BOBBY PETRINO: We’re excited to have a bye week. We played eight straight games, including a Monday night game and a Friday night game, and I’m proud of the way our players and assistant coaches grinded through it and did a good job in our preparation. We’re looking forward to the challenge that we have with Florida State coming in here next Thursday night, and we’ll get back on the practice field here this afternoon and have some fun getting ready for the game.
Q. So we asked you on Saturday after the game, you know, obviously, you had said you wanted to go back and look at some film, but now that you’ve had that chance, how would you rate the way the offense performed, especially the offensive line? And what did you guys take away from that that you can kind of work on this week?
BOBBY PETRINO: I thought we improved. We ran the ball. We did a good job of running it not only early in the game, but when we had to to win the game. I thought we improved on our pass protection. So like I continue to say, we’re a work in it progress, but we certainly showed some improvement.
Q. And did you, from what we were told, it was more nicks than anything else, but are Lorenzo (Mauldin) and James (Quick) ready to practice this week, or where do they stand?
BOBBY PETRINO: We’re encouraged by where they’re at, and all indications are that hopefully they’ll be ready for the game.
Q. What stood out to you the most about the way Coach Grantham has taught his defense to the players you inherited there? BOBBY PETRINO: Todd does a great job of teaching and coaching on the field. I think our players are doing a really nice job of understanding what our philosophies and what our schemes are, and in doing that, we’re able to play real fast and
physical. Todd also does a great job of making sure our players understand what the other team is trying to do against us.
Q. You guys have been really good down by the goal line. What’s been the key to that success?
BOBBY PETRINO: We’ve been good on first down, down there. We’ve been able to penetrate and get negative plays and hold people to field goals instead of touchdowns. It’s certainly been a big factor in us going 6-2.
Q. What is your general feeling about playing Thursday night games? I mean, it helps that you have a bye before you face Florida State, but how do you feel about playing those Thursday night games?
BOBBY PETRINO: I’ve always enjoyed them because you do get a little bit of time to prepare for it. You’re able to get a couple of days off where players get to relax and rest. This is a good time for us because we haven’t had any byes. So they actually get to get away from the facility for a couple days, away from the coaches, and get refreshed and ready to go. I’ve always enjoyed playing them because I think the recruits are watching the games on Thursday night because Saturdays, a lot of times they have their own things to do, whether they’re playing or watching the video of their Friday night game. So I
thought it’s been good for the program.
Q. From your experience, what’s been the benefit for the Florida program? Maybe in terms of game planning. Most cases, it’s kind of a short week, but you have kind of a difference now with the bye.
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, I think that’s the benefit is having some time to work on your game plan and do a couple things in recruiting and just be able to use that extra time.
Q. Coach, I just wanted to ask you about (Devante) Parker. Playing his first game,he obviously had a huge impact. He played real well. How does he come out of that game physically?
BOBBY PETRINO: He had a big impact, probably more than I imagined he could. He did a great job running after the catch and getting open, catching the ball in his hands. He was sore after the game, obviously. He hadn’t been hit for a long time and been through the things that he did in that game. But we’re real encouraged that the next day he felt better than he ever thought he would.
Q. And you mentioned a couple other guys. Just getting your team back healthy, can you talk about just how that impacts you going forward?
BOBBY PETRINO: This has been a pretty good grind for us. We opened the season on a Monday night, played the next Saturday, and then have had zero byes. So it’s been a good grind, but our players have done a nice job of handling it. We’ve got an excellent medical staff that does a great job of getting them ready and fresh and prepared each week, but it is good to have a couple days extra to get our bodies and our minds ready to be fresh in the game on Thursday.
Q. Hey, Bobby, I was hoping to ask you one more thing about Todd Grantham. I think it’s the first time you guys have worked together, and I’m just curious, how do you go about kind of getting to know coaches that you’ve never worked with before and building a chemistry with a new staff and guys who are working together for the first time?
