Florida State Head Coach Talks About Ponder

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 3, 2011 – 10:19 am

I was driving to work this morning listening to Radio Voice of the Vikings Paul Allen during his weekday morning radio show on AM 1130 KFAN. PA was interviewing Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher, who coached Vikings 1st-round pick Christian Ponder throughout the QB’s entire college career.

And by the time the interview was over – I was sitting in my car in a parking spot – I was ready to strap on a pair of shoulder pads and a helmet in order to help Ponder win some football games. The interview was incredible and Fisher spoke with great candor about his former QB. Click here to listen to the interview.

Obviously it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Fisher would talk about his former player with such glowing praise. But it’s the manner in which Fisher did it that got me – and PA and his producer, Joe Nelson – excited about what the future might hold for the Vikings and their new QB. In the interview, you won’t hear the typical coach speak that you hear so often from former coaches talking about their players. You hear real examples of how Ponder was a competitor and tough player at Florida State.

I recommend clicking the link to hear the interview, but here are a few highlights and quotes that stood out to me.

The first question PA asked coach Fisher was about the type of player Ponder will be for the Vikings.

“Can he make great decisions [and] is he accurate with the ball? Yes. Can he make all the throws? Yes. Can he create with his feet? Yes. Will people follow him and respect him? Yes. So there are a lot of things I like about him, in my opinion,” Fisher said.

Then PA got right to the nitty-gritty, asking Fisher about Ponder’s injury history, which is one of the biggest criticisms you hear about the QB.

“We played North Carolina State his junior year,” Fisher explained. “He runs the ball, scrambles, dives down; he actually dove down and got a first down on a third-and-two. A guy speared him in the back, under his rib cage. [Ponder] breaks two ribs [on] the first drive of the game. He breaks two ribs on the first drive, never plays with any pain-killer, goes in at halftime and we’re ahead. They tell us at halftime, ‘he can’t play.’ We come out, I’ve got the other guy ready to start, he comes running out – makes them (trainers) shoot him up (with pain killers) – and in that game we won 45-42 and he took us on a two-minute drive to win it.”

Fisher explained a few other injuries, noting that Ponder played in a bowl game that same season with a torn oblique (ouch!) and that with the elbow injury Ponder suffered later in his career, trainers would take 400-500 CCs of fluid out of his elbow after each game. Fisher described how trainers would have to cut off his elbow pad – rather than sliding it off, as you normally would – after each game because of the swelling.

Then, Fisher spoke about how Ponder A) would carry the Seminoles in victories basically by himself and B) would be at his best in big spots, which ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer criticized Ponder for earlier in the week (Dilfer was apparently quite a bit off the mark here, again).

“North Carolina just had the most guys drafted of any school out there,” Fisher said. “He had 300 yards against them (this past season); year before he threw for 400 (yards). He just competes; nothing fazes the guy.”

The Tar Heels just had 9 players drafted in this past weekend’s NFL Draft, with most of them having played against Ponder 2 seasons ago and some of them even playing this past season against FSU.

“We were down 24-7, we come back and win 30-28,” Fisher described. “He throws a touchdown with 5 minutes to go. In the game he was like 33 of 38 for 394 yards and three touchdowns, and the game-winner with five minutes to go against nine NFL draft picks. Up front we couldn’t block them. Their front, I mean everybody’s in the League (NFL). And they were really good. He scrambled to make yards. The throws he made against zone, against man, against blitz. I mean, the guy competed.

“In pressure situations he was great. On third down we were ranked number one in the league for two years in a row. One reason – our quarterback. Red zone we were at the top every year. In third down and red zone is where you get evaluated (as a QB).”

There were other interesting notes Fisher gave about Ponder, such as how intricately involved the QB would be in the developing the weekly game plan. Fisher said Ponder would develop new concepts to attack each opponent and that Ponder understands not just how to attack a defense, but why to attack a defense a certain way. Another interesting note Fisher divulged is that during his FSU career Ponder never played with a skill guy (RB, TE, WR) that was drafted into the NFL.

Whether you’re already excited about the Ponder pick or you’re not quite sold on it yet, the interview is a must listen.

Let’s play some football!

