I was fortunate enough to ask the first question Wednesday on conference call with Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, so here is a transcription of that exchange:
JC: We all know your offense relies heavily on the quarterback position. You put a lot on his plate. You've had a few make it to the NFL. If your offense is going to be all it can be, do you need E.J. Manuel to develop into a conference player of the year-type guy or maybe even a fringe Heisman Trophy candidate?
JF: No, I don't think so. I think he has the ability to do that, and I think the key is we play well around him and that we, first of all, take care of our needs up front and we get much better up front and allow us to function. I think we have to be fine at receiver and who's the guy that's going to go catch 70 balls, and the back that's going to be able to tote it and make the plays at the end and so forth, and the tight end create things. I think he will. And when I looked at his numbers at the end, when I watched him play, he didn't play perfect. But he did pretty good, especially with the situations that we had around him. And I don't necessarily think that's true, especially with the capabilities we have. I think we'll be able to run the football much better, create more plays out there and play great defense and special teams. I think he can, but I don't think he has to.
Here are a few other nuggets and tidbits from Fisher's comments later in the call:
When asked about receiver Kelvin Benjamin, Fisher of course continued to praise the redshirt freshman and thinks "there is a big role for him" this coming year. Fisher has especially been pleased with the Belle Glade native's work ethic lately, which was questionable when he arrived in Tallahassee since he was a bit overweight and a tad out of shape. ...
Answering a question about the importance of summer camps, Fisher guessed that approximately "80-85 percent" of the players he signs in a recruiting class were also campers. But he uses camp as more of an opportunity for recruits to get used to him and his coaching staff and the way they go about their business, not necessarily as a pure recruiting tool. ...
One reporter wanted to know Fisher's thoughts on the college game possibly moving closer to a playoff system, which has been speculated more than ever the last few days, and the third-year coach responded by saying "change is inevitable." However, don't change for the sake of changing, as you must have "a better way" of going about your business first. ...
As far as Greg Reid is concerned, Fisher was reminded that the senior is on the verge of breaking the school record for career punt-return yardage, which is really saying something at a program that produced Deion Sanders, Terrell Buckley and Peter Warrick -- Fisher mentioned those names, not the reporter. Fisher simply called Reid a "natural" with the ball in his hands. ...
In closing, as far as any concerns he had entering spring practice, Fisher highlighted the need to fix the offensive line and tight end positions, as well as "developing depth" at spots like linebacker, defensive back, quarterback and running back. As banged up as his team was in 2011, he learned once again that second and third stringers must be ready to step in and play at a moment's notice.
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Conference Call: Jimbo Fisher
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