Grading the 'Noles
General Offensive Goals: 6YPP, no personal foul late hits or unnecessary roughness, 60+% TD's in the red zone, 100% scoring in the red zone.
We ended up with 5.6YPP, One personal foul (Carr), 50% Red Zone TD;s, and 100% Red Zone scoring. Overall, missing the YPP goal by 10%, and Committing the penalty weren't horrible, but the 'Noles needed to be better in this game.
The "A" Line for the Seminole QB's: 8.0 YARDS/ ATTEMPT and a 2-1 TD/ Int ratio.
I know what you are thinking. He did miss those goals. 10-22 for 120 isn't special at all. Please allow me to explain: look at the wideouts grade. Jimbo Christian played good. He had his highest grade (88%) on the entire year, including the 1-AA schools. He made smart decisions with the ball and didn't make any interceptable throws. If you want to get my full take on this, read Inside the Seminole Film Room First Half, and Second Half.
Jimbo thought he made the correct play 88% of the time, and even docked him for not taking a chance (in stark contrast to his failure last week against Wake, when he was roundly criticized by everyone for not taking the same throw).
Let's have a look at his Non-Completions:
1 RB, K-Gun Look. Ponder checks here at line. Three step drop out of shotgun, ball out quickly, good job of stepping & throwing. INCOMPLETE # 1: Parker drops the ball, on a 5 yard hitch over the middle. Parker was the hot here, it looks like, as CU brought the blitz. Pass was on target.
Awesome. Our "best" player starts the game with a drop on a good throw. That sure inspires confidence. Not his fault (1).
Double TE Even Single back. PA roll right. Nice job by FR. Te to hold his block. Ponder's throw isn’t great here as he tries to his Parker on the out. Bad TV angle, but looks like he was a second or half second late on the throw. He did zip it though, which is important on the out. INCOMPLETE # 2 This was the right read here, for the record.
This is on him (1). He will get better at anticipating throws as he progresses. Correct read though, which is better than last week.
INCOMPLETE # 3. Multiple screw-up's here. Easterling & Surrency don't line up in tight, so Ponder has to tell them to come in. This wastes time, but good job by Christian to recognize their mistake. He doesn't get a look at the D until the clock is at 0:06. Now, if you watch this, it looks like they he had Antone in the flat for a second. He didn't. Why? He doesn't even read Antone on this play; smith is just a decoy. Why? The play is a middle screen to Parker. Unfortunately for this drive, Colorado has the PERFECT play called! They are in a big-time zone blitz here. Ponder didn't do anything wrong here at all. We had this, but for the dropping lineman. He actually did a good job of holding the ball for as long as he did. Throw was fairly safe, as Dlineman has his back turn. We had this set up. There is only 1 read on this play: either throw it to Parker, or get rid of it.
A Dlineman in a zone blitz clogs up the screen, while CP is under heavy pressure. Not his fault (2). Though really, this was bad luck playcalling wise.
4 wide stack look. NON-COMPLETE # 4. Ponder wants to go to Carr on the 8 yard stop. Carr was open. I THINK Parker was slightly more open, but the Carr read wasn't a bad read. Not much pressure. Now, this play happens because Furlong doesn't get his man on the cut block, & his man gets his hands up to bat this ball. Christian runs forward, catches the ball, & rushes forward with the ball, bobbling it, & never getting control, hits it to a Dlineman. This was positively Rixian. I appreciate the hustle & the awesome effort, but knock that pass down. This was should be scored a fumble, not a pick. Also, great hustle by the captain smith, to make the tackle. This was so fluky, they I doubt we see this ever again. I'll assign the incomplete to Furlong for doing a horrible job on his block. I blame Ponder for trying to do too much in catching his own pass. Batting the ball down is the correct play here.
The Lineman missed his block. Jimbo said as much, said it was a good read, and the ball would have been a good throw. Not his fault (3). Also, this was not an interception, but rather a fumble, in my estimation.
