O’Leary Named Mackey Award Semifinalist

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Tallahassee, FL - Florida State junior tight end Nick O’Leary was named one of eight semifinalists for the 2013 John Mackey Award on Monday.

The Mackey Award is given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end and will be announced on Dec. 11 and presented live on Dec. 12 at the Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on ESPNU.

The Mackey Award finalists will be announced on Nov. 25.

O’Leary has 26 receptions for 444 yards and seven touchdowns this season. The Palm Beach, Fla., native’s 17.1 yards per catch average leads all tight ends in the nation and his seven receiving scores rank second at his position. His 11 career scores is an FSU record for tight ends.

O’Leary is joined on the Mackey Award Semifinalist list by Jace Amaro (Texas Tech), Ted Bolser (Indiana), Eric Ebron (North Carolina), Devin Funchess (Michigan), Gator Hoskins (Marshall), Troy Niklas (Notre Dame) and Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington).

24 Seniors to be Honored Saturday
Florida State will honor 24 seniors before Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game against Idaho at Doak Campbell Stadium, including 15 scholarship players: Chad Abram, Terrence Brooks, Shayne Broxsie, Gerald Demps, Philip Doumar, Jacob Fahrenkrug, Dan Hicks, Christian Jones, Lamarcus Joyner, Demonte McAllister, Jaccobi McDaniel, Kenny Shaw, Telvin Smith, Bryan Stork and Jonathan Wallace.

Florida State will Face Florida at Noon
The ACC announced on Monday Florida State will face rival Florida at Noon on ESPN on Saturday, Nov. 30 in Gainesville. The Seminoles have won two of the last three meetings with the Gators, including their last trip to “The Swamp” – a 21-7 win in 2011.

ACC Championship Game
For the first time since the Seminoles punched their ticket to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, the FSU ticket office is making a limited number of tickets available for the title game. Seats in the upper deck are now available to the public for $40. Previously, tickets were only available to Seminole Boosters. To order your tickets log on to Seminoles.com or call 1-888-378-6653 (NOLE).

Jimbo Fisher Press Conference Transcript – Nov. 17, 2013

Opening Statement:
“I liked our game after watching the film from the Syracuse game. Really, (I) was proud with the way our kids came out of the gate again. Started the game very fast in all phases. Offense had a great first drive, we were able to execute some different run-pass options and things we had. Defense was dominant again. In special teams, I thought Roberto (Aguayo) kicked the ball exceptionally well. Cason (Beatty) did what he did on punt – we covered well. Kenny (Shaw) had an outstanding game in the return game, setting up field position and catching all the balls in the air. Again, I thought our defensive front played exceptionally well – affected the quarterback. I thought up front and skills position wise I thought we threw and caught the ball really very well – finished big plays. When we got in space we were able to finish downfield – great downfield blocking in my opinion. I think we’re getting better and better at that each week in what we’re doing. There’s still some things we have to continue to grow on and get better. Again, but very proud of the performance and the total focus. What I liked about it, once we got ahead we didn’t lose focus – didn’t start to play sloppy, kept executing throughout the game and grew from that part and that was the challenge we had – if we were getting a lead or getting ahead, to keep your foot, not on the (gas) but the focus on things. Being able to have great execution and attention to detail, which I thought we did throughout the game. Again, very proud of our guys with the way we played. (We) play Idaho this week, it’s senior day. (We) have some outstanding seniors, 24 when you count the walk-ons. (It will be) the last time they will be able to walk out in Doak Campbell Stadium, which will be an emotional time (and) tough thing. Hopefully, we’ll be able to send them off with a great victory, with as far as how we play if we play well. But the fans (will be able to) send them off with their appreciation for what they’ve done here at Florida State. This senior class has accomplished a lot and I’m very proud – still have a lot more to go. But, still a very important day. Idaho is a very good football team. They’ve got a four-down team on defense, mix three-four packages, like to blitz, split safety team, (they’re) going to mix in some three-deep coverages. Coach Paul Petrino does a good job, he’s the head coach, he’s got a great background. (They) throw the ball really well, multiple looks, he does everything in the book. He’s got a great offensive mind. They do a very good job and (are) very sound in the kicking game. We’ll have to play well, prepare well and practice well. We need to continue to get better this week and get ready to play Idaho.”

On how unique this season is and what they’ve been able to do as a team:
“Hopefully as you grow in time and you’re in an organization awhile you have very good senior leadership. Also, the young guys are growing and making big contributions, so we’re adding depth and creating competition in practice. I think when both sides compete against each other every day, you’re making each other better. I don’t think we’re concentrating on winning games, we’re concentrating on playing well and that’s got me excited. I think they really get that point. We just need to keep playing well and not worrying about the results and they’re buying into that and we’re doing it. (It’s) a lot easier said than done.”

