I've remained somewhat apprehensive about this bowl game. Will Florida State be motivated? Will Chuck Amato watch enough film? Will Wisconsin pound the 'Noles on the ground? I'm not sure about those, but I've found something that leads me to believe that the Noles will run for 300 yards on Wisconsin.
Also, we came close to beating Pitt last night. TrueCubbie did an amazing job with the game thread.
Inside, I will discuss my findings.
To get where I am going with this, you need to first understand a few things. First, our offensive line isn't good enough to consistently run against 8 man fronts-- yet. Second, the bubble screen is not a base play in our offense. Rather, it is a constraint play. SmartFootball.blogspot has an excellent piece on this. Essentially, it is a tool to make sure that the offense plays 7 in the box and not 8. If the defense cheats, we throw the bubble to keep them honest.
The problem then is when a team could stop the 'Noles run with only 7 in the box. Yes, I am beginning to think our OLine is not as good as some believed (including myself). Who could do that? Teams with big front 7's (the defensive line and linebackers).
Boston College 1918lbs, 23 rushes, 82 yards. This one is obvious. Our receiving tight end- sized line couldn't muster any push against these guys. The bubble was useless as BC did not need to cheat to stop the run. They are huge and thankfully their two all-world tackles are graduating.
Wake 1838lbs, 27 rushes for 103 yards. Wake surprised me. They are pretty big. They were able to play the bubble straight up, which worked very well.
Florida 1835lbs, 29 rushes for 137 Big and supremely talented, our rushing success came primarily in garbage time.
Miami 1785lbs, 54 rushes, 281 yards. There is a pretty big drop off from UF to Miami (55lbs). Remember here that our rushing success came primarily on reverses and Ponder running, most of which was a result of Miami's idiotic plan to defense our attack. We bubbled them to death when they went 8 or 9 in the box.
Georgia Tech 1772lbs (I think they were lighter because of major injuries, correct?). 31 rushes, 228 yards. Remember that GTech was missing 2 key linebackers and a safety. Still, this is a big drop in weight from the 3 schools over 1835lbs.
Virginia Tech 1766lbs, 34 rushes, 123 yards. Poor numbers. Explanation? Yes. VT played 8 in the box and manned up on our wide receivers. If you're puzzled, remember what happened: the only thing open was the deep ball. They saturated the running lanes and pressed out men
Clemson 1760lbs, 34 rushes, 281 yards Light front 7? Check. Depending solely on speed to stop the run? Check. Cutbacks? Check.
NC State 1757lbs, 42 rushes, 162 yards These numbers aren't amazing, but much of this game was us trying to control the clock while battling holding penalties. Light front 7? Check. Depending solely on speed to stop the run? Check. Cutbacks? Check.
Maryland 1755lbs, 41 rushes, 172 yards Maryland struggled all game in choosing to defend the bubble or the run.
Colorado 1755lbs, 45 rushes, 259 yards The smallest front we played AND they decided to stop the bubble. Running wild was the obvious result.
There are actually two ways to stop FSU's running game and not get burned by the bubble:
- The first is to have a big, disciplined front 7, that is difficult to cut block. One that takes good angles and doesn't allow cutbacks. This allows teams to play straight upon the receivers.
- Play 8 in the box and play zero coverage-press man against each receiver. Virginia Tech did this and they were eventually burned deep. This requires excellent athletes and a lot of guys.
Our offense really performs well when the opposing team is based on speed and has to beat blockers based on speed and not power. Our agile linemen handle them fine (in run blocking) and reroute them out of the running lane. Our OLine really lacks strength right now, however, and they struggle against big front 7's.
So, does Wisconsin have the ability to do either? Uh... You decide.
Wisconsin just lost their best linebacker (yesterday), Senior middle linebacker Casillas.
Their front 7's combined weight?
1710lbs. Their linebackers? Undisciplined.
Seminoles take your marks...