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30 Responses to “Florida State Head Coach Talks About Ponder”

  1. By Matt on May 3, 2011 | Reply


  2. By Bigfan1 on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, coming back like that shows a lot more than just skill, having those big come back games with no skill players is unreal wait until the Vikes throw some skilled players in the mix. Having the red zone ability is beyond golden, exactly what we need. This guy has grit, intelligence, and skill. I’m sold.

  3. By Rusch on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    All of this is great to hear and gets me excited. I think Viking nation really wants to support the kid, we just did not understand the pick hense the reaction from the fans. The Kid has grit, and the right attuide about the situation. My only questions about him are can he live up to the praise ? Can he adjust to the pro game? How will he proform under pressure? The kid has all the tools infront of him… Vikings are loaded offensively we just need the right QB to drive this bus. The nfl needs to end this lock out already and get this kid up to speed in the offense as well as the rest of the players seeing how we have a new OC

  4. By Ootsa Jimmy on May 3, 2011 | Reply


  5. By no1vikingsfan on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Yes! I see what you mean about the interview, it is a must hear, what suprised me and a fact that I didn’t know was that Ponder played on an offense that had no draft talent in 4 years, then to play at the level he did, thats outstanding.

  6. By rgonzales on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Vikings need to get a veteran qb in their system, for back up, reps and practice to get everyone else in involved , then go and get Namdi ,raiders cb, if raiders do not keep him, then get raiders ot gallery to help the o-line

  7. By Frederick Jones on May 3, 2011 | Reply


    I’m for getting that cb. Even more important may be the acquisition of an offensive lineman.

    Green Bay/Chicago/Indianapolis/ New England ALL TOOK Offensive Linemen in the FIRST ROUND ! ! !

    HEY, all of those teams made the playoffs this year. Offensive Linemen and defensive backs are important to a TEAM. Winning Coaches know it ! ! !

    TEAM ! ! ! Not Qb stats lol :)

  8. By Ootsa Jimmy on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    You need every position d*mba*s, and QB is one of them. Last time I checked, our QB situation was pretty laughable compared to GB, Chicago, Ind, NE. You are a d*mba*s Fredrick.

  9. By Huy on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    @Fred, I really look up to you, but the thing is those teams that took offensive linemen in the 1st round all have their franchise QBs, we don’t…Get an offensive lineman to protect who ? Just my opnion…

  10. By no1vikingsfan on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    @ Fred: yes all those teams you mentioned did draft heavy on the O-line, but 1 thing you failled to mention is that those teams already have winning franchise QB’s, when you have a winning franchise QB’s drafting a QB is one of your lest worries, now next year Vikes can think about going strong on OL

  11. By no1vikingsfan on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Good point Huy :/

  12. By Stoney on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Fred I may be stoney, but you always beat a dead horse. We can fill needs with F.A.

  13. By lawson on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Who are some of the FA’s you guys are hoping for this offseason…how about a top rated guard, FS, or CB?

  14. By K'net on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    No doubt he has potential, all he needs is his offensive line to protect him long enough to let him make some plays and for us fans to support him.

  15. By K'net on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    BTW, anyone who wants to listen to that, skip ahead to 14 minutes

  16. By 4eversteve on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    Hope the O-line come to camp in condition with the O-line coach being new that should motivate them, The heck with that statement at this level if you are not motivated enough to be in shape than you don’t belong in this profession in the first place. Jeff Davidson seems to be a good coach at Carolina he turned them into a good O-line granted they had a tough last year or two with all the injuries they had, he still produced thousand yard rusher with less talented runners than the Vikings have on their roster. Jordon Gross is regarded as one of the best left tackles in the game today. We absolutely have to have much better performance out of the O-line in order to keep whom ever plays quarterback healthy this year and maybe open up a few holes for Peterson or Gerhart sometimes would be nice!

  17. By the4norsemen on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    Here’s a list of Free agent offensive tackles for 2011
    Of course some will resign (hopefully NOT Ryan Cook) but although they missed last year wth injuries, Gaither and Colon (for the right price) would be great pickups if we can get them. Put the pressure on McFatty and SlowLoad to perform. Hopefully Herrera and Hutch stay injury free this year and Love has a stellar Rookie year.

