Jimbo Fisher says, “Mariota Wasn’t Good for us Tonight”

RB-Jimbo Featured Pic

(Reporting from the Rose Bowl for FishDuck.com is Football Correspondent Mike Merrell)

After noting the privilege of playing in the Rose Bowl, tipping his hat to Oregon, paying homage to his own team and expressing hope for the future, Florida State eventually got around to the nitty-gritty. “Starting slow against an athletic team like Oregon and Mariota wasn’t really good for us tonight.”

Florida State’s slow start — only 13 points in the first half — actually turned out to be as good as it got for the Seminoles. Four third quarter turnovers led to four Oregon touchdowns and the end of Florida State’s 29-game winning streak. During that win streak, it has been a Florida State trademark to come from behind after making halftime adjustments. When asked what was different about this game, Fisher responded, “It was the turnovers. It was different because, when turnovers come, they change momentum. Momentum is different than making adjustments when guys are driving the football. If we can put the ball in the end zone on offense, it can help our defense out in a lot of situations. Transition defense we didn’t excel at. I thought the end of the first half they (his Seminoles) were playing very well.”

Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich

From Video

Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich

Ironically, Oregon Coach Mark Helfrich, despite having his team leading 18-13 at halftime, didn’t have the same level of satisfaction. His halftime quotes included, “We’re not playing very well, not playing smart, not playing thinly enough.”  Apparently Helfrich’s dissatisfaction led to the more effective halftime adjustments, because it was the Ducks who knocked the legs out from under the Seminoles in the second half.

At one point during the second half, Fisher appeared to have a bit of an atmosphere with FSU quarterback Jameis Winston. When asked about it, Fisher said, “The guy (Seminole receiver on a pass play) fell down, and he was trying to tell me how the guy fell down. He gets animated, but he’s not — wasn’t words… he always gets animated like that when he talks.”

Well, almost always. Last year’s Heisman winner was anything but animated in the post-game presser. When asked about what it felt like to finally lose a game after so many wins, Winston said, “It hurts badder than whatever you can imagine, but the good thing is we live to fight another day. We’ve got tons of great futures. No one likes to lose, man. I mean, losing is really not in my vocabulary, to be honest which [with] you, but we fell short today. Got to man up and go ahead and just get better every day. I just hope that we can learn from this because I ain’t felt this way in a long time, I’ve got to say.”

Asked about his fumble on a 4th and 5 play that led to a 58-yard return for a Duck touchdown by Tony Washington, Winston said, “I was just trying to make a play. I should have got the ball in my hands earlier. Just — it was just an unfortunate play, man. I never thought that I would slip, throw the ball backwards. Man, it just — it’s a very unfortunate play, but that’s football. It was fourth down so, obviously, I’m trying to compete, trying to compete my tail off to try to get us in a good situation, but just a very unfortunate play, man.”

Winston spoke highly of Oregon’s 2014 Heisman winner, Marcus Mariota. “He’s a fantastic player. Got to tip your hat off to him because he won the game. He led his team to victory. So that’s the most important part.”

Sportsmanship Impaired

From Video

Sportsmanship Impaired

Still, Winston wasn’t about to give the Ducks too much credit. He went on to say, “This game could have went either way, if you want to be — if everybody in this room just want to be real with themselves, this game could have went either way. We turned the ball over a lot. We beat ourself. Just be real with yourself right now. We beat ourself.”

When asked to react to Winston’s statement that the game could have gone either way, Oregon’s Washington responded, “…he has that competitive attitude, and I thought that’s what he was trying to present to everyone. I don’t really have much to say about it.”

The Seminoles came into the game with a feeling of invincibility and a belief that however the first half went, Lady Luck would smile on them in the second half, and whether it was by Winston’s heroics or by defensive adjustments the Seminole chant and the tomahawk chop would rule the stadium. Yet with 10:35 remaining in the game, it was the Oregon fans who were performing the chant and chop.

Before the post-game press conference even began, it was a Florida State media man who perhaps said it best: “All of the luck of the past two years caught up with us in one game.”

Maybe it was luck that caught up with the Seminoles, but it was the Oregon Ducks that went flying past them and left them in the dust.


