Jimbo Fisher: 'If your quarterback's not a tough guy, your team's not tough'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday July 14, 2017

Florida State has national championship hopes this year, and that rides in part on keeping quarterback Deondre Francois on his feet.

Francois was beat up all last season by opposing defenses, sacked more than 30 times as a redshirt freshman. But Jimbo Fisher believes last year showed that Francois has what it takes — not just to fans, but to his teammates.

“We all have physical gifts. When we’re all healthy, everybody can play. But after the first day of practice in any sport, you’re never healthy You don’t ever feel the same,” Fisher said on WQAM. “When you understand that as a competitor, that’s what takes those guys (to another level). The guys that are outstanding take themselves different places, mentally. It has to do with the physicality of the game.

I’m a big believer in this: If your quarterback’s not a tough guy, your team’s not tough. They follow the leader, and those guys have to be competitive. We’ve been blessed to have those competitors at quarterback.”

Francois is not the only Nole looking to stay healthy. Star safety Derwin James missed most of the 2016 season with a knee injury.

A year away doesn’t have to be a year lost. Fisher said James’ mental work with the coaches was valuable, and it’s something everything player should do, if possible. Whether it's out for the year or just sitting out a practice, a lot of the things a player might complain about start to get cleared up.

“It’s a different perspective,” Fisher said. “When guys get injured, it’s funny. We’ll have a guy stand back by the coach to make sure they get the mental reps. Then they see all the things through a coach’s eyes. All the things they think, ‘Coach is driving me. He’s crazy. He don’t need to be nitpicking this.’ Then you step back and look at all the little factors.

“Sometimes they’re minimal things, but they affect the outcomes of plays. Taking a step back in practice and watching like a coach — they wonder why we’re so anal with every little detail. It gives you a different perspective.”

FSU opens the year against Alabama in Atlanta, followed by home games against UL-Monroe, Miami and NC State.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.