He has had a couple bad plays, but no more than everybody else. He has played well. He is not as big as everybody else, but he is 295 pounds. We act like 295 [pounds] is a midget. The guy has done a good job. He has been beaten on a couple things, but so has Tre’ Jackson, so has Josue [Matias], so has Cam [Erving]. He hasn’t done anything that all of those guys haven’t done. I think he is filling into his role very well. He is making a lot of the calls, and been very efficient on his protections and very efficient on his run calls. He is a very smart guy. People forget that he has started four, five or six games here and we have won and done well. I think he is progressing very nicely.”
On how the young wide receivers have been progressing:
“We have been throwing and catching the ball very well. You saw it last game. He is putting [the ball] and they are getting to where they are supposed to be. Even with a drop [catch], the ball is where he is supposed to be and the timing of the ball is there. Those happen. That happens. Where they are supposed to be, how they are getting there, the timing, the rhythm, the confidence, making the right decision, getting to the right guy, and the guy getting open. One of those guys over there, that was one of the first drops I remembered him having in, I cannot tell you when. That was a tough play. The defender got his arm in there. The other play was a shovel pass. That was tough. It was a tough play on him. I think their chemistry has gotten very good especially with who we are going against every day.”
On how the running backs have been catching more passes this season:
“I think he is checking down to them. I think reads are taking him there. I think they are very athletic. When you go back, Chris Thompson used to catch a lot of balls for us. I was re-watching the Clemson game from two or three years ago and he had about six or seven [receptions] that night. He ran for about 180 [yards] and had about 90 [yards] receiving. Last year you might have seen us in a little bit more three or four wide [sets] at times, but our guys out of the backfield are dynamic and can match up on linebackers. Reads have taken us there and I think their capabilities are there. I think those guys have really good ball skills that way. Last year’s group was solid too – [Devonta] Freeman and [James] Wilder. If you go back and look, it was sneaky how they catch balls at different times.”