You might have expected Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher to be upset that his team struggled to beat Boston College last weekend in Tallahassee, but he wasn't.
"I'm more encouraged coming out of this game than I was the Miami game. I'm more excited about our football team now than I was after we played Miami," he said.
Really? Hey, coach, didn't your young team rout the nationally ranked Hurricanes on the road 45-17, in contrast to its 24-19 turnover-marred win against a BC team that had lost its three previous games? Well, total points or even style points aren't his point.
"We learned to overcome adversity," Fisher said.
QB Christian Ponder threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and lost a fumble. The defense allowed two long runs in the opening quarter. Even dazzling PR Greg Reid was a bit off.
"And we overcame all of those things," Fisher said. "They never flinched. They never lost their poise. They never lost their composure … and that makes me happy."
Really. After all, his defense forced the Eagles to settle for field goals in the red zone. The FSU kicking game was outstanding. And the offense kept the ball for the final 8 minutes, 4 seconds of the game to protect the lead.
"I understand we have to get better," Fisher said, adding that the team will use this bye week to work on the fundamentals. "But understanding how to play a game when you're not having your A game and still be able to win, there's something to that, and that's part of their maturity and growth, and my hat's off to our players for that."
Stork delivers: When coaches realized that star G David Spurlock suffered his second concussion of the season during last weekend's game against Boston College and had to replace him, redshirt freshman Bryan Stork delivered a "solid" performance, Fisher said.
"He made some good plays, made some good blocks," he said, adding that Stork was on the field when the Seminoles regained the lead with a fourth-quarter touchdown, then ran out the clock. "He did a very solid job."
Fisher said that Stork's time practicing with the first unit during August two-a-days certainly paid off (as it did earlier this season when fellow redshirt freshman linemen Henry Orelus and Garrett Faircloth were pressed into duty). With Spurlock out, Fisher said he's "very comfortable with Stork going in there."
Numbers game: The Seminoles' first six Division I-A opponents are a combined 18-20, a .474 winning percentage. But take out undefeated Oklahoma, and the remaining five are just 12-20 (.375 winning percentage). FSU's last five opponents — North Carolina State, North Carolina, Clemson, Maryland and Florida — are a combined 20-12 (.625 winning percentage).
"Obviously, all our goals are still there," Ponder said. "But like I said, there's a lot of football left and we haven't really achieved anything yet. We want to get to the ACC Championship Game. We want to win the state of Florida. We want to make it to a BCS game. Those are all attainable, but it's a long road to get there, so we're not looking too far ahead."
Did you know? Fisher joined a select fraternity of ACC coaches who have begun their careers as a head coach by starting 4-0 in league play. He joins Bobby Ross (Maryland, 1982), Fred Goldsmith (Duke, 1994), Ralph Friedgen (Maryland, 2001) and Jeff Jagodzinski (Boston College).
Cross country shout-out: The women's cross country team, which won last weekend's Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., is No. 3 in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll. Meanwhile, the men, fresh off a third-place finish at Pre-Nationals, jumped from No. 15 to No. 8 in the poll. That matches the program's highest ranking.
Brian Landman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3347. Follow his coverage at seminoles.tampabay.com.