On if he’s noticed a fresher team in practice throughout the week due to sitting starters early:
“Yeah and it affects how we play and how we practice early in the week, how we practice late in the week – those things do (affect you). When you’ve gone through the previous game where numbers and reps and how your body responds, I think is a big thing. It’s very important for health issues.”

On redshirt freshman quarterback Sean Maguire’s play:
“I thought he played well. I really did. I like the way, not just the touchdown, but the way he managed the game. Called the plays, got in and out of the huddle on time, made the checks in the running game or whatever it may be – the process of running the team I was very proud of.”

On if the defense has exceeded his expectations:
“I don’t know if they’ve exceeded them, I thought they’d do very well. I’ve known these guys a long time, I thought they would coach very well and teach very well. That’s the thing – they teach it, they get it across and I think we had a group of guys that totally bought into it. Those older guys really set the tone for how they bought in and got those younger guys believing that this is what we need to do and sometimes that is hard, especially for guys that were playing in an old defense that was very successful, (thinking) okay, can we learn some new tricks here because there’s some things we can add to what we already know. I think it’s a testament to our coaches and those older players doing it and getting our younger guys to buy in.”

On the second team defense:
“We’re adding depth and they’re getting playing time. That is very critical. That was one of the first things as I built this team and what I wanted to do what build the depth on defense and we’ll continue on offense and we’re getting close on offense in the same way too. But it’s very critical that those guys are good players all the way through.”

On when he started to build the team if this is what he saw it being:
“Yeah, it really is. They’ll have to continue to play well, but I mean you have to have size and speed. You want to have athletic ability and size matter, not only speed, but size, physicality to be able to do that. Then you have intelligence and then you have character. However you want to flip them, they’re both interchangeable. You’ve got to be a certain talent level, but then you go with the character and intelligence level. Our guys are interchangeable, guys that can play different positions and do different things.”

On redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston’s ability to handle himself:
“I’ve been impressed with Jameis with not being a redshirt freshman as far as his mental approach to playing.”

On if he likes seeing QB Jameis Winston throw blocks downfield:
“You’d like to say no and you’ve got to be smart about it, but when guys know you’re in the hunt with them and you’re in the fight with them, they’ll play really hard for you. That’s why they love him, because they know he’s full-board with them.”

On dealing with and addressing off the field situations:
“We always address everything. You’ve got to know what’s going on, no matter what the situations are and I think that’s an important part of being a good team is being able to focus and control things that you can control and deal with the other issues when it’s time to deal with them. That’s part of maturity. I think as coaches and people everyone has that issue in life. It’s a very hard thing to do.”

On seeing freshman receiver/kick returner Kermit Whitfield more:
“He works hard, he’s extremely talented. He’s so dynamic with the ball and he’s really getting a grasp on what we’re doing. He’s a football player that runs track. He’s a not a track guy that plays football –very strong, very physical, tremendous balance and body control, great change of direction with the ball in his hand and very instinctive.”

On the productivity of the true freshmen class:
“I’ve been very pleased with our freshmen class. Even the guys that aren’t playing now, I think will have great futures.”

On visiting Syracuse player Julian Whigham, who was injured against FSU, in the hospital:
“I’ve never had a player on the other team have to be hospitalized after the game here and I didn’t know if his parents were here and what was going on and you’re a coach and I know when you’re at the other side of that thing, when I had to leave (former running back) Chris Thompson (after Wake Forest in 2011). I went to the hospital after the game and saw him as much as I could, but I had to take the team back home and get ready for the next game and when you’re a coach and I’ve got to leave one of my players, I just think when that young man was injured and I don’t ever want to see anyone injured, it scared us. They said he had some internal injuries and he’s fine now and all that, I wanted to go by and make sure he was okay. I didn’t know his parents were there, which was good because he was from West Palm Beach and his mom was there and got to see him and make sure if they needed anything. (We) made sure they had numbers to people here so we could help too if anything went wrong or communication or whatever they may need. We’re all competitors, but at the end of the day, these are kids, they’re somebody’s baby. If that was one of my children, I would want someone to look out for them.”

On the senior class and how much the program has turned around because of them:
“What a group there. There’s some guys that you’ll remember to the end of your last dying days. Those guys made an impact on your life, not just with football, but people and how they impacted the guys around them. That’s a tremendous group of guys to me, ought to be remembered in Florida State lore for a long time for what they really meant and how much they’ve actually done for this university and for their teammates. Golly, it’s a tremendous group.”

On junior tight end Nick O’Leary:
“That guy is like your silent assassin. You talk about all the other guys out there, you talk about another guy that understands angles, that understands ball, where to sit down in the hole, how to get open and then tremendous hands and ball skills. Just gets the game, knows where to be and how to be and Nick’s really turned into a heck of a football player.”

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