Noles by the numbers: Putting the Georgia Tech loss in perspective

Miscellaneous and Housekeeping

Jeff Cameron had a lot to say about the defense today.  (free and no registration).  This is worth a listen. 

Post your questions for the Clempzon expert by tomorrow at 8PM Eastern!

I need a guy to write about basketball.  You don't have to do it every day, but a post or 2 a week could suffice.  If I start doing basketball, the quality of football coverage will drop.  I'll help with the basketball stuff, but you should know something about it.  For that matter, if you ever have an article that you've gone really in-depth about, talk to me about putting it on the front page.  My opinions on FSU basketball are going to be this (until further notice):

Leonard Hamilton is a poor game coach.  He is an excellent recruiter and a decent disciplinarian.  He will take your program from bad to average.  He will take your program from average, and well... um... keep it there.  It is his track record.  He improves the talent level immensely, which creates wins, but he doesn't have the on-court coaching ability or teaching ability to take your program to the next level.  I'd love to be proven wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure that this is his M.O.

We had 16,951 unique visitors in October, up from 12K in September!  71 People have signed up since Oct 1.  I'm glad we're welcome more people each and every week.  I encourage everyone to join in and participate.  Joining is free and they do not send you any emails.  I'm sure you have something interesting to contribute!  The participation this week had been exceptional!  I'm particularly impressed with the comment sections.  50 comments today alone!  We're starting to resemble a place like (The Texas Site), and that's a good thing.  The more voices the better.  We are getting fewer visitors in the last 3 days, however, and I'm not sure what's going on with that.  The casual fan stays away from negativity, but I know that I will continue to talk about FSU in the most honest way possible.  If you're a regular reader, you probably have other die-hard Nole Fan Friends.  Encourage them to voice their opinions as well.

Note on Criticism

I feel I need to talk about this.  I don't want to fire Mickey Andrews.  I do want to see Jody Allen gone.  What is the difference?  One has done a good job for a long time, and one has consistently done a bad job.  Some people believe that Mickey (and to a greater extent Bobby) were good coaches because they realized they had freakish athletes and didn't get in the way.  We do see this an extent with Mickey, as his predominantly man schemes sometimes appear stale and  we often struggle with gimmick offenses, or anything that isn't the I-Formation.  My best guess is that Mickey has 1 more year, and nobody expects him to stay after Bobby leaves.  Is it too late for him to conquer the spread?  I'm not sure at this point.  What do you think?  I do know that the Noles are lucky that the spread hasn't spread all over the ACC like it has to other conferences.  Mickey has been more imaginative this year than in previous years, and I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.  He failed in THIS game, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been a big time success throughout his stay at FSU.

Noles by the Numbers

In addition to reviewing the goals, I included some opponent adjusted perspective statistics in this edition of Noles by the Numbers.  I want to take a look at why we lost this ballgame.  Hmm, where to start... defense you say?  Okay. 

A member of ours brought up the idea that nobody had really stopped tech, but rather, Tech had fumbled some drives (and games) away. 



Total Off.

Date Opponent No Gain Loss Net AVG. Fumbles Lost TD
Att Comp Int Yds TD
Plays Yds
9/6/2008 At BC(19-16) 40 200 38 162 4.1 3 2
13 6 0 73 0
53 235 4.4
9/13/2008 At Va Tech(17-20) 50 289 11 278 5.6 2 1
9 5 1 109 1
59 387 6.6
9/20/2008 Mississippi St.(38-7) 54 460 22 438 8.1 0 4
9 4 0 62 1
63 500 7.9
10/18/2008 At Clemson(21-17) 52 229 22 207 4.0 2 1
12 5 0 91 1
64 298 4.7
10/25/2008 Virginia(17-24) 41 196 40 156 3.8 2 2
15 7 1 103 0
56 259 4.6
11/1/2008 Florida St.(31-28) 45 298 10 288 6.4 1 4
6 4 1 55 0
51 343 6.7

First, some notes.  I edited out the games where Nesbitt did not play.

The 31 points are the 2nd most put up by GTech against a D1 opponent, and the very most against an ACC foe.  I think the greater concern, however, is the complete domination in the running game.  Tech rushed for 6.4 per carry.  They were quite silly to ever pass the ball, though they were effective in doing so with Nesbitt.  The bottom line is that other teams also had trouble stopping Tech.  3 teams held them under 4.5 per carry, but only one held them UNDER 3 yards per carry.  That team is UVA, and Al Groh is a well respected scheme guy.  UVA runs the 3-4 and they are arguably better equipped than us to defend the option, despite not having the defensive talent we possess.  While forcing (or lucking into?) more turnovers would have helped, other teams did have much more success than we did stopping the option.  