BOBBY PETRINO: I think it’s just getting together, whether it’s in the meeting rooms, out on the practice field, studying video together, and just getting to know each other. It’s been a lot of fun for me watching Todd and his staff put this defense together because they’re all very familiar with it, and Todd’s an expert at exactly what we are trying to do on defense, and watching him teach it to the players. So it’s been really a lot of fun.
Q. Have you guys run a three-four defense in your past as a head coach?
BOBBY PETRINO: Well, forms of it, not exactly what we’re doing now, but we used it more as a dime package in the past. But we had to line up and play against Georgia when Todd first went there. We spent the entire off-season basically studying the Dallas Cowboys’ defense because he had just came from Dallas to Georgia, and we had two games early in the year that we should win. So we took a long time to get ready for that game and watched what he did the remainder of that year and the next year. I thought he did an excellent job. I’m excited that he’s here with us and doing a great job here.
Q. I just wanted to check with you here. Some of the biggest things that you’ve learned about this Cardinals team, I know you talked a little bit about the defense and getting to know some of the staff that you have and whatnot, but as far as what you’ve been able to take away from the team as a whole and the success that you’ve had here in your first year so far.
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, we’ve got a group of guys that really enjoy football. They like preparing for it. So they like going to meetings. They enjoy going to practice and competing against each other. And the thing that I think has really shown up on our team is in the fourth quarter how competitive we are, and we’ve had to win some games in the fourth quarter, and we’ve been able to keep our poise and play extremely hard.
Q. And then as far as looking forward and the game that you have coming up next, I know you’re going to have some time to get ready for this one, but what you’ve been able to see from Florida State and where you feel your team is at in going into a big matchup like this.
BOBBY PETRINO: Well, they’re a great football team. They’re very strong offensively, defensively, special teams. It’s exciting for us to prepare for a game like this. This is the type of games you like to play in and prepare for. So we’re going to have a good time in doing it and excited that they’re coming into our house to play.
JIMBO FISHER: Again, very excited about our team and the way we played against Notre Dame and how to compete in the game. It was a very — it was great for college football, I think, two brand-name teams, national brand name teams, two top-five teams going toe-to-toe for the entire game, and it was a great contest. It was great for college football. It was great for the ACC and great for us to be able to come out victorious. Notre Dame has had a very good team,
very well-coached, and like I say, it was a great venue. Fans were great in that game. I think the home field advantage was very critical, and our fans did a great job in the game.
Saying all that, we’re looking forward to getting back this week, getting back to fundamental things, working on some Louisville things, but working on fundamental things like you’re able to do on on off practice or two as far as that game preparation, to keep staying fundamentally sound in a lot of things you do and trying to get some of our guys that get nicked and knacked at this time of year, try to get them fully healthy. Got a very important stretch run. Got a
great opponent coming up in Louisville. Louisville is a heck of a football team. They’re doing a tremendous job on defense. Bobby Petrino does a great job as a head coach. He’s a terrific offensive mind. They’ve got their quarterback coming back, they’ve got their big receiver coming back. They have a lot of weapons and have a great atmosphere there and good on special teams. We’ll have our hands full. But we’ve got to get healthy this week and get ready to go out and play.
Q. I know the ACC meetings in July, you talked about how the College Football Playoffs were going to be uncharted territory, but you were excited about what it might bring. Now that we’re on the verge of the release of the first poll, knowing full well that there’s a lot of football to be played, as a fan, are you excited to see what the committee is going to produce next Tuesday when it’s announced?
JIMBO FISHER: I don’t know if I’m excited, but, yes, we’re all anxious to see what the criteria is and where things are going. Again, those are things we can’t control, and we have to control how we play and how we prepare. I’m interested to see what the standings and what the criteria — I think we’ll get a first sense of how they look at things.
Q. Just wanted to go into a little bit of Karlos Williams and just what he’s been to you not only in a game in general, but at the end of the game, what he did against Clemson and of course what he did against Notre Dame, I should say.
JIMBO FISHER: I think Karlos is the ultimate competitor. I think he’s a total team guy. I said that to him yesterday. I pulled him aside and said, boy, you played one heck of a football game. He only had 25 yards, but the type of runs when he had them, picking up blitzes, two critical catches in a game, and he was coming off an injury that most guys miss a lot more time with than he did. I think that’s a great tribute to him as a person and as a teammate to how much he cares and how much this team means to him and the way, how hard he plays, and I thought he played very well in our football game. It was a huge part of our success.