Top photo credit: from Video

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Mike Merrell

Mike Merrell

Mike (Editor-in-Chief) is a 1970 graduate of the University of Oregon where he attended the Honors College and received all-conference honors as a swimmer. After college, Mike ran for the Oregon Track Club and narrowly missed qualifying for the US Olympic Trials in the marathon. He continues his involvement in sports with near-daily swimming or running workouts, occasional masters swim competition (where he has received two Top-10 World rankings), providing volunteer coaching to local triathletes and helping out with FishDuck.com. Mike lives on 28 acres in the forest near Sandpoint, Idaho, where he has served as a certified public accountant for most of his working career. His current night job is writing novels about Abby Westminster, the only known illegitimate daughter of Britain's finest secret agent who has to bring down arch-villains plotting dastardly deeds. And, yes, Abby is also a DUCK!

  • imabiyer

    If I want to be REALLY honest about the game — we SHELLACKED them! Aside from that, FSU played their worst game in over 2 years — and its unfortunate because I think many of their mistakes were self-inflicted. I mean even if we are soundly beating them — how does a team as athletic, skilled, well-coached, and talented commit 4 turnovers in like 6 min? We just were opportunistic and made them pay big time. But, I doubt we’d see that from them if we had to play them again. So while I do NOT think it could’ve gone either way, I do admit we got great scoring chances and field position on what I would consider very uncharacteristic blunders by FSU. I’m a college football fan in general too… and I actually thought Winston played fairly well except that ridiculous fumble. I would’ve preferred the Ducks beating FSU while they brought their A game though… This game looked like they shot themselves in the foot in the 3rd and then rolled over and died in the 4th.

    • douglas fur

      This sounds like you agree with Winston’s “we fumbled” as if he was walking through a field of daisies and “oopsie I dwopped the ball”. Each turnover was stripped, tipped, deflected or forced by the D. His pratfall fumble to me looked more like a fox trapped by the hounds trying wlidly to not be caught.
      DRB ’74

      • Mike Merrell

        douglas fur —

        You and I saw the same game. The Seminoles were totally unprepared for what the Ducks brought — nobody they played could have prepared them for it, nor would their team discipline have done so. Those weren’t giveaways — they were takeaways. And there were three more fumbles that the Ducks didn’t get. Winston was under pressure all afternoon from a 3 or 4 man rush and was freaked out by the end of the day. The only times Mariota got his jersey dirty was when he slid after double digit gains. FSU just couldn’t handle the pace and broke down both mentally and physically.

        • Alrazi

          I agree with both. oregon tempo and pressure forced most of FSU mistakes.

          Even the backward fumble was forced. JW skill set helped him scramble and escape -or so he thought- the pressure and when he was about to throw he realizes that Washington rampaging up to him with a formidable proximity. JW was FREAKED and THAT caused the backward fumble.

        • imabiyer

          I’m not trying to split hairs here — just calling it like I see it. I played football and studied the game. Its like any sport… Aside from a game plan, there is coaching, conditioning, mental-state, emotion, its also a game of momentum, mistakes and opportunities. FSU’s turnovers were as much about Oregon’s pressure as it was about FSU mental mistakes. I’m not about to give credit to FSU’s incompetence in the 3rd to their own players solely… Just saying, watching those plays carefully — it was clear Dalvin Cook was frazzled after the first fumble (strip/steal). He was eventually pulled from the game. That’s all mental (on their part). Granted he really wasn’t starting games until like 5-6 games ago. This was probably the biggest game of his life. Royce Freeman has been punching it in for us since game 1. Winston was looking down field and OLeary fell and he had to adjust while scrambling. You can see he slips and tries to right himself… that sudden upward movement was the weirdest thing I ever saw — probably something he normally doesn’t do. Hardrick was chasing him (#48) — but studying Winston — I doubt that was the reason why he did that (he’s been gang tackled before and still stood standing). It was more the slip of his footing while trying to make a throw to a receiver – that’s a mental mistake/. The kick returner who fumbled the ball — that’s all mental too. The interception — now THAT was all Ducks!