    Khalif Barnes, 28, Oakland

    Alex Barron, 28, Dallas

    D’Anthony Batiste, 28, Arizona

    Jordan Black, 31, Jacksonville

    Jammal Brown, 29, Washington

    Jermon Bushrod, 26, New Orleans

    Rashad Butler, 28, Houston

    Tyson Clabo, 29, Atlanta

    Jeromey Clary, 27, San Diego

    Willie Colon, 27, Pittsburgh*

    Ryan Cook, 27, Minnesota

    Renardo Foster, 26, St. Louis*

    Doug Free, 27, Dallas

    Jared Gaither, 24, Baltimore

    Adam Goldberg, 30, St. Louis

    Ryan Harris, 25, Denver

    Mario Henderson, 26, Oakland

    Stephon Heyer, 27, Washington

    Corey Hilliard, 25, Detroit*

    Tony Hills, 26, Pittsburgh*

    Wayne Hunter, 29, N.Y. Jets

    Charlie Johnson, 26, Indianapolis

    Matt Light, 32, New England

    Sean Locklear, 29, Seattle

    Daniel Loper, 29, Oakland

    Pat McQuistan, 27, Miami

    Jamon Meredith, 24, N.Y. Giants

    Ryan O’Callaghan, 27, Kansas City

    Quinn Ojinnaka, 26, New England

    Mike Otto, 27, Tennessee*

    Rob Petitti, 28, Carolina

    Tyler Polumbus, 25, Seattle*

    Barry Richardson, 24, Kansas City*

    Dennis Roland, 27, Cincinnati*

    Jonathan Scott, 28, Pittsburgh

    Barry Sims, 36, San Francisco

    John St. Clair, 33, Cleveland

    Zach Strief, 27, New Orleans

    Will Svitek, 29, Atlanta

    Michael Toudouze, 27, Indianapolis

    Jeremy Trueblood, 27, Tampa Bay

    Robert Turner, 26, N.Y. Jets*

    Langston Walker, 31, Oakland

    * Restricted free agent

  18. By IT'STIME on May 4, 2011 | Reply


    GO VIKINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. By Dave the vikefan on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    That was one heck of an interview with fisher, I might just be a usf fan next year!! :0) I am really excited the more I hear and read about ponder.. I can’t wait for the season to start!!

    Skol Vikes!!

  20. By nolenowviking7 on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    CP7 will make you proud. I have watched him for three years carry FSU, now watch what he will do with real talent to throw to. Another way to look at it, you just added a half million instant Vikings to your fanbase with a single pick.

  21. By Dave the vikefan on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    The more the merrier! Welcome aboard :)

    I’m excited to see what he does with the talent around him… Gonna be exciting!

    Skol Vikes :)

  22. By John F on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    nolenowviking7 is right that viking nation just picked up several new fans ala fsu. I want a vikings #7 jersey now! When the bucs drafted warrick dunn, I bought a TB jersey. One jersey I will not be wasting my time buying…trent dilfer. And I’m sure there are plenty available. I just can’t decide if dilfer is a worse analyist or football player.

  23. By Dave the vikefan on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    John, that’ll be my next Vikings jersey I buy to compliment the ones I have now :)

  24. By ripteflon on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    next QB ponder suxxxxx

  25. By ripteflon on May 4, 2011 | Reply

    any viking fan disrespecting farve for tis faig ponder learn football

  26. By Dave the vikefan on May 5, 2011 | Reply

    How is liking ponder, disrespecting favre? Genius!

  27. By Dave the vikefan on May 5, 2011 | Reply

    Sounds like you’re disrespecting someone you’ve never even taken an NFL snap.. Genius!

  28. By Dave the vikefan on May 5, 2011 | Reply

    You’ve never even seen taken a snap…….

  29. By 13timeworld champs on May 8, 2011 | Reply

    Packers will not have a Superbowl hangover. we have to many injured players that will be hungry next year. It could be the start of a dynasty.

  30. By Dave the vikefan on May 8, 2011 | Reply

    13time, best of luck to your packers!

    Skol Vikes!

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