Oct. 31, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As the score would indicate, there aren’t many areas of your game to fix when you beat a team 34-0.
Nevertheless, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher — after touching on the many bright spots of the Seminoles’ win over NC State this past weekend — shared with the media at his Monday press conference one particular area that his team needs to clean up on its short week before Thursday’s game at Boston College.
“The only disappointing thing in the whole day really when you get right down to it, the running game was solid we just missed third-and-shorts,” Fisher said. “We missed three third-and-two or lesses, which cost us three possessions which could be 10, 12 or 14 more plays.”
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
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Despite those few stalled drives, FSU really did have its way with the Wolfpack and picked up its third victory in as many games. But for as impressive as the FSU offense — and in particular, quarterback EJ Manuel — played last Saturday, it was the Seminoles’ defense that had arguably their best game as a unit all season.
FSU held the Wolfpack to just 162 yards and didn’t allow them to run a single play inside the redzone. NC State never made it past FSU’s own 28 yard-line and never had a play of more than 16 yards.
“Any time you get a shut out in today’s time that’s a very difficult thing,” Fisher said. “NC State was averaging 31 points a game and 388 yards a game so from that standpoint I think us moving it and controlling it and playing from ahead which put pressure on them.”
Manuel, who steps to the podium and in front of the microphones after Fisher every Monday, said that NC State quarterback Mike Glennon was especially impressed by the play of the ‘Noles defenders.
Both natives of Virginia, Manuel and Glennon communicate frequently and shared a moment at midfield following the ballgame.
“The first thing he said to me was, ‘Man, you’re defense is really good.’ I was like, ‘I tried to tell you man,'” Manuel said.
The Seminoles have a unique challenge on their hands this week with their attention turning to the next opponent even faster than normal.
Because FSU plays on Thursday night, the team practiced Sunday — something it does not normally do on a typical week — and will have a scheduling shift in all of its plans before the trip to Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon.
“I actually like it,” Manuel said. “I felt like maybe it was just that I wasn’t as sore after that [NC State] game but I kind of like going through some stuff on Sunday. I know some teams don’t practice Monday. They will practice Sunday and not practice Monday but we have a short week this week and we have to get it done. It wasn’t bad.”
Fisher isn’t as enthusiastic about the change, though.
“I think it’s one of the hardest things to do in sports to turn around in five days and play a football game but [the Eagles] have to do it too,” Fisher said.
It may be difficult but Manuel said he and his teammates are excited about the opportunity that this type of game presents. Not only does Florida State get to travel far from home but it also gets to perform in front of a national audience.
“Five, three, four [days], it doesn’t matter,” Manuel said. “As long as we can get a chance to go out there and play. And then it’s a national game up there at BC. A lot of guys haven’t ben to Boston before and it will be a night game on ESPN and things like that so I don’t think the date matters at all.”
What does matter is how much preparation the Seminoles can fit into the shortened time frame and that’s ultimately where Fisher’s concerns with the scheduling arise.
It means moving past the success of last weekend and focusing on an Eagles team that nabbed its first conference win of the season with a victorious effort against Maryland in their last outing.
Manuel said he got started especially early with his prep-work to get ready for what will be an opponent that has had an up and down season. With his parents in town to watch the game, Manuel and his father turned on the game tape after the win on Saturday to learn as much as possible about the Eagles.
“Saturday night I couldn’t really go to sleep — I don’t really know what it was,” Manuel said. “They had uploaded it to our computers and we got a chance to watch the film so I watched our game and one of their games and I watched some yesterday too.”
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
During the press conference, the ACC announced that a pair of Seminoles earned some hardware this week.
SPECIALIST – Shawn Powell, Florida State, Sr., P, 6-4, 235, Rome, Ga.
Powell punted only three times for a 41.3 yard average, but his contributions far exceeded the numbers. Two of his punts were of the rugby variety, aimed at neutralizing NC State return sensation T.J. Graham, and proved quite successful. Graham managed just one punt return for 1 yard, thanks to Powell’s directional punting and his teammates’ exceptional coverage work. His 41.0 net punting average for the game matches FSU’s net punting average on the season, which ranks sixth among all FBS schools. Powell continues to lead the ACC with a 45.2 punting average and is currently the top-ranked punter, by average, in Florida State history.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Timmy Jernigan, Florida State, Fr., DT, 6-3, 297, Lake City, Fla.
Continuing his impressive true freshman campaign, Jernigan was once again a force in the middle from his defensive tackle position. Jernigan finished with a season-high five tackles (3 solos, 2 assists), including two tackles for loss and one sack for minus-9 yards. He also scooped up a Mike Glennon fumble and returned it 12 yards to set up a score as the ‘Noles forced a season-high three turnovers against NC State. FSU’s defensive front was instrumental in limiting NC State to 36 rushing yards on 28 attempts and a season-low 166 total yards.