CRAWFORD | Florida State's Jimbo Fisher says Louisville 'as good as anybody'
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher met with reporters on Monday to talk about is team, and Saturday's matchup with No. 10-ranked Louisville.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he ran across Louisville’s game at Syracuse on TV Friday night almost by accident. What he saw, he said, impressed him.
Telling reporters in Tallahassee that quarterback Lamar Jackson is a much-improved player from the true freshman who threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns against his defense last season, Fisher said he expects the No. 10-ranked Cardinals to be a challenge for his second-ranked Seminoles.
“Got a great team coming up in Louisville, very dynamic on both sides of the ball, playmakers, kicking game. I mean, extremely well coached. You go from A to Z. They're as good as there is around, so they do a great job. Got to get better, get ready for the challenge and get ready to roll.”
Florida State got some bad news on defensive back Derwin James, who is going to require surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left knee and will miss the Louisville game. Cardinals’ coach Bobby Petrino called him, “one of the best players in the country.”
The Seminoles have gotten a lift from freshman quarterback Deondre Francois, who has completed 69 percent of his passes and thrown for 640 yards and 5 touchdowns with one interception in his first two games. And they have a Heisman candidate in junior running back Dalvin Cook, who has run for 273 yards and four touchdowns in two games against Louisville. He also caught 8 passes for 100 yards in those two games.
“Structurally you know what he does and they're still doing similar things,” Fisher said. “They'll have adjustments and do things better. But he's progressed so much more as a player in my opinion with the poise and the leadership. But it's just passing skills and his reading. But we've played against him so we know what he's like. But that doesn't make it any easier. That guy's dynamic in all phases of the world and how he plays. So we're going to have our hands full. We've got to keep contain. We've got to pressure. We've got to play Florida State football. We've got to tackle in space, but then also you slip up and they're banging you up inside with inside runs and power and stuff. So we've got to play a complete football game and be disciplined. Have great eye control.”
It’s not the first time Fisher has been very complimentary of Louisville, even if his team has dominated the second halves of their past two meetings -- scoring 35 points in each.
He points to the talent level and NFL Draft success Louisville has had.
“Oh, they've got good players,” Fisher said. “I mean, just like a couple years ago in 2014 they said man how'd you go through Louisville? They had 10 guys drafted. We had 11; they had 10. Last year, look at the high picks they've got. They've got guys, receivers, players too. They've got really good players. Josh Harvey-Clemons and (Shaq) Wiggins, and the junior college guys, (James) Hearns who is a defensive end from right here in town at Lincoln. (Keith) Kelsey at linebacker, the corner, the receivers (James) Quick, and the linemen. They've got good linemen, tight end can run and kick, the backs are good players, and all two or three of the receivers, those guys are big guys, No. 18, the tight end is athletic. They've got really good players and they're coached well. That team, you look at the history of the players that have come out of there recently, they're as good as anybody.”
Playing with ESPN’s College GameDay in the house is nothing new for Florida State. The program has played on the biggest stages, and in some of the most difficult environments, in college football. It opened the season with a comeback win over a very good Ole Miss team. After a bit of a breather, it comes into Louisville.
“It's going to be that way the whole year,” he said. “You're everybody's Super Bowl. You're ranked up there high, that's what you do at Florida State. You get used to going into those environments and hopefully it's like going to work every day. That's what it is and you respect it and you do it. You put your work in, don't get caught up in the clutter and the hype. You concentrate on what you do and how you prepare and how you play, and learn to have the great process of getting ready.”
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