NON-COMPLETE # 5 I-Form, play Action. Correct read, I think, as he had Fortson deep. He was a half second late, IMO, but still made a good throw that Fortson could have had. This IS his fault, as it would have been a difficult catch. Colorado did not bite badly on the fake. If he throws throws this a split second earlier on time, it's a huge gain as the safety can't get over. NO DB touched the pass.
His fault (2).
NONCOMPLETE # 6 TWIN WR I-FORM. PA, they don't bite much. Now, there were reasonable explanations for the first 5 non-completes, most of which were not solely Ponder's fault, if his at all. This one was. The protection was GREAT. Nobody was open. He threw the ball way late, to Carr, who wasn't open. Ponder looked like a freshman here, & really needed to either use his legs to run, or just launch this to the end zone, where he MIGHT have had a shot. This was a dangerous, ill advised, poorly thrown pass. I would love to be a fly on the wall on Monday when Jimbo & CP talk this one over.
Definitely his fault (3).
NON-COMPLETE # 7 Sprint out left, 2 man route as Caz & Antone stay in to block. Ponder has Easterling for a second, but Ponder is cautious. When he does square his shoulders, nobody is open, & Ponder throws this ball high & to the sidelines. If you miss your short throwing window, what should you do? Run. In this case, however, he would have been tackled quickly. This play was designed to be a man-buster (the motion is a tell), but CU played a great zone. Ponder realized he missed his window of opportunity & didn't act stupid, as he threw the ball where it had no chance to be picked off. The crowd booed, & the announcers said it was well off the mark, but there wasn't a spot for him to throw after the initial window. This is the play I watched the most (5 or 6 times). Watch it if you can, this window is tiny, if at all.
This was a throwaway that Jimbo complimented him on while mentioning that he has the ability to make the throw. Not his fault (4).
IINCOMPLETE # 8: Same Formation (4-WR Stack Gun). FSU runs a similar play. Ponder has to double clutch for a second, because Zebrie lets his man jump into the air. Now, why does this play not go for a completion? Gregg Carr ran the wrong route. Ponder looked really confused to the sideline, & the WR's had an automatic check: you can see the WR's & Christian point (acknowledging the check). Carr does NOT check or point, and later talks with the Seminoles confirm that Carr ran the wrong damn route. Not a good day for the senior.
Not his fault (5).
NON- COMPLETE # 9 Best throw he made all day. 4 wide gun. Colorado brings blitz , we pick it up. Now, yesterday some thought he had another guy open. He made up his mind to throw at the 0:48 mark, & at that time, his read was correct. This ball was beautifully thrown to the corner of the end zone. Easterling couldn't get the foot down, but the DB never had a chance. I question the personnel use here. Why not have Surrency, Carr, Fortson, Parker, or even Owens run that route!? This was a great throw. He had ZERO margin for error here, & this was the right read.
Right read on a high level of difficulty throw. Jimbo raved about this corner route in today's press conference. It really was a great ball. The WR (Easterling) needed to get his feet down. Not his fault (6).
NON- COMPLETE # 10: 4 WR Stack GUN: Many problems on this play. Bad block by Zebrie (driven back & let man inside. Very very Lazy route by Carr (didn't threaten defense). Ponder had to throw off his back foot here (well, didn't HAVE TO, but the pressure was in his face). He launched it out of the end zone. I do think he had him if he could have stepped up & thrown on time. Also, Antone out in the flat on a 3rd & 16? Not a real option. I didn't like the blocking, route running, or the QB play on this play. I also didn't like Fisher's call here., as there weren't any routes to threaten the defense downfield or over the middle, except for Parker.
His fault, sort of (immense pressure, but still needed to throw this away). (3.5)
NON-COMPLETE # 11 After the last drive, my only hope here was that we wouldn't try to blast block with our middle school sized right guard. We're in K-Gun here. Thie was NOT a screen pass. I loved this playcall! Fake handoff from gun to parker coming in motion, misdirection roll, perfect throw to Jermaine Thomas, and Thomas flat dropped it. Also, a man in Ponder's face. This was a great ball, thrown around the DT in his face, and perfectly led right into Thomas' hands.
