Inside the Seminole Film Room: Florida State 28, Georgia Tech 31

I won't have a play-by-play review this week, as I've had a lot of stuff come up.

As always, we use these terms to denote formations:

  • "Chollie" is shotgun, 3 wide, 2 backs, like Charlie Ward ran.
  • "KGun" is what the Jim Kelly bills teams ran, with 3 WR, a TE, and  back.
  • "BAMA" is Singleback, Twins WR, Twins TE (we sometimes line up in this with the FB acting as an HBack or second TE)
  • Hawaii is a 4WR GUN Trips Overload look out of Hawaii's playbook.  It's Shotgun, with 3 WR and a rb all on the same side.  This is great for forcing defenses to show their hand early.
  • Wendy's is 4 WR, or 4 Standing players, stacked behind each other in groups of 2, on each side of the offensive line.  This is usually run with a tight alignment.  I named it Wendy's because it's effectively a "DoubleStack"

Let's look directly at the video:

Florida State vs Georgia Tech Highlights (via FSUTalent)

I wanted to focus mostly on the strides the offense made in lieu of looking at our defense get gashed by a modern day gimmick offense.

Video Time0:00 1/10 at Fs32 3WRSB Ponder, C pass complete to Parker, P for 9 yards to the FS41 (Jackson, K.).
Double slants as Ponder hits the trail guy.  This is an obvious zone buster play.  Throw to back shoulder might not have been intentional, but was effective.  Throw good.
0:10 2/1 at Fs41 Pistol Chollie Smith, A rush for 12 yards to the GT47, 1ST DOWN FS, out-of-bounds (Butler, M.).
Triple option, but we actually pitch it.  My guess is this is double option with a dummy fake.
0:20 1/10 at Gt47 Twin I Ponder, C pass complete to Carr, G for 14 yards to the GT33, 1ST DOWN FS (Butler, M.).
No PA.  3 step drop, excellent throw.  Good job to attempt to cut the Dlinemen.
0:30 2/8 at Gt31 5WR Gun Ponder, C pass complete to Carr, G for 20 yards to the GT11, 1ST DOWN FS (Jackson, K.).

