August 18, 2011 - by
Eddie Gran Q&A

Aug. 18, 2011

How is year two at Florida State going for you?

Well personally with my family we’re starting to put some roots down and that’s been neat and my kids have been getting acclimated to their school, my wife in the community. So we’re excited about Tallahassee. And on the football side of it, it’s always that first year that’s always difficult. You’re learning new offenses, you’re with different coaches. Jimbo’s put together a fantastic staff, everybody just seems to gel and it’s really fun, it’s fun to come to work everyday. And then the players , just as they have gelled and grown and now the offense in its fourth year or so and is getting better. Coach (Mark) Stoops now in his second year with the defense and a new special teams coordinator in myself you can just see how they (the players) are getting more comfortable in what they’re doing so that’s been a lot of fun this second year.

Talk about the talent and depth of the running backs and what the new freshman bring to the team.

I think that (Devonta Freeman and James Wilder) are exactly what we recruited on film. They’re both talented, they’re both really good running backs. Will they be great, that remains to be seen, but they sure do bring the mental toughness and the physical toughness that we saw on film. They both have exceptional hands and they are doing everything we’re asking them to do. Last year we went in to three or four games and got into the second half and we had one running back. So people always say wow you’ve got this stable, but that’s depth and you need that depth in this league because of the pounding that you take and I think with our depth that will help us as we go through the grind of a season.

What excites you most about this team?

I think it’s their attitude. I think it’s the expectations, they’ve embraced that. Coach Fisher; as he’s recruited well and the people we have recruited, we’ve talked about character. He’s brought those character type athletes here that are really good players and they have gelled with our juniors and seniors and sophomores that have been here. I think there’s a family atmosphere and I think there’s a lot of humility and guys who want to win championships and want to carry on the tradition of Florida State University. That’s why I came here because of the tradition. I think our kids are embracing that, but they understand that nothing is going to be handed to them. They can pick you to be anything you want, but it takes that toughness, effort, discipline and pride everyday and the commitment to the process for us to go out on a weekly basis.

Can you talk about your personal coaching philosophy?

We want to make it family. We want to make them feel like it’s not just football. Coach Fisher has brought in so many different aspects for us and for them with our leadership programs and job after (college) if they don’t make it to the NFL. They all want to do that, but that’s difficult. For me Christ is first in my life and I want them to see Christ in me and that’s how I’m going to be as a husband and a father and a football coach. It’s my family and then it’s Florida State football. I hope the players see that and I hope they feel that and that’s what I try to bring to the table and at the end of the day you can compete at a high level and be that way. So it’s exciting, it really is. The young men, you’re molding them and you’ve got a chance to be an influence. I always talk to parents in recruiting that we’re going to be an extension, coach Jimbo always talks about you being an extension because those families aren’t here. Coach Fisher always says how would you treat your son and that’s how I look at it. When they’re in there and I’m talking to them and they’re on the field, how would I treat them. If that’s my son, that’s my daughter; for me I’ve got daughters, so what am I going to say to them, how am I going to treat them, when am I going to put my arm around them? That’s exactly how I coach.

Talk about your relationship with Dustin Hopkins.

Dustin is a unique individual. Not only is he a fantastic football player at his specific position, but just what he stands for and that’s exciting for me especially in these days and times with peer pressure and how people are. Everybody knows what Dustin Hopkins stands for and he does the talk and the walk and for me I’ve got respect for that. So I think that’s where we really connect. We had the chance to go to Honduras for spring break last year and you spend five days in a place that’s just so humbling and that’s been really fun for us and exciting for us to have that bond. I think that’s where it all stems from.

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