Wide open RB drops pass that hits him in the hands in stride? Not his fault (7)
NON-COMPLETE # 12 K-Gun. Poor job by Datko as he gets beat to the inside, and gets in Ponders face as he launches off backfoot to Surrency. Not a good play, all around. At least he got it to through end zone. I do think this was the right read, as did Jimbo. If he has semi-decent protection, this is probably a TD.
His fault, sort of (4).
Of the 12 Non-Completions, only 4 can be directly attributed to him.
Now, given that Jimbo said he had his best game yet, I said he played pretty well, the receivers played poorly, and he has the youngest offensive line in the entire nation, how in the world are people still giving this kid heat? Make your own decisions, but realize that there are two people who go through the entire game tape, take notes, and then tell you what they saw. Those two are Jimbo (THE AUTHORITY) and myself. There are others who watch on TV at full speed, maybe look at the kid's stat line, do NOT go back and watch tape in slo-mo, and then give their thoughts. Who do you trust? I would love to sit down with these people who are hounding him and listen to their silence as we watch tape. Some are even saying he is missing guys running wide open (false), and missing check downs (again false). It seems as if they're using the following formula: (below avg performance against Wake where he didn't hit checkdowns, + Colorado game observations that do not come from breaking down tape+ not pretty stat line= dumb observations). Nobody breaks down the stuff like we do here (except the coaches, and they aren't very open with the media anymore) and I think that is where the difference in opinion lies. Question everything. Before you believe someone who is writing about your team, ask yourself: do they have an inside connection?; do they understand what they are talking about; have they actually taken the time to review the games? I think that some people do, and some do not. He has improved a bunch since the Wake game.
I also want to respond to a question posed by one of my favorite 'Nole sites, Scalpem. Let me be clear, I do think the Scalpem guys know what they are talking about.
But, I can’t help but wonder what FSU is going to do on offense. I’m not saying put Drew Weatherford in, because it’s not going to happen. But I do wonder what might have happened for Mr. Weatherford had Antone Smith run for all those yards while he was in there. Throughout the Colorado game it looked like Jimbo Fisher wanted Christian Ponder to play the role of Trent Dilfer and manage the game.
Antone wouldn't have run for those yards with Drew. Teams didn't respect Drew's throwing at all, and thus played a ton of men close to the line of scrimmage. I did a review a while back, where I looked at rushing yards by running backs in ACC games with Drew v. Xavier. The running backs ran for more than a full yard better with teams respecting Xavier's arm. Despite his percieved inconsistency, teams do respect Ponde'rs arm. Colorado had 7 or fewer men in the box on over 50% of the plays. They would go back to short field saturation technique that they employed last year if Drew were in.
Under no circumstances am I saying that Xavier should have played. I know he was a screwup of epic proportions (more so than 95% of 'Nole fans. There were some things that you just had to be in Tallahassee for. I AM saying that the question you pose is flawed. Part of the reason we ran for those yards is the new found respect teams have for Ponder. The other part is that teams know Ponder can keep the ball and run (as he did twice), so they can't all fly to the ball as quickly. This is similar to the flawed idea that Drew would have had all the checkdown options available against Wake. Teams do adjust to what a team has at QB.
Ponder can get a lot better, as he threw three passes that were completions, yet weren't great throws. The wideouts only made ONE impressive catch all day (Fortson over the middle). In just one game, he really put the brakes on the happy feet problem, and stepped up in the (sometimes shaky) pocket to deliver most of the balls. The main thing he needs to do, going forward, is deliver the ball quicker in rythm. Putting the ball in step will allow us to make more yards downfield. The other thing he needs to do is continue to evaluate risk. Against Wake, some thought he played a 'lil too fast-n-loose. He was probably a bit too conservative on Saturday. Through accumulated experience and Jimbo's reassurance that "yes, you really were seeing what you thought you saw", I think he will continue to improve, even if his numbers don't indicate a drastic improvement.
