Oct. 8, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Less than 48 hours after his team's first loss of the season, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher tweaked his stance on what he thought wrong at NC State.
Moments after FSU (5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) gave up 17 unanswered points during its own scoreless second half at Carter-Finley Stadium, Fisher said in his post-game press conference that he accepted much of the blame for the loss and should have been more aggressive as a play-caller in a game that featured many execution-related lapses. Monday afternoon at his weekly press conference, Fisher said that film study revealed it was just lack of execution -- and not the play-calling -- that led to his team's demise.
"Any time you're a leader you have to look at yourself first and say, 'Did I make the right call?'" Fisher said. "After seeing the video, [NC State] was in what we thought they were in, doing exactly what we thought they were doing. It's not blame. We just didn't execute. It's not the same guy. It's just one guy. A guy can grade 88 percent in a game and have two bad plays that happen to be at the wrong time.
"That's what it was an accumulation of in the second half."
One play that the Seminoles actually did execute against the Wolfpack was one that will forever be registered as an incomplete pass.
Clinging to a one-score lead and aiming to convert a 3rd-and-11 in the fourth quarter, EJ Manuel fired a pass to Kelvin Benjamin that appeared to be a big chain-moving completion despite the referee's immediate ruling otherwise.
On the play, Benjamin went up and grabbed the football before touching one foot in bounds prior to his body landing on the sideline. Benjamin lost the football after striking the ground but still appeared to have possession before his body hit the field.
With just one timeout left, Fisher called for a booth review and the officials upstairs upheld the original ruling. In one fell swoop, Fisher lost his third timeout and the Seminoles lost a potential game-changing first down. Sunday, Fisher made a call to the ACC to further protest the ruling.
"In the rule book, that's a catch," Fisher said. "They say it's not interpreted unless you hit the ground. Now, I don't understand that … we had that discussion [Sunday]. We agree to disagree."
While Fisher disagrees with that ruling, Florida State fans have expressed some disagreement with Fisher himself over the past two days regarding his play calling on FSU's potential clock-killing drive with just 2:47 left to play.
First, Chris Thompson was knocked down for a two-yard loss. On 2nd-and-12, Thompson ran to get three back before quickly being tackles. On 3rd-and-9, Fisher called up a quarterback sweep by Manuel to the left side that was immediately stuffed for no gain.
NC State was able to use all three of its timeouts on the short-lived FSU possession and force a punt -- a special teams play that would ultimately end up in a block of Cason Beatty, a short field to work with for the Wolfpack and a game-winning touchdown pass for the upset.
"Every play was right there," Fisher said. "Does throwing it make you more aggressive? Or does running it when you're moving the ball? Hindsight is all 20/20. I don't regret any of the calls. I regret we didn't execute some of the things we did, and we've got to play better."
The 'Noles get that chance at 5:30 p.m. this Saturday against Boston College.