1:07 2/7 at Fs13
Nesbitt, J. rush for loss of 1 yard to the FS14 (Nicholson, D).
The rare example of the double A-Gap submarine formation working.
1:17 3/7 at Gt30 4WR GUN Ponder, C pass complete to Carr, G for 12 yards to the GT18, 1ST DOWN FS (Taylor, C.).
Again, double slants against zone.  Inside guy draws the LB in, Ponder throws a strike to the outside man.  8 men in coverage.
1:30 1/10 at Fs32 Pistol Trips Thomas, J. rush for 62 yards to the GT6, 1ST DOWN FS (Peterson, M.).
Zone blocking in all its glory.  Watch the double-team from Zebrie and Spurlock.  Beautiful.  Note also that Gtech looked to be worried about the bubble here, and they don't think we can run to the right.
2:17 2-G at Gt04 Twin I Ponder, C pass complete to Holloway, S for 4 yards to the GT0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 08:05.
Notice how Ponder waits with patience and poise, clears the rusher, finds his throwing lane and throws the ball the only place he could put it, and Holloway made the nice catch.
2:47 2/8 at Gt34
Jones, R. rush for no gain to the GT34 (Verdell, T;Rolle, M).
2:57 1/10 at Fs17 Pistol Trips. Thomas, J. rush for 13 yards to the FS30, 1ST DOWN FS (Morgan, D.).
Same exact play we ran on the 62 yard run.  Same play.  Now, while the 62 yard run was all blocking, this run was all Thomas.  I'm more impressed with Thomas on this run than the 62 yarder.  Spurlock needed to hold his double longer here.
3:08 2/15 at Fs25 Hawaii Richardson, D rush for 39 yards to the GT36, 1ST DOWN FS, out-of-bounds (Taylor, C.).
10 blockers is better than 9 and I like this play.  Good job by D'Vo to hurdle towards the end.  Great zone principles, and great individual efforts by the skill guys including Caz.
3:43 2/15 at Gt41 4WR GUN Ponder, C pass complete to Carr, G for 14 yards to the GT27 (Peterson, M.).
Very good throw on the slant, but we need to get that DE cut better so that he can't get his hands up.  Nitpicking?  I hope not.
3:53 2/10 at Fs33 Chollie w/ a TE? Smith, A rush for 10 yards to the FS43, 1ST DOWN FS (Burnett, M.).
Datko and Caz make this play.  Great first steps.
4:06 2/17 at Fs36 Chollie Ponder, C pass complete to Parker, P for 13 yards to the FS49 (Griffin, S.).
Hey!  The middle screen!  I love our linemen.  Look @ Datko down field.
4:18 3/3 at Fs36
Shaw, J. rush for loss of 7 yards to the FS43, fumble forced by Brown, E, fumble by Shaw, J. recovered by FS Stewart, K at FS43.
Well, one way to stop GT is to have them lose their QB to a fluke injury.
4:48 2/12 at Fs41 Chollie w/ a TE? Thomas, J. rush for 11 yards to the GT48 (Taylor, C.).
Spurlock!  Hell yes!  Pancaking a DT!  I think this guy might be my favorite player.  Also w/ great blocks: Zebrie, Caz, and believe it or not, Marcus Sims.  Make no mistake though, this play is made because Spurlock is quick off the ball and dominates his guy.  Now... the pass pro... um... next year?
5:05 3/8 at Fs03 4WR GUN Ponder, C pass complete to Owens, R for 10 yards to the FS13, 1ST DOWN FS, out-of-bounds (Butler, M.).
Not going to sugarcoat this… we held here.  Now, besides the holding, Ponder made a play that we haven't seen made here in a long time.  Really nice.
5:22 2/10 at Fs30 KGUN Ponder, C pass complete to Easterling, T for 9 yards to the FS39 (Reid, R.).
Why do we pay Jimbo so much?  Passing concepts.  This is a curl and an out.  It's a zone buster; here being a orizontal stretch, with a vertical element (10 yard curl).  The outside defended MUST commit to the out route, while the inside defended must make sure the slot guy doesn't get inside.  Ponder throws a strike here, stepping up in the pocket.  This is an easy read for a young QB, but not always an easy throw.  Jimbo gave confidence with the easy read, and Ponder used his ability to put the ball on the money.  
5:31 3/1 at Fs39 I Thomas, J. rush for 9 yards to the FS48, 1ST DOWN FS (Reid, R.;Burnett, M.), PENALTY GT offside declined.
Keep in mind that Gtech was consistently playing us to run left, but even so, Spurlock and Sanders run blocked out of their minds!  Look at this blocking.  Good scheme too, as the WR blocks the DE, but isn't required to hold the block long at all.  
5:50 4/3 at Gt45 5WR Gun Ponder, C pass complete to Reed, B for 6 yards to the GT39, 1ST DOWN FS (Taylor, C.).
Gong for this is the right call and we are very lucky to have a guy who will fist it to the media if they don't understand the principles of expected point value relative to field position.  Anyways, the play… Reed shows good maturity running this route to the perfect spot, the line doesn't fall down, and Ponder makes the right choice, throwing a strike.  Memo to ACC:  we will average 31 points in ACC play next year, book it.
5:59 1/10 at Gt39 KGUN Trips Weak Richardson, D pass complete to Parker, P for 39 yards to the GT0, 1ST DOWN FS, TOUCHDOWN, clock 06:04.
Great play by Parker, and not a horrible throw by Mr. Richardson either.  Line needs to sell run action better here.
6:55 1-G at Gt03 KGUN Ponder, C pass attempt to Carr, G good, PENALTY GT pass interference declined.
Weird coverage from Gtech.  Nice by them to peel the LB to the corner.  Carr's arms are just too long.  PI could have been called on either player here.  
7:35 1/10 at Gt25
Shaw, J. pass intercepted by Robinson, P. at the FS41, Robinson, P. return 0 yards to the FS41.
We really, really need Patrick Robinson to stay next year.  Badly.  By any mean$ possible.  Please.  Someone help us out here, haha.  
8:29 4/6 at Fs45 SB TRIP WR Ponder, C pass complete to Reed, B for 9 yards to the GT46, 1ST DOWN FS (Taylor, C.).
Playcalling.  Motioning Parker here lets Christian get a pre-snap read.  Notice how we use the entire clock (scary, huh?  Good teams use the whole thing, analyzing every second).  Ponder can see that with the middle vacated by the defender following Parker, it will be up to this corner to beat lightning quick Bert Reed, since the CB is playing with outside leverage.  That was fine before, but with no inside help, or the illusion of inside help, GT was screwed pre-snap.  College corners are not beating Bert Reed to the spot; he's too damn quick.  Great route by Bert.  The line understands it's q quick 3 step drop and they block it well.  Huge play.  This IS Jimbo putting these young players in positions of confidence and leverage.
8:56 1/10 at Gt46 I Ponder, C pass complete to Parker, P for 11 yards to the GT35, 1ST DOWN FS.
First, GT is holding Caz badly.  2nd, this is a really, really tough throw.  My guess is that Ponder wanted to go to Caz, saw the route not developing because of the holding, and his 2nd progression was Parker.  This isn’t a great throw, but it's very difficult to make.  We couldn't throw this with Drew.  Great catch by Preston and great job to get it to him.  
9:09 2/3 at Gt28 I Thomas, J. rush for 10 yards to the GT18, 1ST DOWN FS (Jackson, K.).
What do you think?  Designed cutback?  I doubt it.  The 62 yard jaunt will get the accolades, but his 2nd scamper of the day and this run to daylight were much better from a running perspective.  Some backs just see the lane.  Some never do.  Clinton Portis did this really well for Denver several years ago.
9:26 1/10 at Gt18 Chollie w/ a TE? Thomas, J. rush for 12 yards to the GT6, 1ST DOWN FS, out-of-bounds (Burnett, M.).
Zone blocking!  Effort!  Conditioning!  Coaching!  Commitment to the run game!  This play works because we're in better shape than the other teams (thanks coach Stroud), we play harder (not sure how), we're very well coached with an emphasis on footwork, and because we have a true commitment to run blocking within our zone scheme.  Thomas appears to understand these principles.  Holloway's block is great, no doubt, but watch how Caz, Datko, & Hudson block 2, then slide to seal while Caz climbs to the 2nd level.  That is all about footwork and the commit step at the snap and nobody teaches that zone principle like Coach Rick Trickett.  I'd post his e-mail and ask that we all give him thanks, but I doubt he wants to read through all that.  THANK YOU COACH TRICKETT!!  Beautiful.  This team displays a ton of patience and confidence; a marked difference from the Wake game.


