TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher met with the media Monday to recap Saturday’s win at Syracuse and look ahead to this week’s rivalry clash with the Florida Gators. Here are highlights from that conversation.
1) ‘A great personal friend’
Fisher started his press conference by giving his thoughts on Monk Bonasorte, the FSU All-American, Hall-of-Famer and senior administrator who passed away Saturday after battling cancer.
Fisher called Bonasorte a “confidant,” and said he “stands for all the right things.”
“He gave his life to Florida State,” Fisher said. “He really did. Everything about the university, what was best for the university, what was best for our kids and developing the kids and being there for them in tough times.”
Fisher continued, “To me, he was a great personal friend, a very close personal friend, a confidant. (There were) a lot of personal matters we discussed on both ends, his and mine. Just not to be able to bounce things off of him and talk to him, it’s a huge loss. Not only for this university, but for me personally.
“He’s a great friend, and you have many of them in this world. A sad loss for all of us.”
2) Challenge in store for FSU’s offense
After a season spent facing some of the best offenses in college football, the Seminoles on Saturday will line up across from one of the nation’s toughest defenses.
Florida ranks fifth in the country in total defense, and allows a paltry 282.1 yards per game.
The Gators are especially good in the secondary, where they allow only 6.2 yards per pass attempt and 160 yards per game.
Linebacker Jarrad Davis leads the Gators with 56 tackles, while cornerback Teez Tabor, a potential first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft, has four interceptions.
“This is a very impressive team when you turn the film on,” Fisher said. “Defensively, they jump off the screen at you.”
3) ‘State championship’ still a priority for FSU
A win on Saturday would give the Seminoles a sweep over rivals Miami and Florida for the sixth time in seven seasons under Fisher. Not only that, but it would also mark the first time that an FSU senior class went a combined 8-0 against both the Gators and Hurricanes. So for seniors like DeMarcus Walkerand Marquez White, who were freshmen in 2013, Saturday offers a chance at a little more history.
“It’s part of our goal. We always say that,” Fisher said. “The state of Florida is a dynamic football state. If you can play with Miami and Florida, you’re usually in the national title hunt. It’s a rivalry game. It’s always going to be important. We play them both.”
4) Updates on Pugh, Marshall, Brewton and Westbrook
Fisher provided a handful of injury updates on Monday. Among them:
“We’ll just have to wait and see how the week goes,” Fisher said of Marshall’s status.
5) Praise for Rick Leonard
Junior lineman Rick Leonard returned to the starting lineup on Saturday after playing as a reserve for the last seven weeks. Fisher said he noticed a clear improvement in Leonard’s game that primarily came about due to Leonard’s being able to sit back and learn during practice, rather than deal with the rigors of being a full-time starter.
“Ricky got to step back and just see things and watch the first team work and listen to Coach Trickett,” Fisher said,” instead of being with the ‘ones’ and taking more reps and just resting in-between. … I think that’s helped Ricky. He played much better this weekend, I think, because of it.”