TALLAHASSEE — Between the end of February's recruiting season and the start of spring practices, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher takes his eldest son on hunting missions in the neighboring south Georgia woods.
The next time he puts on his camouflage, he may take along his lead "hunting dog," QB EJ Manuel.
Monday, Fisher compared Manuel's suddenly rising Heisman Trophy stock to a competition between show dogs and hunting dogs. The Heisman race is really a popularity contest, he said. "Show dogs" make the biggest impression in it.
He doesn't want show dogs on his team.
"Do you want to be a show dog or a hunting dog?" Fisher said. "(The Heisman) has nothing to do with our season. If he would win it, that would be wonderful. That's all great. But that's not for him to decide. For him to decide is what kind of teammate he's going to be, what kind of leader he's going to be and how he's going to go each week."
After Manuel's career-high 380-yard passing and 102-yard rushing performance in a 49-37 win over Clemson on Saturday, Fisher is convinced he has a hunting dog. Manuel said his parents raised him to be a team player.
"Personal accolades are one thing, but as a team, you've got to win," Manuel said. "No one is going to care about the personal accolades unless you're winning."
Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel
USF: How to improve?
TAMPA — USF coach Skip Holtz said looking ahead to Saturday's home showdown with No. 4 FSU is "kind of like looking down the barrel of a shotgun" as Bulls coaches and defensive players took ownership Monday for Saturday's loss at Ball State.
"I think there's some ownership that needs to fall on the coaches, and some of the scheme things that we did," Holtz said. "I think there's ownership that needs to fall on the players from an effort and execution standpoint as well, things that we've covered. I think this football team is very disappointed in themselves. I think they know they're better than that."
Senior LB Mike Lanaris, who apologized to fans on Twitter on Saturday, said coaches weren't to blame for defensive struggles.
"Us, as players, have to do a better job," he said. "(Coaches) teach us what our job is, and you need to do it. Be where you're supposed to be, do what you're supposed to do."
DE Ryne Giddins said the defense hasn't been aggressive enough but playing FSU gives the Bulls a chance to change their identity on a huge platform.
"Last two weeks, we've been struggling, trying to really find ourselves," he said. "This game can prove a lot to ourselves, not just to everybody else. We accept the challenge."
Greg Auman, Times staff writer