The Daily Nole

Fisher: Tarvarus McFadden “Doing a Great Job” on Punt Returns

PTF Photo/FSU athletics

TALLAHASSEE, Fl. – Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher spoke to the media on Monday for the first time since FSU’s loss to Miami and again gave credit to the Hurricanes. Fisher said the Hurricanes made “one more play” than his team, which ultimately cost FSU the game.

Fisher said his team still has everything to play for, despite nearly all of its season goals now sitting out of reach.

“No matter what your record is, you play. It’s fans, and we all know this,” Fisher said. “What do you have to play for? We’ve got everything to play for. What if you’re a junior-eligible draft guy or senior-eligible draft guy? What’s the NFL looking at? You.”

Fisher drew heavy criticism for deciding to punt twice from inside Miami territory in the first quarter. He cited the Seminole defense’s performance as the reason why.

“Our defense [was] playing well,” Fisher said. “They haven’t had anything. You get it back, you’re out of field goal range, if you miss, you give them the ball midfield, allow them to be aggressive, you pin them back, we have a great defense, you get it back. Both times we got it back…”

One area that has been problematic for the Seminoles for years is returning punts. Receiver Nyqwan Murray was removed from punt returning duties and replaced by cornerback Tarvarus McFadden.

McFadden has drawn criticism for often fair catching punts or not returning them at all, but Fisher said that he has performed well at the position.

“He’s doing a great job. He’s been fielding the ball extremely well,” Fisher said. “… T-Mac has done a great job of fielding punts, and his ball security has been excellent. And he had a couple of nice little returns.”

The Seminoles sit at 1-3 and now run a real risk of missing a bowl game for the first time in more than 30 years. While Fisher did not bring up FSU’s strength of schedule to his team, he acknowledged the level of opponents the Seminoles have played in 2017.

“I just know we played good people. I didn’t look at strength of schedule, which I assume would be right,” Fisher said.” “I told you Wake was a pretty good football team.

“I told them we played great teams. There’s no doubt. We have open communication about that. But I said, again, it’s about us. It’s about us making that play and making every play. Not leaving anything — as I say, no rock left unturned. You got to practice that way.”

FSU holds a 17-0 all-time record against the Blue Devils, but the two programs have not met since the 2013 ACC Championship, when the Jameis Winston-led Seminoles trounced Duke, 45-7.

The last regular season match-up between the programs came in 2012.

“They’re right on the verge of winning all their games,” Fisher said. “ … [Duke head coach David Cutcliffe] does a great job, quarterback runs, power runs, all the different runs. The variations, the routes they do, really good in the passing game.

“I mean, they’re a really good — they’re a good football team. They’re 4-2 for a reason. They’re playing really good.”

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