April 21, 2011
How telling were the offensive and defensive performances last weekend considering the injuries on the offensive line?
Jimbo Fisher: It’s hard to judge. When you are so banged up, up front, it’s hard for the skill guys to function and do things. But I did think our defense played very well during the spring. I think we will be very successful defensively and we are extremely talented on defense. It is a little deceiving about who you are going against up front but it’s good too to get some young guys some experience. I don’t put a lot of weight into a spring game as far as how it goes I just like the situations, having a large crowd and seeing your guys react under pressure, how they come out of the tunnel and it is more like a game situation. I do like that.
How much pressure is EJ Manuel putting on himself to perform this fall?
Jimbo Fisher: I think he always does. That is just EJ’s nature. I don’t think it is pressure that he can’t handle or things that he knows that he can do. The thing he can revert back to is that he has done this before and has been very successful. I expect him to handle it very well. I do expect him to challenge himself. He is harder on himself than I ever am.
Did you want to see EJ Manuel progress in certain areas this spring and if so how did he do?
Jimbo Fisher: I was extremely pleased with his spring. I thought he had an exceptional spring. He is very accurate, he runs well, has great command and is a natural leader. He is extremely tough and our guys respond to him well. I will be shocked if he doesn’t have a very successful season. We have to continue to get healthy around him and be consistent. He will do what he has to do, I promise.
Will the battle to replace your departed offensive lineman still have to be resolved?
Jimbo Fisher: I think one we have pretty much resolved. Another we are about half way and if injury doesn’t occur we will be ok there. If not we will have to fit someone there. We have some very talented guys coming in that could handle that. It is key to get the offensive line situated.
Do you expect to have all of your players who missed the spring to be ready for summer conditioning?
Jimbo Fisher: They will all be ready by summer camp. We had seven or eight starters going into the spring that were out but they will all be back and should be working out in the next two or three weeks.
How much have the injuries to your starters provided you with an opportunity to build depth?
Jimbo Fisher: A bunch. Especially on the offensive line. Three of them are supposed to be at the high school prom and they are in there playing second team. Guys were running by them like crazy but they got better as the spring went on. It is a good chance to see how they are going to react and at least they have been in practices and they have seen what going against good people is like.
How good is Brandon Jenkins and how much more dominant can he be this year?
Jimbo Fisher: I’m not sure how much more dominant. I am sure people will make a more conscious effort to slide to him or chip him and that should free up other guys too. Brandon Jenkins is a very good player. He has added a lot of weight and is probably 260 pounds now. He is still running well and moving well and rushing the passer. We expect him to have a great year. Not only is Brandon a very good player, he is also a very instinctive player. He understands the game of football very well. I think he is a guy that our guys look to for sure.
Seeing that you made the ACC Championship game in your first season as head coach, how do you measure a successful season?
Jimbo Fisher: I don’t think it is a number of wins. I think it is for a team to reach its maximum potential and achieve some things that they weren’t supposed to achieve. I don’t like to put numbers and wins on them. I want our team to reach its maximum potential and be the best team that it can be. That will be the measure of a successful season.
With as many starters that you have coming back next year do you anticipate having as successful a season as you did last year?
Jimbo Fisher: I hope so. I hope we win the ACC (Championship) and the National Championship. You hope for all of those things but each team has to take its own identity. I hope we can maximize the potential we have.
How important is it to get out and meet with the boosters and the fans during the summer of your first year?
Jimbo Fisher: I think it is all the time, not just the first year. You have to be consistent and they have to see you and what you stand for. We understand as coaches that speaking with the Boosters and interacting with the fans is part of it and I like that part. It is about being yourself and being honest. If you are out trying to be somebody that you are not then maybe it is uncomfortable but that is not the way I look at things. I love meeting our folks.
Can you expand on who has stepped up on the offensive line and who is going to be your left tackle.
Jimbo Fisher: (Andrew) Datko will be our left tackle. Zebrie (Sanders) will be our right tackle. (Jacob) Fahrenkrug will be our center and (Brian) Stork will be our guard. (David) Spurlock will probably be a guard. All three of those inside guys can play center at the same time. We had Trey Pettis in there and I thought Jordan Prestwood had a really good spring. Dan Foose is in there and (Sterling) Lovelady was in at center. There are a few guys that I did not name but we will have plenty of guys.