          I also actually don’t think the tempo was an issue. FSU clearly had things manageable minus a few bogus calls to be essentially tied with us in the first half. I believe the 3rd quarter was about mistakes on their part. Oregon on the other hand (and I think this is where you and I agree) was ball-hawking and got to give them credit for having the intuition to get after it the moment those balls came free. Fumbles are hard to statistically characterize and in most cases — its a random event. Oregon crushed FSU (with a little help from FSU). That’s all I’m saying. If you want to say it had nothing to do with FSU — I’m fine with that too. ;)

    • NotJustAHomer

      I’m sorry but FSU is has been turnover pron all season but have been better than all other teams before Oregon to overcome that fact. Oregon also exacerbated the proclivity for turning the ball over with their speed & athleticism on both sides of the ball. FSU was caught catching their breath late in the 2nd quarter & like many oregon opponents were found wanting in the 3rd & 4th quarters. FSU had their moment last year & the nation outside Tallahasee saw they had lost a step this year to marginal opposition til they were forced to play outside the ACC and hand picked opposition besides a mediocre UF interstate rivalry. Oregon has paid its dues the past decade so just give credit where credit is due. Here’s to a true NC game may the best team win (finally)

  • Steve Klopcic

    Who wrote this article title? He said that Starting slow (against an athletic team …) wasn’t good for them. No Mariota wasn’t good for them, of course. But thats not what he meant. I could easily say that Fisher said “Mariota wasn’t good!”

  • sherrybb

    Our defense FORCED those turnovers. Most of them were not unforced, and then we did something with them….we scored touchdowns…fast. When we turned the ball over, did FSU score touchdowns? Or even field goals? True, FSU did not play to their potential….but we did. And i think we’d beat them again, because they could not stop us!

  • tillamookduck

    First of all, there are two things I can’t stand in life. The first one is when the Ducks lose… but the second are irrationally rabid fans who don’t really understand the finer points of the game. Lets not get overly insecure about our win here, guys!

    I think you guys are debating at two levels of detail. On one side, there are people who are crediting our defense as the ONLY reason why FSU got clobbered. Then there are these other people (we’ll just call them obnoxious FSU fans) who claim that it was all because of their own mistakes. I’m a reasonable fellow who takes football very seriously understand it was somewhere in the middle (putting it very diplomatically). I predicted Auburn would beat us back in 2011 — and sadly I was right. This is NOT that team. Yes this team has tempo and yes this team has speed, but it is big and physical. But those who say it was because of Oregon’s D on all those turnovers — sadly, I must also disagree. C’mon now, I generally reserve that sort of chatter for some of the crazies in SEC country.

    I live by the Bushido code! We don’t need to be insecure about the victory. We dominated and I have no problem admitting that FSU screwed up in the 3rd. They knew what they wanted to do and couldn’t execute. 1st Half really had both teams fairly even. And I’ll even go out and say it — there was some bad officiating that might have changed the complexion of the game. Anyone watching the game understands what I am talking about. I’m a BIG believer in momentum — and after those two fumbles in the 2nd half by the FSU RB, I knew it was over. Oregon gained confidence (cuz if you recall FSU was moving the ball pretty well both times too). And FSU had never been in a hole like that against a team like the Ducks. Momentum shifted in a HUGE way and FSU became desperate. We KNEW if they slipped up even once — it would be off to the races. They turned over the ball FOUR times! I don’t care who is playing — Bama, OSU, Auburn — you don’t come back turning it over that many times.

    Lastly — Imabiyer, while I understand your point about their freshman RB getting all shaken up from the 1st fumble and that somehow got him all butter fingers on the second, I STRONGLY disagree. Our D preyed on their hapless freshman RB. The first one was straight up robbery by the Ducks. The 2nd was a clean strip. Maybe he was frazzled before the 2nd fumble — maybe not — but hey, that’s football. I DO agree that Winston’s fumble was unforced. That’s pretty clear if you’ve been paying attention to how that guy plays. And actually all things considered — I actually agree that Jameis did play pretty well. The kick return fumble was potentially unforced (not sure he had full control of the ball). So maybe FSU could be credited with 2 mistakes at best? Nuff said — we destroyed them — humiliated them — end of story — laters — see ya never!