1. Tallahassee, we have a problem
Going into Saturday, I honestly felt that Florida State would bounce back after the N.C. State debacle and post an impressive victory. Clearly, the three-week layoff had the ‘Noles out of sync and a series of odd bounces and questionable officiating played a major role in the upset loss. I also thought all the talk of this being a four- or five- or even a six-loss season was a knee-jerk overreaction by fans and media.
Instead of turning in a “statement game” as Landon Dickerson predicted last week, FSU had to hold on by the skin of its teeth to eke out its first win of the season. With so much at stake, it sure didn’t look like the offensive line was stepping up to protect its freshman quarterback, or that the defense was playing with a sense of urgency. With what we saw on the field, it’s hard to believe that FSU started seven players that were rated as five-star recruits coming out of high school compared to zero for Wake Forest. In fact, the Deacons didn’t even have a single four-star player in their starting lineup.
We’ve seen Jimbo Fisher teams rally against the odds before, but there’s a different feel about this group. Despite having its collective backs against the wall of BB&T Field, the Seminoles showed little urgency or focus. More importantly, they clearly didn’t play like a team worthy of a top-10, or even-20, ranking.
I get that FSU was thrown a major curveball when offensive leader Deondre Francois went down with a season-ending injury. But elite programs find a way to step up when dealt a bad hand. Unless there’s a miraculous turnaround, this isn’t an elite program right now, and may not even be a good one.
2. Blocking is really, really awful
USA Today Sports Images
In the Captain Obvious take of the week, Florida State has real issues when it comes to blocking. The inability to lay a hat on anybody was on full display this past Saturday. The Demon Deacons racked up a whopping 17 tackles for loss. Throw in another five plays that went for no gain, and FSU’s offense failed to pick up a positive yard on more than one-third of its offensive plays (22 of 64 - 34.4%).