  • For the play at 0:30, this is the note: This was a check.  Zone.  Strike to carr.  Immediate and throw.  Nice running.  Jimbo did a good job exploiting the hard corner and deep safety.  If this was supposed to be a slant, however, it wasn't a very good route, and this would hurt us later...(Carr should have been flatter on the interception).  
  • The offensive line got away with a lot of holding during pass protection and still gave up 5 sacks.  It's not a criticism, but a reality.  We need to hold more and more, even to the point of absurdity, because the referees will not call this.
  • I was very impressed with the run blocking of this offensive line, particularly the right side, which Tech essentially dared Jimbo to run on. 
  • Tech was smart to play off and outside leverage in the first half; we hadn't shown that we could consistently throw the slant and the sit down.  I didn't understand going back to this later in the game though. 
  • Ponder made 2 or 3 highly questionable throws.  I'm okay with it for now, because they were DOWN THE FIELD.  If he was making them short and wide, I'd be very worried.
  • Ponder did a great job staying in the Pocket, sliding, and moving WITHIN the pocket in an effort to find receivers.  The TD throw to Holloway is a great example.
  • Passing concepts that were heavily featured: Modified Smash (Curl and Out, instead of Curl and Corner).  We also ran all curls several times out of 5-wide. 
  • Rick Trickett said that only 3 of the 5 sacks were on his line.  Be aware in calling for Jermaine Thomas that he doesn't yet do a good job in blitz pickup.  I don't expect him to as a freshman.  
  • I am going to save most of my defensive comments.  We've already talked about this a lot throughout the week.  Instead, I've included 9 big plays that hurt FSU in video... After the jump...

GT vs Florida State Cox 1 yard TD Run (via fireballflig)

GT vs Florida State Roddy Jones to the 1 (via fireballflig)

GT vs. Florida State Greg Smith TD run (via fireballflig)

Georgia Tech Football - The Florida State Game (via RamblinWreckTube)







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