Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher savors title, admits repeat tough
Florida State's P.J. Williams holds up his defensive player of the game trophy after the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game against Auburn Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. Florida State won 34-31. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher poses with The Coaches' Trophy during a news conference for the BCS National Championship NCAA college football game Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, in Newport Beach, Calif. Florida State beat Auburn 34-31 to win the championship the night before. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Jimbo Fisher knows there is still work to be done.
Less than 12 hours after a thrilling, come-from-behind 34-31 victory over Auburn on Monday night in the BCS National Championship Game, the Florida State coach was already focused on the future.
“You take winning for granted,” Fisher said Tuesday at the Newport Beach Marriott, where he was presented with three more championship trophies in addition to the BCS crystal football. “That’s going to be our challenge now. How hungry can you stay?”
Fisher understands how difficult it can be to continue a winning tradition. He saw it during his days under Nick Saban at LSU first-hand and is looking to avoid those same pitfalls.
“You can’t lose that edge,” Fisher said. “If you ever lose that edge, that chip on your shoulder, you’re just another team.
“This team has to go back, get its own identity, get its own leadership and develop that and that’s going to be our challenge now.”
That’s not to say the 48-year-old West Virginia native didn’t take a moment to step back and take it all in following his team’s emotional victory. Fisher said he celebrated with family and friends after the game back at the team hotel before finding a spot in a chair where he almost dozed off.
“You feel like you want to sleep for about a week after these seasons,” Fisher joked.
Fisher said the team should get back to Tallahassee today and his coaching staff will have a day or so to rest up before they jump right back on the recruiting trail. National Signing Day looms less than a month away.
Any discussions on Florida State’s future inevitably shift to its young Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston. His performance Monday night, shaking off early mistakes to lead a game-winning scoring drive, solidified his position as one of the best to ever play the position for the Seminoles. Next season presents its own set of challenges, including the attention and pressure that goes with trying to repeat as national champions and Winston potentially leaving early for the NFL.
Fisher said it is far too to be discussing whether Winston will leave after one more season with the Seminoles when he first becomes eligible for the draft.
“The thing about Jameis, he’s a team-oriented guy and he’s not worried about the NFL or anything else,” Fisher said. “We don’t necessarily know he’s going to the NFL, do we?
“Don’t assume now ... You know what assume stands for.”
All kidding aside, Fisher said next season will offer another opportunity for his redshirt freshman star signal caller to improve.
“It’ll be another growing stage for him and all of us and he’ll learn from it,” Fisher said. “Again, I think he’ll handle it very well.”
Fisher has been known to shout at his star player on the sidelines. Winston has said he appreciates Fisher has never coddled him, always demanding him to be the best.
The two went head-to-head right before their trip to Southern California, with Fisher banishing his young star from the Seminoles final practice in Tallahassee because he felt he wasn’t in the right mindset during two-minute drills. He said Winston argued his case and he listened, but in the end he made the call.
“We had some points and he had some points, so it’s good to be king,” Fisher said drawing a laugh from the media assembled.
“He’ll be the king one day,” Fisher added. “When he’s in pro ball he might have thrown the coach out.”
Ultimately, Fisher said he was proud of what his team accomplished and what it meant for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
FSU lost the first BCS title game, so Fisher was pleased to see the Seminoles win the final one before the shift to the College Football Playoff.
“I think it’s fitting that Florida State come full circle back,” Fisher said. “And, like I say, maybe we don’t play in the SEC, but we play in the south and we’ve got good football.”