How did the rest of the team take the news?
Jimbo Fisher: They knew he was hurting pretty good after the game, right afterwards. It was shocking to them. He was their leader. He was the guy they all looked to. Like I tell our guys, it’s time for another guy to be a hero. Maybe it’s E.J., maybe it’s somebody else. It doesn’t necessarily have to be E.J. Kids move on. They know we have to. It’s part of the game.
What are your thoughts right now on where the team is? I know you take it week by week, but this literally is a must-win situation I would think.
JF: I don’t think we look at it that way. You don’t say that to them. You say we have to play well. If we play well, then we have a chance to win. Winning and losing will take care of itself based on what you do and how you prepare yourself. That’s how we’re taking it.
What is Christian doing now? Has he had the surgery? Will he be on the sideline?
JF: He’ll be on the trip. He’ll be there, room with E.J. Be on the sideline. We’ll be able to talk to him, make adjustments, see what he’s seeing, just knowing he’s been in those shoes before.
When exactly is his surgery?
JF: I believe it’s the end of next week sometime. I don’t know the date exactly.
I did see in one of the practice reports that Christian was more likely to return next year instead of going to the NFL. How do you feel that decision will benefit him?
JF: If it’s time to go out, it’s time to go out, but I don’t ever think coming back and gaining more experience, gaining more knowledge, polishing your game, I don’t think that hurts you. If you’re definitely a top five pick and you know you’re going to go, you’ve gotta go. But I don’t ever think coming back to college and maturing and learning more ball and becoming a more complete player and working on other weaknesses you have, I don’t think that ever hurts you. And the thing is, he’s coming back to an offense that has everybody back. Everybody. The offensive line, the tight ends, the receivers. We’re only playing one senior, that’s Rod Owens.
Yeah, I think people forget that.
JF: Exactly. And there’s only about three juniors, Hudson, McMahon and Ponder.
That being said, are you pleased with the way things at least offensively have gone this year?
JF: We’ve gotten better. I still wish there were times in games we would’ve made some plays at key times. Part of that is maturity. As far as what we’re doing, our ability to run the ball, throw the ball, create plays, we’re averaging 440 yards a game and some points. We’re making tremendous progress on offense I think, I really do.
In summary, are there any particular keys you guys have to do offensively on Saturday to win this game?
JF: First of all not turn it over, like always. I think we have to be able to run the football, take pressure off of E.J. so that we can throw when we want to and not when we have to all of the time. Pick our moments to put him in the right situations. I think he can handle it, but I think it would help tremendously to take some pressure off of him.