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September 19, 2010

Pick Six: Fisher's outburst sparks the team

Fisher's outburst sparks team (By Gene Williams, Warchant.com)

Until Saturday, the normally demonstrative Jimbo Fisher has been able to keep his emotions in check on the sidelines.

That changed in the second quarter of the BYU game.

After a couple questionable calls went against FSU, the 'Noles' rookie head coach couldn't hold it in any longer.

What set him off was a non-call after a BYU defensive back grabbed Bert Reed's facemask and ripped his helmet off. After the offensive series concluded with a field goal, Fisher ran up to a group of referees and expressed his dissatisfaction with the officiating in a very animated fashion.

"You could see the fans in the stands (react) and it is something that we needed," defensive tackle Everett Dawkins said. "Coach isn't going to back down from the officials or anybody else."

Fisher's outburst not only drew a loud excited response from the fans on the west side of the stadium, the players also took notice of the actions of their head coach.

"The people in the stands were yelling about it and I look over there and I saw coach really going off on the official," Dawkins said. "It kind of got me pumped up and hyped us up."

"It did give us a spark," added running back Chris Thompson of Fisher's emotional reaction to the officiating. "We always knew that coach Fisher had our back and that was the way that he showed it... It really sparked us and had us jumping around and smiling and everything because he really stood up for us."

A few plays later, Thompson used that extra spark by taking a pitch and running 83 yards for FSU's first touchdown of the day.

While most head coaches might water down their true feelings on officiating when speaking to the press, Fisher didn't hesitate when asked about his interaction with the officials in the second quarter.

"They ripped his helmet off," Fisher said of the play in question. "They missed some calls. And when they do I'm going to let them know. It's nothing personal. I'm going to battle and scratch and fight for our kids too. We got to bring emotion."

No. 3 back makes play of the day

Few teams, if any, have a No. 3 running back as dangerous or as explosive as FSU. That was evident when sophomore Chris Thompson took off for an 83-yard touchdown run in the second quarter on his first touch of the game.

Thompson, who was the No. 1 back on the depth chart for much of preseason practice, took a carry on what was also the first play of FSU's sixth drive, headed left, burst through an opening and took off down the sideline, out racing a group of defenders to the corner of the end zone. No defender ever laid a finger on him.

"I just read my reeds and once I saw (fullback) Lonnie (Pryor) make his block, all I saw was green and the only thing on my mind was touchdown," Thompson said. "Nobody was even close to me and I haven't been able to show my burst and speed in a long time so that felt real good."

Thompson says he had a bit of prophesy last night that he would make that kind of play.

"It sounds crazy but I had a dream of having a real big game in this game," Thompson said. "Even when I got to the sideline (team chaplain) Clint Purvis told me he saw me having a big run. Then right before the play, (receiver) Bert Reed came to me and said I was about to do something big."

Thompson's run tied the sixth longest run in school history by Sammie Smith against East Carolina in 1987.

Jones has standout performance

Thompson had the play of the game, but junior running back Ty Jones had the most complete game of any FSU player on offense. Jones turned a team-high 15 carries into 95 yards (average of 6.3 yards per carry), scored two touchdowns and made some big plays without the ball as well.

"He was phenomenal," Fisher said of Jones. "He blocked well. He ran well. He ran with power and speed and did a great job."

With FSU facing a 3rd-and-15 from its own 20 in the fourth quarter, Jones managed to keep the drive alive by taking a handoff on a draw, heading right, plowing over a defender and gaining 20 yards before being pushed out of bounds.

"I always feel like I can get the first down no matter what the play is," Jones said.

The Seminoles didn't score on that drive but were able to run 11 more plays. By the time BYU got the ball back the Cougars were trailing 27-10 with 5:41 left in the game.

After the FSU defense forced a turnover on downs, Jones sealed the outcome by scoring on a 9-yard touchdown run where he ran over another defender. Jones also scored in the third quarter on a play action pass on a 2-yard throw into the end zone from Christian Ponder.

G5 bounces back

A week after having the worst defensive game of his career, sophomore cornerback Greg Reid had perhaps his best.

Reid ranked second on the team with six tackles and led the squad with three pass break ups. On BYU's first play from scrimmage, Reid sniffed out a screen pass and held receiver Cody Hoffman to a 1-yard gain, which ignited the crowd and seemed to fire up his defensive teammates as well.

More importantly, Reid was never burnt in coverage nor had any noticeable misses in tackling attempts, which was his main problem against the Sooners.

"I'm pretty sure if we had lost today the stands would be empty so we kind of had to prove a point," Reid said. "We just came out with something to prove. We wanted to show this defense was amped up and improved."

Freshman tackle impresses in first start

With starting left tackle Andrew Datko sidelined with a shoulder injury, redshirt freshman Henry Orelus took his place and was a key part of an offensive line that grinded out 278 rushing yards.

"He did a great job," Fisher said of Orelus' performance. "They were over on the sidelines making corrections and his name wasn't coming up. It was some of the other guys."

Orelus didn't know even know he going to even play until Thursday when offensive line coach Rick Trickett called him into his office and delivered the news. Then on Friday, FSU decided Datko would not dress out, although he wasn't mentioned on the school's official injury list released on Thursday night.

"I wasn't nervous," Orelus said. "I just knew my responsibilities were to help the team when my time was called ... my parents said they weren't coming to a game until I started so I called them Friday night."

Orelus threw a key block on Chris Thompson's 83-yard touchdown in the second quarter, which was a run to the left side.

"Coach Trickett told us to stretch on that play," Orelus said. "I stretched real hard and got the end and (left guard Rodney (Hudson) got the linebacker and the play really broke."

Ponder adds to running game

FSU's third-leading rusher wasn't any of its running backs, it was quarterback Christian Ponder. The senior signal-caller picked up 50 yards on 13 carries. Much of that yardage didn't come off designed runs as Ponder often took off when his receivers were covered and managed to make the defense pay.

"Some were (designed) passes that they just dropped back and left huge holes to take advantage of," Ponder said. "I was able to do that and move the chains."

Ponder managed to scare Fisher and every FSU fan in the process. In the middle of the fourth quarter, FSU's offensive leader took off down the middle of the field and instead of sliding, the fifth-year senior took on a defender. The hit flipped his entire body over, sending his legs skyward. Ponder's head landed on the turf, he fumbled the ball but the Seminoles recovered.

"He yelled at me to get down," Ponder said of Fisher's reaction to that play. "But, before that he really didn't say anything about my runs."



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