CLEMSON – With a bye heading into his team’s biggest game of the year, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher has a checklist with three items on it this week.
Go back to fundamentals for the Seminoles, with limited focus on Clemson initially.
Hang out with his wife and two kids Saturday, when FSU is idle.
And coax the conference into doing something about Vic Beasley, Corey Crawford and Clemson’s fearsome defensive line, since the Tigers’ 19 sacks are tied for the most in the country.
“I’m trying to get the ACC to give me 13 guys, to give me two more linemen … so we can block ‘em,” Fisher said on Wednesday’s ACC teleconference. “I’m serious, they bring pressure. Beasley, Crawford, inside, they all blitz, they bring different combinations.”
Since it’s unlikely commissioner John Swofford will make Fisher’s wish his command, the No. 6-ranked Seminoles will settle for two weeks of preparation for No. 3 Clemson, which has to deal with Boston College Saturday at Memorial Stadium before the titanic clash Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.
“(Defensive coordinator) Brent (Venables) does a tremendous job as a coach. They present a lot of problems,” Fisher said. “You cannot be one-dimensional; you’ve got to give multiple looks. They’re very good and they’re very well-coached.”
The Seminoles and Tigers currently share identical 5-0 records and 3-0 in the league, so the loser of their showdown would watch their division, conference and national championship hopes dwindle to a whisper.
“We’ll obviously have two top-six ranked teams, so it’s very important in the national title run,” Fisher said. “That’s why you come to Florida State, to play in those games, to be in those positions. That’s why you play college football, and that’s what you want to do as a player, to get in these games that matter. We’re very blessed to be there and to have a great opponent like Clemson.”
The game’s winner would have to lose twice in their remaining ACC games to give their rival a chance to go to the ACC Championship Game. Clemson has Boston College and Georgia Tech at home, and visits to Maryland and Virginia; Florida State hosts N.C. State, Miami and Syracuse with one road game remaining at Wake Forest.
The game will be televised by ABC, and ESPN’s College GameDay is likely to return to Clemson for its second Saturday stay this season. Provided Clemson beats the Golden Eagles Saturday afternoon, the hype machine won’t take long to crank into full gear.
“You’ve got to manage it but you’ve got to embrace it at the same time,” Fisher said. “You’ve got to understand the implications of the game. We talk about it all the time; it’s not a one-game season, but it’s a very, very important game for our goals and what we want to reach. We understand that. It’s a game we’re not trying to minimize.”
“But you’ve got to keep in perspective and enjoy the moment.”