FSU's Fisher: "We're Not Defending Anything"
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida State Seminoles wrapped up their winter conditioning program Thursday, and coach Jimbo Fisher raved about the atmosphere and how the players understand the culture and what it takes to be elite.
Just don't mention the defense of the school's third national championship.
"I want to see the same things," Fisher said. "I want to see the confidence and belief in what we have, but also the hunger to go get another one and don't worry about the last one.
"We're not defending anything in that regard. I don't want us to think in those terms. What I'm looking for is another group of hungry guys who are willing to pay the same price they did last year when they didn't know they were real good."
Florida State wrapped up nearly four weeks of conditioning Thursday as new roles are formed throughout the roster. Gone are offensive leaders James Wilder Jr., Devonta Freeman and Kenny Shaw. Fisher said Karlos Williams and first-team All-ACC receiver Rashad Greene have stepped into those shoes. There is no more Telvin Smith, Lamarcus Joyner, Timmy Jernigan and Christian Jones on the defensive side. Fisher mentioned Terrance Smith, Tyler Hunter and P.J. Williams on that side of the ball.
Reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston and cornerback Jalen Ramsey are expected to hold leadership roles, but both are currently away from the team with Winston playing baseball and Ramsey on the track team.
"Right now is when the identity of your football team develops its attitude, its work ethic, its camaraderie, its family atmosphere," Fisher said. "All the little traits that you as a human being, your habits, are being developed right now.
"Player development, January through August. This is a very critical time."
The Seminoles begin spring practice March 18 with the spring game scheduled for April 12. The team had to adjust to a new defensive coordinator in Jeremy Pruitt last year and must do the same this spring with Charles Kelly being promoted from linebackers coach. Pruitt accepted the same position at the University of Georgia.
Kelly also will coach the defensive backs, and former Minnesota assistant head coach Bill Miller was hired to coach linebackers.
"You don't have the same transition because what you're doing isn't changing," Fisher said. "It's still going to be the same thing, just somebody else teaching it to you."
The Florida State defense led the nation in scoring defense and set the single-season school record with 26 interceptions under Pruitt. All eyes will be on Kelly and the unit.
"Nothing's changing too much as far as our defense and our scheme and the way we call things," Terrence Smith said. "So, it's been a pretty smooth transition overall."
Terrence Smith, however, does expect more blitzing opportunities for the linebackers. Joyner, Jernigan and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. were the top three sack artists for the Seminoles with 13 combined. No other player had more than two.
"Just from talking to Coach Kelly, he said we're going to blitz a little more at linebacker," Terrence Smith said. "But I think he was just telling me that because I'm a linebacker.
"He said we're going to pressure a little more than we did last year, not specifically just coming off the edge like we did last year."
Source: Associated Press