Running Backs: A-
The "A" line for the running game (including sacks, but not including kneeldowns): 80% of carries gain 2 or more yards, no more than BAD blitz pickup miss and no fumbles.
What a day! 8 of 46 runs went for 2+ yards (83%) as the 'Noles stayed ahead of the chains all day. The 'Nole runners did better than they've done in the past few years, running with great leg drive, hitting the hole quickly, dancing only when necessary, and drawing tacklers into blocks. Why don't these guys earn the "A"? 2 busts in blitz pickup normally isn't that bad, but Colorado rarely blitzed, so that was a little alarming. The other reason is the Jermaine Thomas dropped pass.
The "A" line for the Seminole Receivers: No more than 2 drops, zero fumbles, two plays with 15+ YAC, and no more than 1 penalty (I do not count offensive pass interference here, for grading purposes). In film review, I reserve the right to deduct points for horrible route running or for general laziness.
1 Drop (1 was a RB), 2 fumbles, Zero plays with 15+ YAC, 3 Horrible Penalties,Several struggles lining up correctly, lazy blocking by Carr and 1 other guy, Lazy route running by some receivers when they knew they weren't getting the ball, and at least two missed checks that led to unnecessary incompletions. Disagree? Let's hear it. I'll talk about these slackers all day. For the supposed "best unit" on our team, these guys had a really bad day. The game against Miami will be placed in their hands. At this point, I've seen nothing to indicate they will step up. Jimbo Fisher commented that Carr's penalty was selfish, inexcusable, and dumb. Note, however, that some did play pretty well, most Notably Fortson. If you wonder how Ponder went 10-22 yet had his best Jimbo grade of the season, this group is the main reason. Preston Parker also had a really, really good day blocking.
Offensive Line: A+
The "A" line for the offensive line: No more than 3 penalties, no more than 1 bad snap (let's see what that AA status really means, McMahon), and no horrible missed blocks (subjective).
The line really played quite well. They accomplished the goals, committing only ZERO penalties, having only one bad snap, allowing ZERO sacks, and having no horriblly missed pass blocks. The only thing we didn't do was blast block, which wasn't on the rubric since I knew we couldn't do that. Did you know that the 'Noles offensive line averages 18.9 years of age? Coach Trickett deserves a serious raise. If we have to make him the first Million Dollar line coach, so be it.
"As far as true freshmen they are doing some things out there that sometimes I'm even pinching myself that we are able to get it done." _ CRT (Coach Rick Trickett)
So are we coach, so are we.
Offensive Player of the Game
Antone Smith, as he joins past winners Rodney Hudson and Corey Surrency. Congrats Deuce!, you earned it.
With that said, I'll be very happy if FSU can achieve WINS (defined as 2nd and 9 or worse) on 40% or more of Colorado's first downs, and I will be well on my way to giving the front 7 an A.
Extra goals for the defense (To Earn the A): No more than two plays allowed of 30+ yards, an Opponent QB rating of less than 135, ZERO late hit-out of bounds penalties (roughing the QB is fine by me), an opponent red-zone TD % of less than 40%, Less than 6 yards per play allowed, no more than 10 missed tackles, no scores off of a sudden change, and at least two forced turnovers.
6 of 13 1st down run plays went for 1 yard or less (46%). 13 of 20 first down pass plays went for 1 yard or less (65), with 2 more going for only 2 yards. Overall, FSU had Wins on 19 of 33 first downs, a 57% clip, which far exceeds the stated goal of 40%. Great job on 1st down guys!
FSU allowed only one play of 30+ yards.
Hawkins QB rating was abysmal, way below 100.
FSU had zero late hit OOB penalties.
Unfortunately, we allowed 66% Red Zone TD's.
There were no scores off of sudden change.
Held CU to an INCREDIBLE 3.8 YPP (Goal is under 6.0)!
Missed 10 tackles, but Mickey Andrews said that was fine, given the
Forced 2 tunrovers.
3 major secondary busts.
3 of 8 on 3rd and 6 or more (bad %)
Player of the Week: Everette Brown
Congrats Everette on a fine Week!