More concerning, however, might be that the Noles only had 10 total yards in tackles for loss.  The key to stopping the option is to put them in 3rd and unmanagable.  We did not do that at all.

Mickey's quotes from Today's press conference concern me.  He seems to think his schemes were fine and that our lack of success was squarely on the players.  I disagree with this; many teams with lesser talent had more success against this scheme, and they face it no more often than the Noles.  More to come on this in "Inside The Seminole Film Room".  Also, I'll POST VIDEO this week of the specific plays I want to highlight! 

Here are the goals we laid out in the preview.

The Goals for the Seminole Rushing Defense:

* Keep GT in 2nd and long: 33% of First Down Rushes for 1 or fewer yards. (The STUFFED %)

Fail, but with a caveat:  The Noles held GTech to 1 or fewer yards 4 of 20 times, BUT the Noles held them to 2 or less yards (Mickey's Goal) 7 of 20 times, which is decent I guess.  



* Use penetration to get stops: 40% Win Rate on 3rd+ 4th n short rushing

0 for 3 is a big time mega-fail


* Tackle Well: Less than 15 missed tackles (A Mickey Andrews Goal-- adjusted for GT)

Andrews said we had less than 10.  Whatever.  I guess you can't "miss" the tackle if you aren't anywhere near the ball carrier. 


* Don't have your good work go for naught: 2 or fewer runs of 3rd and 8 or Longer for first downs.

Well, Tech only faced 3rd and 6+ TWICE, so this is a pass. 


* No rushing TD's in the red zone. Make GT throw the ball in the red zone.

FAIL.  FAIL.  That's not a typo.  Tech had 2 rushing TD's within the red zone. 


* Take good angles to the football: No more than 6 runs over 15 yards, and no runs over 40 yards.

Tech had runs of: 17, 20, 66, 29, 23, 36, and 13 yards.  You be the judge.  I guess I'll give the PASS for the "15 yarders" goal (though I am re-thinking that), and a FAIL for the "40 yards" goal.


The benchmarks for the FSU Pass Defense

* Bad Day: Nesbitt under a QB Rating of 100.

Hmm, no.  172 rating is the best posted against us by far to date.


* Capitalize on 3rd and long. Keep Nesbitt under a QB rating of 75 on 3rd and long.

1-2 for 10 yards is a rating of 92, but this sample set isn't very big. 


* Limit Big Plays: no more than 5 passes of 15+ yards

Incomplete.  Not enough passing plays to judge this. 


* Selective Pass Interference: do not give up the deep ball! If they do throw it, interfere like crazy.

Again, probably incomplete here, except for the first play for GTech.


* Trust your assignment: don't leave your assignment and fall for play action.

Incomplete, until I evaluate the film, but this wasn't that bad.


* Hit Nesbitt: Play to the echo of the whistle. Have a sack rate (sacks / (pass plays + sacks)) of 8% or more. As Mickey said... "you never want to hurt anybody, but our kids understand that if a guy wants to take himself out of a ballgame that is his business. You have got to hit him, you have got to inflict some pressure on him with contact for that to happen...."

No sacks on Nesbitt.  His injury wasn't something we did.


* Be studs on 3rd down: make the tackle when they throw underneath and don't allow them to get the 3rd down. Limit Nesbitt to double digit QB rating on 3rd down.

PASS.  3/9 isn't bad to be honest.  3rd down was not our problem. 


* Do not fall for play action on short yardage downs!: DB's rarely make these plays but are usually the ones burned for trying to help out too much.

PASS.  Excellent.  Again though, small sample set.


* Confuse Nesbitt. Mix the coverages enough to confuse Willson. I'm annoyed that we give away our blitz too early. Let's wait to walk down, and at other times walk down and then back out.

FAIL.  Nesbitt was 4/5.  We didn't show good looks.  I'll have more on this later, but I doubt my opinion will change a bunch from watching film.


Final Goals For FSU's defense


FAIL.  8.2 with Nesbitt in the game?  Pathetic.

* No Plays of 50+ Yards. I doubt GT can repeatedly drive on this team. Let's make them try.

FAIL.  I'm in law school and I'm not a math expert, but 66> 50 in my book. 


* Create 2 turnovers

Pass.  Forcing turnovers didn't seem to be the problem, though I question whether we would have had success


* 10 "Stops" Mickey defines a stop as a turnover, punt, or a surrender on downs. That's fine by me.

FAIL.  Under Nesbitt... Mickey's crew forced ONE stop on 6 drives.  That is not what we're looking for.


* Less than 50% Red Zone TD Scoring

FAIL.  Consistent with everything else we did on defensive end, we allowed GT to score TD's on 2 of 3 red zone trips.


* No scores off sudden change (make GT get a first down off a turnover. Do not allow the home run after a turnover). They LOVE to throw deep off of a turnover.

