Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
The continuous slow starts on both sides of the ball should have Seminole fans shaking in their boots. Boston College went up 17 to 3 early into last Saturday’s showdown. Who knows what would have happen if Jameis Winston didn’t throw that miraculous Hail Mary to Kenny Shaw as time expired in the first half. This play made all of the highlight reels and headlined the talk shows, but the real storyline behind the Seminole football team this season has been the slow starts.
Once again the Noles came out flat and had everyone covering their eyes with the embarrassing display of football. Florida State’s defense was expected to have some trouble stopping Boston College’s bruising 230-pound running back, Andre Williams. But “some trouble” should not have meant giving 149 yards to a single player. Their offensive line was simply overpowering the Noles D-line for the majority of the game, and the amount of missed tackles were reminiscent to a pop warner game. We (including myself) continue to make excuses for FSU’s slow starts, but that must end now because a slow start against the bulk of the teams left on our schedule will end up resulting in a loss.
If it weren’t for Jameis Winston and the high-powered offense, this game could have easily been the dream shattering upset that Nole fans and media have come to expect from a Jimbo Fisher run team. The offense amassed 489 total yards with 330 of them coming from the arm of the talented freshman. While those numbers will fool a stat reader, the offense showed numerous areas where improvement will be essential. The offensive line play had me furious from start to finish. The telling stat of their poor execution is not only found in the four sacks that they allowed, but the fact that Jameis Winston was the teams’ leading rusher with only 67 yards. Winston was constantly running for his life, keeping plays alive with his feet. Not to knock Boston College, but to think that their talent level on the defensive line manhandled our veteran group of offensive lineman could be a huge weakness as the season progresses. The good news of the lines’ poor play is it seemed to stem from poor execution and not the talent that these guys have. Hopefully these problems can be fixed before it is too late.
Maryland couldn’t have come to town on a better weekend for both parties. For the Terrapins, they are coming off of a bye week, which gives them an extra week to prepare for one of the best opponents that they will face this season. Their offense is rolling and is 2nd in the ACC in total yards, ahead of the high-powered offense of Clemson. They also catch the Seminoles fresh off of a less than stellar performance against Boston College where a lot of weaknesses were brought to the surface.
For Florida State, facing the Terrapins before the dynamic Clemson Tigers offense should be extremely beneficial. Maryland has a decently mobile quarterback in C.J. Brown, who is efficient on the ground as well as through the air. This should give the Noles defense a dress rehearsal for the dual threat Heisman front-runner Tajh Boyd. Maryland will not only prepare the defense for Boyd, but it will also test their ability to cover dynamic playmakers at the receiver position. The Terps have Stefon Diggs who is an unbelievable playmaker and drew comparison to Percy Harvin out of high school. Diggs will give a preview to how the Noles will handle Sammy Watkins of Clemson, who is arguably the best playmaker in the nation.
Jimbo Fisher better have his troops firing on all cylinders from the first sound of the gun on Saturday, or the Seminoles could be in big trouble. It will be interesting to see how the offensive line handles a Maryland unit that is tied for the nations lead in sacks after struggling immensely against Boston College. With the schedule only getting harder, it is time for this team to make the necessary adjustments to become elite.
Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
Like a mad chemist, Jimbo Fisher has fused together a backfield overflowing with elite talent. A position that looked to be lacking depth has quickly become an elite unit with the addition of former safety and 5-star athlete Karlos Williams. Williams is not your usual 6 foot 1, 230 pound football player. He has started a game at linebacker, saw the field at safety, and started on special teams since day 1. But this big hitter could never find his niche on the defensive side of the ball, and Fisher knew the more this guy was on the field, the better off the team would be.
James Wilder Jr. has proven he is this offense'spowerback, carrying multiple defenders for extra yards every time he touches the football. He is the best North-South runner the Noles have had since Greg Jones, and prides himself on lowering his shoulder and delivering a blow to oncoming defenders before toppling to the ground. However, Wilder is not known for his breakaway speed, or elusive moves that lead to huge gains. His counterpart Devonta Freeman, is your traditional running back that is extremely productive and efficient with the ball in his hands. Freeman does it all from catching passes, busting long runs, to pass blocking, but he is by no means flashy.
Enter Karlos Williams. The first touch of Williams’ career went for a 65 yard gain, igniting the excitement of his potential at his new position. Williams is unbelievably fast, and when he gets some green in front of him, it looks like he was shot out of a cannon as he gallops away from defenders. What is so scary about Williams he is not shy of contact and is by no means small. With his 230 pound frame he drags defenders around like rag dolls. He has the power of Wilder Jr. and the speed of a stallion.
At first I was skeptical to buy into Williams position move because I was still salivating at the thought of him flying across the field separating the football from potential receivers. It only took two games for me to come around to the thought that he might have been the missing link to this offense. With two extremely productive and proven running backs in front of him, he is the final piece to this offensive puzzle. He is the home run hitter out of the backfield that Fisher has been searching for.