Q. And then as far as the team as a whole, just everything on and off the field that you’ve dealt with, the team has had a great response to adversity. What can you say not only with yourself as a coach, but with the rest of your staff and the team coming together and playing in games like this and being able to compartmentalize things and be able to go forward and win games like this?
JIMBO FISHER: I think that’s one thing you hit dead on. Our staff does a tremendous job with it. Our players respect our staff, and our staff respects our players, and they do a great job of getting these kids in the right mindset and making adjustments during the game and coaching and being with them all week as far as, not just as players, but as people and helping them keep things in perspective. Our staff does a tremendous job, and we have a great group of players who believe in the system and the things we’re doing and have a lot of character, and they’re able to do that.
Q. Jimbo, as you’ve started to look at Louisville on defense, that’s kind of been the story for them this year. What’s stood out at you so far in what you’ve seen on the tape?
JIMBO FISHER: Not many people get many points, and not many people get many yards. They’re very good. They’re multiple up front, three down, four down, a lot of blitzed packages, mix the coverages up well, and have very good players. They’re a well-coached, well-disciplined, really good football team. They really are.
Q. Have you faced Todd Grantham a lot in your career?
JIMBO FISHER: No, I haven’t. I’ve known Todd a long time. Todd’s a friend. I know him, and his brother Tony actually GA’d for us at LSU. He was on staff with us. I have a lot of respect for Todd. He’s a very good coach and a good guy.
Q. Jimbo, you’ve had — Florida State’s had a host of great receivers over the years. Now Rashad Greene holds all the receiving records. What has enabled him to do that? How has he separated himself?
JIMBO FISHER: One, he has great ability. I mean, he is very talented. He’s fast. He has all the physical skills. But Rashad is a relentless worker. He’s a great teammate, how he practices, how he prepares. He has a drive inside to be great. He’s selfless, and in those big moments, he’s an ultimate competitor. Even though he’s quiet, that guy competes. He’s tough. He has all the intangibles you just talk about over and over and over. And the way he practices, he practices
every play like it’s the National Championship, and that’s the way, he prepares that way, so he ends up playing that way. He’s a tremendously selfless
guy. The thing about him too, he’s very intelligent. You can move him to a lot of different spots and teach him a lot of different things. He’s a very intelligent young man.
Q. How does that preparation and work ethic rub off on other guys?
JIMBO FISHER: It does tremendously. I always say, you guys want to do this, this is the best number-wise that’s ever played here. Maybe ever. It’s all an opinion, but guys, look at how — it’s no — it’s the reason why he is great is how he prepares. If you want to have that kind of career and be thought of that way, do the things he does.
Q. Question for you. For last week’s tough game against Notre Dame and such a hype and all that stuff, how can you get your players ready to go for next week knowing you have a week off and play Louisville on Thursday night? How do you get everybody on the same page?
JIMBO FISHER: You have to do it every week. That’s what we do every week. You know everybody is going to bring their A game to us. Everybody is going to play well. It’s a big game. It’s an important game. If you have your goals and spirations of where you want to go as a team, and to get there, you’re going to have to go through it. It’s going to be very difficult. We talk about those things all the time and get ourselves mentally and physically ready to play. That’s just what we do here at Florida State.
Q. After last week’s game, the final minute with the passing interference call and all the great battle back and forth, did you take some time off and think about how great that game was for you as a coach and also for college football?
JIMBO FISHER: I think I felt it at times for college football. As I look back on it, it was great for the game and promotes the game. Someone told me it was like the highest rated game that’s been on TV, a non-BCS game for the last two or three years or something. You had two brand names. Like I said, I was blessed to be able to coach in a game like that. I’m very fortunate. That’s why I love being at Florida State. But you don’t have a lot of time. You reflect on the things you did well and the things you did poorly, and like you said, we don’t have time to get ready for Louisville.
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