Mario Cristobal updates the latest going into the FSU game – 247Sports

  • October 31, 2022

Miami Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal is preparing this week for his first Florida State game as UM’s head coach.

Cristobal has been a part of many Miami-FSU games as a player, graduate assistant and assistant coach.

Cristobal has posted a 6-5 record in these head to head match-ups against the Seminoles.

The Hurricanes went 4-1 from 1988-92, when Cristobal was on the team as a player. Miami was 1-2 from 1998-2000 when Cristobal was a graduate assistant with the program. UM went 1-2 from 2004-06, when Cristobal was an assistant coach for the Hurricanes.

That 6-5 record is reflective of how close the Miami-FSU series has been throughout history with the Hurricanes leading the all-time series, 35-31.

The Seminoles won the 2021 match-up in Tallahassee, 31-28.

Florida State (5-3, 3-3) enters this week’s game coming off a 41-16 win over Georgia Tech. The Seminoles are considered an 8.5 point favorite, according to the latest betting line from Caesars Sportsbook.

FSU is in year three of the Mike Norvell era and this is his best team to this point. FSU’s offense is balanced and productive in 2022, averaging 487 yards per game, 277 yards through the air and 209 yards on the ground, while scoring 32.1 points per game. Defensively, FSU is allowing 21.9 points per game while allowing 323 yards per game, which ranks 16th best in the country.

Miami (4-4, 2-2) is coming off a 14-12 win that took four overtimes at Virginia. Neither team scored a touchdown in the contest as UM’s attack sputtered with quarterback Jake Garcia going 15-of-29 for 125 yards.

Cristobal joined The Joe Rose Show on 560 WQAM on Monday morning to review the Virginia game and look ahead to Florida State.

Read on for news and notes from that session.

Cristobal recognizes the win at Virginia wasn’t pretty, but he was pleased with the grit Miami showed to pull out a tough win on the road. “Learning resiliency, learning toughness, learning ways to fight through and support each other is a big deal for our guys.”

Cristobal on the passing game production at Virginia: “We missed our shots. We missed the post, we missed two fades. We got covered up on two other ones. We didn’t connect. We weren’t in sync in the passing game. The things that were called and game planned in practice looked good during the week, but it didn’t look good on Saturday.”

Cristobal hinted that a big part of the game plan on Saturday was for the offense to limit turnovers: “In games that we haven’t played well this season, a large part of it has been due to turnovers. It might be conservative, but I have been aggressive on fourth down in previous games and we didn’t get it and it put our defense in a tough spot and then the game got away from us. In a game like this, with our defense playing so well, we chose to play field position and we chose to pin them deep and our guys seemed to gain momentum from it.”

Cristobal on the injury statuses of DL Akheem Mesidor, LB Wesley Bissainthe, and DB James Williams: “Not sure. I think our guys are starting to adapt to missing some guys.” Mesidor and Bissainthe sustained injuries at Virginia that knocked them out of action. Williams sustained an injury against Duke and did not play at Virginia.

DT Leonard Taylor generated four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks at Virginia. Cristobal praised Taylor for taking his game to another level in recent weeks. “About three or four weeks ago, Leonard came in and decided and made a choice to change his eating habits, change his training habits, to work harder in practice, and be assignment conscious. He was put in position to make plays and he made plays on his own. He was outstanding and a game changer on Saturday. He is playing great football right now.”

Cristobal is pleased with the defense is improving in recent weeks: “We took another step. Great communication and much better physicality and pad level up front. Our defense keeps improving. Week after week, we keep getting better and better and if we can eliminate some of the big plays, we can be outstanding. We can be an elite defense.”

Cristobal on what the Miami-FSU game means: “I think anybody associated with this university realizes how big this game is every single year. I remember being a player and that is what you live for. You wait for the schedule to find out what day and what time it is going to be played. In my opinion it is the best rivalry in football. A great opportunity.”

RB Jaylan Knighton didn’t play at Virginia. He has been fumble prone this season. Cristobal on Knighton: “Jaylan Knighton is a good football player. His touches are coming. In this game, Henry Parrish got hot. He was running hard and downhill and so we chose to go that route.”

Cristobal on the recent recruiting success: “I have watched Miami from afar for a long time as I have been away. Talent acquisition always has to be, with player development and team development, has to always be at the forefront of turning a program and rebuilding a program. We are working hard at it.”

Cristobal on building a program with talented players: “There was a point in time when Miami dominated the NFL Draft. That is not just a sudden process. It takes really, really good players that worked really, really hard and had good mentalities found their way here and they were worked, they were developed, and they were coached, and it went on. Our players here are developing and working hard and when all that comes together is when the magic happens. It is no different than when we were at Oregon. It is the exact same process. We love every part of it.”
More of Cristobal on building a program: “Every place I have been at, minus one, has been a rebuilding process. It is a matter of the starting point of a program. What we left behind was a turnkey operation…We are excited about everything that has to do with the now and the building process because it is not built. The commitment is now made and there hasn’t been one up until now. Football is not magic. Football is hard work. Football is hard-nosed people developing and working at it. It is not subject to noise, non-sense, and BS. It doesn’t work that way.”
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