Florida State chose to forego its regular media session on Tuesday, a bit unusual in the lead-up to the latest version of Game of the Century, which comes against Alabama on Saturday in Atlanta.
Jimbo Fisher was back to making the media rounds on Wednesday, explaining on the ACC teleconference and in a WJOX radio interview that there was no sinister plot the day before, just that the Seminoles had fallen behind on their practice schedule and canceled media appearances because they were running late. So with Fisher’s return on Wednesday and Nick Saban handling his usual media duties (including an SEC teleconference as well), the hype train is squarely back on the rails and steaming to Saturday.
The rare day of silence also created the opportunity to try and unpack Fisher’s opening statement for the week, which is never easy. The FSU coach may not be the most prolific talker in college football (Dabo Swinney, probably) but he is without question the toughest to transcribe, combining an Appalachian accent from his West Virginia roots with a staccato delivery that rolls over punctuation, especially periods. Instead, Fisher strings his multiple lines of thought together like a rope bridge over a crocodile-infested lagoon, challenging the listener’s belief about whether he or she will ever reach the other side.
Here, with the help of YouTube, is Fisher’s introduction to the week. You can listen for yourself, if you must.
“Finally, the season’s here,” he said, taking the last breath he would need for the next 72 seconds.
Then came the word torrent.
“We’re excited about getting kicked off and playing another opponent, someone besides ourselves, it’s been a very long camp but a good camp, been very happy with camp and the progress we have made and we’ll find out but you know our camp for the most part has been relatively healthy for the most part getting through camp as long as we have, looking forward to an outstanding season, hopefully our kids will play well and do the things we’ve got to do and stay healthy, they say ‘knock on wood’ (knocks on wood) but starting this first week, looking forward we’ve got a great team that we’re playing, again they’ve got nothing but respect for Alabama, they’ve done a tremendous job with their program in the past, in the present, in the future — I know they will, they have an outstanding coach, Nick does as good a job as anybody, does a great job preparing his team and you know they’ll be read, outstanding players, they play very hard, very physical, very well-coached, they have big guys, dynamic guys, playmakers, they have it across the board, they can throw it, they can catch it, they can run with it, they can defend, they can cover, they do all the things that you have to do to be successful and they’re great in the special teams so we’re definitely looking forward to the opener but at the same time we’re going to have to play extremely well, we know we have our hands full playing a great opponent but saying all that, we’re looking forward to it and ready to play and get the season kicked off and get going, so — questions?”
That’s approximately 275 words, delivered in 73 seconds. Some of it is hard to comprehend. At one point, he throws two “for the most parts” out simultaneously, the first being a bit of a luxury item as far as meaning goes and the second being a linguistic Lamborghini, thrown out there just to show his unlimited resources.
All kidding aside, Fisher — an outstanding coach — sounds excited. One skipped media meeting doesn’t change that (although it does make the job tougher for the FSU beat reporters, whose time deserves respect.) If there’s a message in there, it is that everyone in Tallahassee is ready. The feeling is the same in Tuscaloosa — even if we say it a little more slowly.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.