Florida State is not making enough progress in Spring Practice.

What is more important?  Developing and growing as a team, or "winning" a scrimmage?  Apparently, at Florida State, it is the latter.

Thank God for recruiting.  Without the promise that a competent coaching staff will soon be in place at Florida State to mold the substantial talent that is now coming to Tallahassee, there would be little reason to follow Seminole's football.  FSU will probably have a real head coach soon, and will be able to get a decent runningbacks coach   What a frustrating mess.

Florida State held a scrimmage today.   I'm not exactly sure how to write this, so I'll go position by position. 

Jimbo Fisher said that Ponder's last two scrimmages have been his best since he has been at Florida State.  That statement might be surprising to some, because Ponder's passing numbers have been right at 50%, with about 8 yards per pass (not per completion, but per attempt).  I'm told he made few poor throws, if any.

He's been victimized by drops and incorrect routes.  Fisher's offense requires receivers to make reads and alter the play on the fly.  It's not overly complicated (not the run and shoot), and I don't know how much more we can really simplify things.  I do know that wide receiver coach Lawrence Dawsey needs to stop playing the role of "cool black guy who is a great recruiter and friend to the kids" and needs to start making sure that these guys are paying attention to detail and doing their job.  

In addition to wideouts running incorrect routes and failing to alter them based on reads (like breaking it off when they blitz), there is yet another problem with the drop back passing game:  lack of attention to detail from the runningbacks.  The backs are not doing their job in pass protection.  Blitz pickup is a bit like foreplay.  It's like letting your car warm up on a cold morning.  Fisher was very disappointed in the back's performance today, as they missed fairly easy assignments and allowed Ponder to get sacked.  Ponder doesn't take a hit in a scrimmage setting (no contact rule), but if the backs (Jermaine "Macmaine or .38 Special" Thomas and Carlton "Ty" Jones) don't start taking this seriously, Ponder is going to get killed in a real game setting.  This is on "coach" Dexter Carter, who is not impressive as a coach.  Runningback coaches need to be great recruiters and teach kids how to perform in the offense.  The actual running of the backs, is for the most part, natural, and the coach has little influence in this area.  Carter isn't gettng the job done when it comes to the pass protection, pass catching, or recruiting.  

The backs ran pretty well I'm told, though Jones tried to get cute once or twice (he needs to be an all-business runner). 

The offensive line turned in a solid but unspectacular performance.  Let's evaluate them in a minute, however, as we see what the defense did...

After being embarrassed in last scrimmage, Mickey Andrews and co. came out fire up.  They were more intense than the offense today.  Further, Mickey called everything really aggressively. 

I am sick and tired of Andrews trying to win Spring Practice at the expense of developing his defense.  Today's scrimmage was a series of tackles for loss and big plays.  Sack, loss of 7 yards, pass for 35, tackle for -4, reverse for 50, etc.

The fact is that the game has passed Andrews by.  He isn't washed up, he's completely done.  He doesn't know what to do anymore, but is starting to realize that the book on him is out.  His responses to the modern offense are a a tragic comedy of sorts.

Let's follow this series

  • Defense comes out and plays with great intensity but is hyper aggressive.
  • The defense is still way too small, forcing guys to try to run around each and every block, as opposed to taking on the block, maintaining leverage, and shredding that block.  The lack of size on defense is the fault of the Defensive coaching staff, as they don't understand anything but stopping the pro-style offense by using 8 men in the box.  
  • Defense does not follow their assignments, because they are poorly coached and assignment football is not COACHED to them, but is merely told to them.  There is a difference, and we see it at schools like Alabama, Florida, Iowa, and USC.  We tell our kids assignment football, but we don't reinforce that.
  • The defense initially succeeds (first 8 plays went for -7 yards, a sack, and a hold), as the offense did not expect them to send the house on every play, the running backs didn't pick up the blitz, and the wideouts did not successfully break their routes off (hot routes). 
  • Fisher, annoyed with Andrews immature attitude towards spring practice and not wanting his offense to look poor in reports, abandons developing the offense, and instead calls play after play designed to gash a defense that is out of control aggressive.  
  • Some of the plays get stopped for a loss, but others (predictably) crush the defense as they over pursue, overrun the play, do not take on blockers, and are punished for their over aggressiveness.  
  • FSU loses as a team.  The offense doesn't get meaningful reps because the defense is playing out of control, and the defense doesn't get meaningful reps because the offense is running misdirection play after misdirection play, specifically wide receiver runs,

So, the offensive line had a decent day overall, against a very um "unique" look.

If we had a real coach, this would not happen.  Bobby Bowden is worthless as a football coach right now.  Not only are we stretched incredibly thin because he doesn't do anything (including not coaching a position, as head coaches do), but there is no leadership.  A real head coach would demand that the defense play in a semi-realistic fashion so that they could get meaningful experience and so that the offense could get meaningful snaps as well.

For some great posts on the "leadership" (lack of) on this squad, see here, and here.

A real head coach would not hire his friend (Chuck Amato) and allow that friend, as a linebackers coach to disrupt the unity of the coaching staff.  Instead, we have a coach who hired someone not for his coaching ability, but because he didn't want to feel further alienated from his own staff.  A real head coach would evaluate his defensive staff and fire every single one of them.

We suffer from a lack of attention to detail because we don't have anything at the top.  Bowden is giving us zero.  How can we expect players to focus on the details when the head coach can't even grasp the big things, much less the small things?    We can't expect the new coaches to do their job and do the job of the others as well.

This team is not making the progress they need to.  Those who expect this team to win 10 games or the ACC, in 2009 might be in for a huge surprise. 

A frustrated, Go Noles!

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