I can't hold this against them.  The turnover put GT at the 4 yard line.


* Hold GT under 280 yards. Mickey's goal is 300, and that is generous. This team has been way lucky so far to get their yards and wins.

FAIL.  No explanation needed.

More numbers on the Nole's defense:

  • Tech gained 12 of their 13 first downs before QB Nesbitt left.
  • FSU forced 9 3rd downs... but 4 of them came in the limited action after Tech's QB left the game.
  • GT had more yards in penalties than the Noles.  For more on why penalties are not a bad thing, see Here and Here.  

Continue inside for some offensive evaluation...

Offensive Goals

So, the goals for the FSU running game?

* 55% of carries by FSU RB's on First down go for 3 or more yards (win first down). This seems like a strange goal, but it is all about staying out of 3rd and long. I know this number seems low, but I'm trying to set realistic goals here.

PASS X 13!  9 of our 13 1st down RB rushes went for 3+ yards!  That's 70%!  Jermaine Thomas' 1st down carries: 62, 13, 7, 12, 7.  Stud.  This was by far our best first down effort of the season when you consider the opponent.



* 60% conversions running on 3rd/ 4th & 2 or less

PASS.  2 of 3 running on 3rd and 3 or less.



* 1 or fewer fumbles (Not fumbles lost, but Fumbles)

FAIL.  Obviously.  I don't want to talk about this.


* 40 yards rushing from Christian. This does not count sacks. I will parse our the sacks.

FAIL, but maybe in a good way... Ponder had 8 rushing yards.  Jimbo said that he is 100% healthy, but I don't believe that for a second.  Anyone who follows this team knows to be weary of injury information. 


The goals for the Passing Game?

* Less than .33 drops per 5 throws (works out to 2 or less per 35 throws)

I'll wait to evaluate this goal.  Remind me to do this tomorrow night.



* QB Rating of 105+ Clearly, we're not a high completion % pass game, but Jimbo has stated that he doesn't care about that. Low completion % but big plays are fine by me.

PASS.  110.43.  16-27, 149, 1TD 1INT.  Was this goal set a bit low?  Maybe. 


Stepping up, but iffy on the form here...


* No careless throws into the flat. This is big, since these almost always go for a Pick-6.

Pass, but more on this later...


* Special Sack Rate (sacks + Holdings on dropbacks / sacks + pass attempts + holding on dropbacks) of less than 20%. Yes, 20%. That isn't a typo. If we have 30 pass plays, we must not allow more than 6 combined holding penalties and sacks. Obviously, I would prefer 6 holdings and zero sacks, as we don't risk injury or fumbles with the holding, and as we all know, the team that commits more penalties usually wins the game. it's true.

PASS.  5 Sacks, 1 holding penalty accepted, and another declined.  29 Throws.  So, that is... 7 majors over 36 pass plays for 19%, or if you take out the declined holding call, 6 majors over 35 pass plays for 17%.  While those numbers are horrific, they are within the goals we set.  Still, we need to start holding more.  The refs will NOT call it all the time.  One of the sacks caused a fumble. 




* 7 Yards per Attempt.

FAIL.  It didn't happen.  5.5 per.  How much of that is on PONDER/ JIMBO/  OLine/ WR'S... I'll decide after watching the film. 


* 3 plays with 15+ YAC

Again, remind me to do this after watching the film.


* No more than 1 BadReadBadThrow (BRBT) per 10 passes. This is very important if they play zone.

PASS, but I am going to change this goal in the future to 1/15, not 1/10.


* No more than 1 bad blitz pickup miss per 15 attempts (Marcus Sims, this is you). Tech doesn't blitz much, and I doubt they bring 6+ guys more than once or twice, because of their inexperienced back 7.

This is a film goal. 


General Offensive Goals

* 4.6 YPP(Yards Per Play). 66 Plays at 4.5 YPP = 304 yards.

PASS.  Huge Pass.  5.9 YPP is excellent for this game and the Noles far exceeded my expectations on offense. 


* No Personal Fouls (except clipping, I'm fine with that here). I know that the team committing more penalties usually wins the game, but these are non-aggression penalties.

PASS, but I hope all the beat hacks (Except Andrew Carter who has laid off the penalties crusading) are happy.  The team who is called for the most penalty yards usually WINS the game.  We should have committed more penalties


* Less than 2 turnovers

FAIL, and all of them hurt.


* 60%+ Red Zone Touchdowns (Kicking is losing). We've done a decent job of this this year.

FAIL.  With the Simms fumble, this was the most obvious fail to the casual observer.  Had we punched it in, we'd be looking at 75% red zone TD's on the day!


All Photo's courtesy of the Democrat.

In keeping with our community feel, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please do share them. 


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