November 11, 2013

Insider Report: Fisher talks Winston, Coker down with injury

After Florida State's big win on Saturday, Jimbo Fisher had some harsh words for his starting quarterback, specifically regarding Jameis Winston's second-half interception on fourth and 2.

"It's fourth and 2. The first option on that is run the football," Fisher said after the game. "Get it done. ... You do what you're coached to do and do it. ... I don't know what it is, I don't care what it is. Run the ball and get the first down."

On Monday, Fisher walked those comments back a bit and downplayed any frustration he felt with Winston.

"We just said that was a poor decision, move on," Fisher said. "It (the time I yelled at him) was on another decision in the game. When he came off, it wasn't a big deal but he was trying to tell me something and he gets animated too so I had to say, 'Listen!' and he knows that once I do raise my voice OK it's time to be quiet.

Fisher has been open most of the season about the relationship he and Winston have and his willingness to hear what Winston says after a play. For most of the season, Fisher says Winston's post-play analysis has been spot on.

"That's just the way he and I interact," Fisher said. "I give him a lot of freedom to see things because what he sees is 99 percent right. I was trying to make a point about something else."

But Fisher did admit at least that Saturday was the first time he'd yelled at Winston all season.

"That's the first time all year," Fisher said. "It's a thing that goes on once every blue moon."

Coker needs surgery

Backup quarterback Jacob Coker will miss an indeterminate about of time with a knee injury, Fisher announced Monday.

Coker, a sophomore, suffered an injury to his knee during the second half of FSU's rout of Wake Forest on Saturday. He will have to have surgery to repair the damage and Fisher said it won't be clear how much time Coker will miss until the surgery.

So far this season, Coker is 18-36 passing with 250 yards and one interception. His quarterback rating is 102.77, mostly in the second half of blowout wins. Coker took the backup role only after a heated position battle for the starting spot with Jameis Winston through fall camp. The third-string quarterback is freshman Sean Maguire, from Sparta, N.J., who is 1-2 on the season with two appearances.

Mario Edwards locks down starting role

2013 was supposed to be Mario Edwards's year as the sophomore defensive end was billed as a perfect fit for FSU's new, punishing defense. If the last few games are any indication, Edwards is finally coming into his own.

After being banged up for much of the early season, missing two games after surgery on his hand, Edwards has come back with a vengeance. In the past two games against then-No. 24 Miami and Saturday at Wake, Edwards has combined for 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a key interception and six tackles.

Those numbers aren't overwhelming on the surface, but they've come in a system where Edwards is asked to fill gaps more often than to go get the quarterback. It was an adjustment for Edwards initially, but he says he's more in sync with the defensive scheme now.

"The coach always says the play doesn't care who makes it," Edwards said. "A lot of the time I'm two-gapping or holding this up so linebackers can scrape off. But we're understanding that nobody's going to be that guy. We're doing this for a championship."

Edwards has also seen more of the field as Florida State has moved away from specialized packages and more towards a versatile defense. Instead of frequently rotating in Chris Casher or Demarcus Walker for situational packages, FSU is letting players like Edwards roam free and play multiple roles.

"Different things we call for in different packages … I have to be standing up," Edwards said. "We have to learn the things we aren't good at. Like, I wasn't good at standing up. So I had to work on that."

  • Bryan Stork, Kelvin Benjamin and Terrance Brooks all three returned to practice on Monday. Brooks missed last week with a concussion suffered against Miami, Stork missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury and Benjamin sat out the second half of Saturday's game with a possible concussion.

  • Freshman wide receiver Levonte Whitfield was named ACC specialist of the week after his 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Wake Forest on Saturday. It was Whitfield's second score this season, FSU's first kickoff return for a score since 2008 and tied for the fourth-longest kickoff return ever at FSU. Whitfield is averaging 34.4 yards on nine kick returns this season, which would lead the conference and be an FSU single-season record if he had the minimum 10 returns to qualify.

  • FSU's six interceptions on Monday not only vaulted the Seminoles into the national lead for picks but also tied a school and ACC record. it was the most for FSU since 1991 and the most for the ACC since Georgia Tech had six 2001.

  • With Saturday's win, Fisher's head coaching record is 40-10. He's also 27-3 since a 12-7 start at Florida State. That gives him the highest winning percentage (.800) of any coach in ACC history.

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