When Jimbo Fisher took the job at Texas A&M, the upcoming schedule apparently didn’t factor into his decision.
Asked on Monday at his regular press conference if he chuckled when he looked at the 2018 schedule and saw Clemson in Week 2, Fisher said he didn’t realize his old ACC rival from his Florida State days would be there.
“I had no idea,” he said. “It was kind of ironic, when I accepted the job, looked down, they say, ‘You know,’ I said, you’ve got to be kidding,’ I said ‘Really?’ It’s ironic, because whoever won that game for so many years won the conference. Every year that was a critical game. I guess it’s kind of ironic, I guess it’s fitting.”
Florida State and Clemson have split the last eight meetings, but Clemson’s won the last three. About the familiarity, Fisher deadpanned, “The good news is you know. The bad news is you know.”
Speaking of the Tigers, earlier Monday, QB Kellen Mond told reporters Monday that he nearly went to Clemson because former QB Deshaun Watson was someone he looked up to, and looked to model his game after, and Fisher replied, “I’d be all for that.”
“You model your game after somebody, but like coaches, you got to be yourself,” Fisher said. “You got to see things, intangibles that make you successful. What makes Deshaun successful, and the few times I’ve been around him, he’s a quality young man, he’s intelligent, he studies the game, he’s a great leader. All those are great qualities in successful people, and that’d be a great guy to study, no doubt about it.”
Fisher spoke of the importance of a balanced offensive attack, including getting Trayveon Williams on track.
“You have to, against these guys,” he said. “Sometimes, you bang it and not get a ton of yards, but you’ve got to make them respect it. You got to run the football and you’ve got to stay balanced because they’ve got to play it. If not, you become one-dimensional and guys up front can tee off and come after you.”
Asked about Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s success, Fisher said Swinney is smart and charismatic, but has a strong staff and administrative support to provide facilities and other modern amenities.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to find out who can compete,” he said. “Clemson has been one of the best teams in the country for a while, but we can’t worry about our opponent. We have to prepare to play and focus on what we do well.”
Fisher added that LB Anthony Hines should be back at practice this week and should play on Saturday.
The 12th Man Foundation’s Adam Quisenberry also told reporters that less than 600 non-student tickets remain for Saturday night’s game vs. No. 2 Clemson.