Here is what Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher had to say about his team and its upcoming game at N.C. State.
On Tuesday’s final practice before the N.C. State game: We had a good practice. I thought we’ve practiced well … we’ve just got to go play well. Sometimes on an off week, the big thing is you practice too much. I mean, you’re ready to play. You’re tired of practice.” “You’ve got to remember the game time and get your preparation and get it done.
On QB Christian Ponder’s health and the passing game: The passing game’s fine. We’ve got to protect and get guys where they need to be and we’ll be all right.
The guy has played one bad half. He’s played great. He’s leading us in third down (conversions) and led us in red zone (conversions). The guy has bounced back his whole career and he had one bad half. He’ll play well and do well.
The arm’s fine. He’s throwing really well.
On the anticipated atmosphere at Carter-Finley Stadium: It will be loud. It will be tough. It’s a good environment, sitting down in that pit. We played up there a couple years ago and these guys were all there. We’ve just got to go up there and execute. They’ll be ready to play. This is a big game for them; a big game for everybody. It’s a conference game and they’re building it up.
About FSU’s running game which is producing 211 yards an outing: We have executed well (in practice). We’ll do what we do and try to execute it better; get the right looks and get them in and out of the right plays. I think we’ll be in good shape.
We’ve ran well in practice the last two or three days; ran well against our defense, too.
How important it is to execute on third down and in the red zone against N.C. State: It’s crucial – third down, red zone and all those situations – when you get your opportunities you’ve got to score, because they score. You can’t leave anything on the table. We have to be able to run it, throw and do what we have to do to get it in there. That’s always huge in every ballgame and it’s a big part of what we try and emphasize.
Why the ‘Noles have been successful on third down and in the red zone: It’s two things. I think we’re more physical and we’re running the ball better. [Ponder] is making good decisions down there and getting us in the zone; winning with his legs. He’s been scrambling and keeping plays alive. That’s why we’ve played so well on third down. … We’re able to run the football, get manageable third downs, and when we’re in the red zone we’re not being caught in third-and-10 and [Ponder] has been able to bail us out.
On the how the team has benefited from the long break between games and how healthy they are: There are a lot of guys that might not have played last Saturday that will definitely play and they feel a lot better right now.
On the challenges that Russell Wilson creates: You cannot take a play off. Say they have 60 plays. If you play 57 great plays, the three that you didn’t could be the difference in what changes the game. That’s the thing with him – you’ve got to be on your toes all the time.
On the combination of Wilson and his veteran receivers: They’ve been around. They’ve had that steady core of guys for a while and they throw it up. They’re very systematic, they do a great job of reading (the defense) and know where they’re going. They’ve got a good group. … Don’t forget their tight end. He’s a great player, too.
On influence of Tom O’Brien on the Wolfpack: They’re a very well-coached, disciplined team. Tom’s always been a great coach. His team plays just like his personality and the way he thinks.