Fisher will now have a hard time distributing carries between these three skilled running backs. Williams has had two games to adjust to his new position, and looks ready to give the Seminoles an extremely productive running game. The three-headed monster is real, and it’s coming for the Boston College Eagles this weekend.
Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
Nevada stumbled into Doak Campbell Stadium last weekend without their starting quarterback, Cody Fajardo, and all hopes of a stunning upset seemed to be on the bench with him. After the 1st quarter many Seminole fans were becoming restless as the home team found themselves down 7-3 early into the 2nd quarter. Jameis Winston showed his first sign of mortality and threw his first career interception in front of the Seminole faithful. The defense once again had a slow start, as they were gashed up the middle on multiple accounts.
This team thrives on emotion and the stale play in the 1st quarter was evident to anyone watching the game. The Seminoles came out flat and had that sense of entitlement as if they could beat Nevada just by stepping out onto the field. But before the game got out of hand they were brought back down to earth by their young general, Jameis Winston. The best thing that happen to Jameis that afternoon, was throwing an early interception.
Winston strides for perfection more than any player I’ve seen, and this early blunder forced him to flip the switch and play like the potential Heisman candidate that he is. He went on to complete the rest of his passing attempts throughout the game, going 13 for 13, and igniting his team with the swagger that stems from his play. The fans and players alike, knew it was time to put this game out of reach after his beautiful touchdown pass placed perfectly in the back corner of the end zone where only Kenny Shaw could come down with it.
After the game Winston admitted to being too “crunk” (or hyped up for the older folk) for his first home game, causing his poor play early on. After the defense got the better of him on the pick, you could see him turn this game into a personal battle to destroy the opponent; and destroy he did.
With the offense rolling, the defense also turned it around, not allowing Nevada to score the rest of the game. They made a slight adjustment to shut down the runs up the middle, and started forcing the plays outside, allowing the 2nd and 3rd level defenders to come up and make a play. The Wolfpack’s backup quarterback was hobbled by a lower leg injury and the defense was able to settle down and focus on the running backs. Once again Jeremy Pruitt’s squad got a turnover, proving that his new aggressive style will force plenty of mistakes throughout the season. A huge positive to this new staff has been their ability to make in-game adjustments on the fly. I look forward to seeing this defense continue to fine-tune their art before the have to take on the high-octane offense of Clemson October 19th.
I saw a lot of things improved upon from the Pitt game, namely the play of the defensive ends and the addition of Karlos Williams to the backfield. The ends did a much better job sealing the edges against this option attack and you could tell that this was a specific point of emphasis from the coaches in preparation for the game. The Noles seem to be on a crash course from here on out to face the Clemson Tigers in an almost sure-fire College Gameday match-up in Death Valley. With neither team projected to lose before this game, the winner of that game will undoubtedly win the ACC Atlantic division. Each game from here on out should heighten the interest of fans, as we watch the Seminoles add more plays and diversity to an already successful team in order to work out all of the kinks before that epic battle.
By: Nick O'Bryan (@doorstepjax)
You may have been a bit concerned if you were watching what seemed to be a sluggish start for the Noles in the home opener in Tallahassee this weekend. That concern was short lived and soon the true depth of the Florida State roster would be on display for the majority of the game. So...what did we learn this weekend, and what can we take away moving forward?
-Touchdowns by 4 separate running backs, one of which is a former DB in Karlos Williams. When you see that he is 6’1 223 lbs. you may think that he would be a true threat up the middle as a punisher, much like a fullback. However, Williams as a high school sprinter showed that a big man can pull away with the best of them which he did on his first ever carry, pulling down a 64 yard TD run.
- Jameis Winston throws an interception. Yes, this is a positive when you look over the length of a game. It is important to have someone as amazing and yet young as Winston is to keep a level and grounded approach. Winston fell into rhythm in the second quarter and ran the offense with 2 TD passes, a rushing TD, and not a single incomplete pass after the second quarter.
- A balanced attack. Nothing can help Jameis Winston in the passing game like developing and utilizing an effective run game. This seemed a bit sluggish against Pitt, but was on full display in Tallahassee on Saturday.
- An Offensive line that is healthy and effective. The boys upfront looked good on Saturday, holding blocks and creating holes for the run game. This was an area that I wanted to see improve after a few years of a line that has left much to be desired, and was plagued with injury. Coach Trickett has so far earned the most improved of the position coaches in my opinion.
-There is only one thing that isn’t a positive from this week’s victory. A slow start. The past two games have both started a bit sluggishly for the Noles, as they seem to be feeling out the offense on one side of the ball, and trying to develop a game plan to score on the other. I don’t mean to sound like a brat, as I am certainly aware of the final score in both games, but if you plan on beating fast paced and explosive offenses like let’s say……Clemson, you have to start the game with a plan in motion and keep tempo and momentum in your corner from the start. I have every confidence that this is improve, and will be a point of emphasis moving into the bulk of the conference schedule which is coming up.