ACC Title Road: first up for the Tigers, defending national champion Seminoles

Jimbo Fisher: 'We picked the tempo up and became very physical, developing a lot of depth at a lot of different positions'

FSU QB Jameis Winston and coach Jimbo Fisher (AP Photo)

FSU QB Jameis Winston and coach Jimbo Fisher (AP Photo)

Editor's note: Today begins a preview of Clemson's ACC opponents as they work their way through summer toward the beginning of preseason camp in early August. First up is Florida State, and coach Jimbo Fisher, whose Noles are in the unique position of coming off a national championship.

FSU Coach Jimbo Fisher

On FSU's spring practice accomplishments: "We had a few bumps and bruises, and little surgeries afterwards, but everything should be good to go (for fall camp). I was very proud of our spring. I thought really the second half of it was really good. The first half was not poor, just that we picked the tempo up and became very physical, developing a lot of depth at a lot of different positions.

"I'm happy with the progress we made, and what's starting to emerge on this team, like this team's attitude, like its work ethic. This team is starting to evolve, its personality and all the things, the traits it has to have to go forward.

"This summer like for all teams, just like it was last year, will be very critical in our conditioning and summer work and their film study. I'm looking forward to a great fall camp...and think we have a chance to have another very good football team."

On the positions where the Seminoles most improved their depth: "I think we developed it definitely in the offensive line. I felt very comfortable with our running back situation. Our quarterbacks, our young guys, really developed. A lot of the receivers got a lot of reps. The young linebackers was really fun to watch in the secondary. I feel like we've developed it kind of across the board.

"You never have as much as you need because you never know when the rainy day is coming, but from our depth perception right now, where we're at, it's as good as it's probably been since we've been here."

On the development of backup quarterbacks behind Jameis Winston: "I think Sean (McGuire) did a good job of grasping our offense, namely being able to execute it and things that he does well on the field. I thought he played well in the spring game.

"I think John Franklin Jr. is a very athletic guy who's got to continue his knowledge and growth in our offense, but has the ability to make all the throws and is dynamite with his feet. He just ran 10.7 - he runs track for us and just ran 10.7 electronic 100 meters, so he can create plays with his feet in different situations. Those two guys are really developing. We feel comfortable with them, and then we'll have J.J. Cosentino coming in that we're really excited about."

On preparing for the transition at QB after Winston leaves for the NFL: "I think you've got to try and educate, and you've got to tweak your system and turn your system into what that guy can do. We've always adjusted our system to what they can do, and the guys around them. Everybody has a certain skill set. But there's a standard which we'd like to recruit to, a certain talent level, and we've been fortunate to be able to do that. I think those quarterbacks have learned off of each other how to study film, how to prepare and how to do the things they have to do, and I think it's helped them all grow."

On maintaining an edge after winning the national championship: "I think it's just the ability to have hunger again and understand that they have to have the chip on their shoulder and they have to stay aggressive and keep refining the things, we did well, and continue to do them and gradually tweak the things that we didn't do well. I think that's been the key.

"To me it's all about we have worked, we have talent, we will adjust and we may be a different team in several ways because our players may be different. But I think the critical thing which I've been very pleased with is their attitude and work ethic, especially in second half of spring, how they came together and got that chip back on their shoulder."

On FSU's slow start during the spring: "I just think we played so late, we got back in school, there was no time for these kids to decompress from winning a national championship. It's not complacency. Your body has to decompress and you have to comprehend what has just happened, so then you have to go forward in the next direction. I think there's new guys, new guys in new positions, new situations, and I think they grew in those situations and they learned the first half of spring and then really started playing up to their capabilities and talent levels the second half. That's by no fault of their own, it's just a natural progression that you have to go through."

On the impact coordinator Jeremy Pruitt made on the defense, and how he thinks Pruitt will do at Georgia:"I mean, it was the system we ran and we wanted to run. He did a good job of organizing and calling the game. (About Georgia) I have no idea. I have no idea what Georgia's players are, what their mindset, what their team term personality is. There's so many other things that y'all don't realize, this team here was ready to play. We had a great temperament, we created a great culture here. It's not that Georgia doesn't have a culture - they've obviously been very successful and they've got good players. But I can't speak about someone else's team and the temperament. I knew we would have a good defense whoever our coordinator was a year ago. Jeremy did a tremendous job and you our leadership and our talent level were excellent."

On the Seminoles' attitude and motivation level: "I was really impressed with it, I really was. Those last couple of scrimmages, those last 10 days of practice, were very physical. Not where we're just knocking each out - we only go to the ground but twice - but how they practice, tenacity, the ability to improve and be technique-sound and do things the right way. I was very happy with the way we went through the back half of the spring practice."

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fasttiger44#293363 writes:

To be completely honest, I would say FSU more than likely was the best team in the country last year. No matter what happened in our game with them, I will stand by what I say until I am put six feet under the ground. They were not a 5 touchdown team difference between us. That night they were, although. I promise you one thing and mark this down and make fun of me all you want to after the game is over "if I am wrong". When the game is over and everybody looks up at the score board at Doak Campbell it could show Clemson with more points than FSU. We would have to have brought our A+ game and catch them on a night when they have a problem figuring out if the football is square or round or some other shape. Seriously, we have the talent on defense not to mess it up like we did last year, it's just a matter of executing and on offense we CAN NOT HAVE TURNOVERS ALL NIGHT AND EXECT TO STAY CLOSE TO THEM REGARDING THE SCORE. They are capable of blowing us out but, you got to remember we won't be Byrnes High School going down there. It may wind up being one of the better games of the entire season or it could be another blowout. Right now, they (FSU) have a little bit better players from top to bottom than we do but, you are talking about 2 of the top teams in the nation as far as young talent figures in it. In a year or two, we will have caught up with them in the recruiting wars and then it will turn around again and we "may" gain the upper hand. For at least the last decade we both have been fairly even with FSU showing out last year. They were really a good team last year. If they match this years play with last years play our A+ game may not be good enough unless they turn it over 6 times and that will cause them a major problem. Not too much longer and we will all see how well Clemson does down there. I am looking forward to the month of September and hope I stay happy because I sure would hate to start October with a 1 and 2 record.

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