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    Q&A: Jimbo Fisher on the weekly ACC coaches teleconference


    Courtesy of the ACC:

    COACH FISHER:  Glad to be with y'all. Very pleased with where our team performed last week against Murray State, and really like not only the passion we played with, but the ability for lack of miscommunications, we didn't have any.  We substituted well.  Got those things done in the huddle.  Did a great job being penalty free, lot of silly mistakes, had one turnover we didn't like. But for the most part, a lot of the organizational and instructional things, I was very pleased with.  Our defense played exceptionally well.  Our offense got going and opened with strong special teams early in the game.  Hopefully, we can get together and have a good practice this week. 

    Q.  Are there any changes that will be made now that Brandon Jenkins is out for the year?  

    COACH FISHER:  No, Jenkins is a very good college player and we think he'll be a good NFL player too.  So schematically we'll stay with what we do and how we do things. 

    Q.  Can you talk about the veteran leadership and what they're doing to keep the younger guys focused taking on another FBS opponent this weekend?  

    COACH FISHER:  The whole attitude of our team has been that way.  We've had a great camp that way.  Those young guys, we have enough of the junior and senior leaderships on our team that they understand those guys and made it clear they want it to be a special year and the way they've directed things.  Our young guys I don't think there is any chance that will happen, because the older guys have set the tone from day one, not just for this week, but have set it from day one.

    Q.  Losing a play of the caliber of Brandon would really set the defense back. You have a lot of talented players on your defense, but obviously Brandon's pretty good? 

    COACH FISHER:  Yeah, he's a really good player, a really good player.  You don't ever replace those guys.  One thing we were fortunate enough to have (Cornelius) Carradine in there.  We think Bjoern (Werner) is a big time player, and we think Tank (Carradine) is the same caliber guy those guys are.  Are they Brandon?  Maybe not to that extent, but he's pretty close.  He's a really good player. I think it messes you up a little bit at depthwise with some other things, but we have some talented guys behind him.  Giorgio Newberry a 6'6" 280 pound guy, played a lot as a red shirt freshman, we're counting on this year. [Toshmon Stevens] is an experienced guy, and we have two great freshmen in Mario Edwards and Chris Casher that we'll bring along to build that depth.  But from the starting rotation, I think Tank will do a good job. 

    Q.  Coach, I know you'll face tougher defenses along the way.  Was that a point of emphasis or the way the game develops?  

    COACH FISHER:  No, it's a point of emphasis.  We'll work on running the football, and we've become much more adept at doing that in the spring and fall camps.  I felt good going into the season, and hopefully we'll continue.  Our challenges will get stiffer and stiffer, and we'll see if we can continue to do that.  That is an emphasis, and something we've been doing well in fall camp. 

    Q.  Where's the big area of improvement? 

    COACH FISHER:  Offensive line, offensive line.  Those young guys are big and physical. They're athletic.  Our tight end Nick O'Leary has done a really great job blocking all spring and fall. We're blocking a lot of good people on defense. So our backs are getting Chris Thompson back was a big help.  (Devonta) Freeman's there, and (James) Wilder emerging as a guy he is, he's starting to come into his own. Lonnie (Pryor) has lost weight, and it's like running the ball again.  So if you combine all those things, it's enabling us to run the football better. 

    Q.  With Jenkins down, you've got your other defensive end, Werner, who had a nice game.  Has he become even more important now because he gives you something?  

    COACH FISHER:  He always was just as important.  I mean, Bjoern is a big time player.  He has been.  Had a great year last year.  We felt like we had 1A, 1B, and 1C on our ends with Brandon, Bjoern and Tank.  We think we have three really good young ones, but we've felt those guys are the same. They're all the same caliber of player.  Which one, who is better?  I think just you decide by what style of player you like.  They're all different, but all of those guys are big time players. 

    Q.  What specifically do you like about Tank and Werner?  

    COACH FISHER:  I think Werner combines size and speed.  Unbelievably intelligent.  Plays with his size, can play the run, very powerful.  Tank is extremely powerful.  He's strong.  He's got a great burst, good athleticism.  You know, when you see him, he's 268 pounds, but looks 285.  He's an athletic, strong guy.  They'll all be NFL players and highly drafted in my opinion. 

    Q.  With Mario (Edwards) before Brandon got hurt, it sounded like maybe he needed some extra time.  Maybe the possibility of redshirting.  How does that change now that you may need to rely on him?  Are you still leaning toward red shirting him?  

    COACH FISHER:  No, we'll try to bring him or Chris out.  Maybe both.  We'll see.  Like I said before, we felt good about Mario and Chris in camp.  It was just a scenario of how many snaps you could get him with those guys rotating along with Giorgio Newberry and Tajh being a senior.  So we were electing to do that.  This creates more opportunity and more sense to play them and get more quality snaps with Brandon out.  I think they can have a chance to contribute quickly to what we're doing.

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