Florida State Run Game Notes after Jax State

I don't think you can take much away from a performance like the one the 'Noles had Saturday evening, for all the reasons we've detailed all week (scroll down to see our discussion of no motivation, rest, preparation, etc).  But a lot of people asked about the running game, so I watched all of FSU's run plays.  

There will be no clips or photos this week.  You can watch the video right here.  The running plays are all in order, so it's easier for you to follow along.  This way also shows progression (as opposed to grouping them by play type.)  I have some conclusions at the end.

1-10 Outside Zone Right , Loss of 2. The Play is Outside Zone, but Caz Piurowski apparently forgot as to which side FSU was running, and blocked the wrong guy. His assigned guy made the tackle.

1-10 Inside Zone Right, Two Tight Ends Even, Twins WR right. Tye Jones runs this for 18. He should have had only 4 but broke a really poor tackle. Ponder should have checked to a pass here against the 8.5 man front. Beau Reliford is a walking holding penalty. No effort into blocking.

1-10 Outside Zone to Chris Thompson from Gun w/ 2 backs. Spurlock slips and is too aggressive, missing his block. Hudson slips and misses his block (he looks to be more hurt with the foot injury than we first thought). Thompson doesn't make his cut but still gets two yards. Lack of attention to detail.

2-8 Bert Reed End Around No Gain. Tight formation, run Reed to the wide side off inside zone action, played really well by their OLB, Bert can't cut back.

1-G (from 7). Inside zone left from 2TE (Even) set w/ Twin WR. TD Thomas Jones 7 yards. Jones hits the tight cutback and it's the correct read. Spurlock and McMahon with great blocks, J-State badly over-pursued. Jones with good toughness.)

1-10 Outside? Zone. Tye Jones loses 2 yards. Indecisive, not much hole, but Jones has to just hit it up in the hole here. Loss of 2 yards. Spurlock is iffy here, but Sanders doesn't block anyone. No fire from the Oline.

1-16 Inside Zone Right Tye Jones for 9 Jones decisively makes his read and cuts backside left. Reliford doesn't block worth a damn. Datko-Hudson are late to come off their combo. Play was run from the Even 2TE, Twins WR set.

2-7 offset I strong, Twins Weak, Givens (slot) end around for 15. As much as we bag on Jbarris Little, he had a good blocking effort here, as did Caz Piurowski

1-10, 2TE (even), Twin WR, Inside Zone right, Chris Thompson loss of 3 Again, FSU wants to get away from running I-formation. They really want to run their stuff from a 2TE set. But Reliford just gives no effort on this block and his man eliminates Thompson's ability for the cutback. In fact, it's tough to judge Thompson here because Reliford's man was on top of him so quickly.

3-24, frustrated after giving up a huge sack and a throwaway ruled a lateral out of bounds, FSU's offense decided to run out the of the I-formation on 3rd and 24. That play is lead draw (think 90's Cowboys), and Thompson gets 10, but could have had 50 if he cuts left a few yards past the LOS.

1-10, Twins I-Formation, Bert Reed quick motion end around (straight motion, not orbit), for about 4.

1-10 Tye Jones Inside Zone Read for 3 Jones dis nowhere near the gun runner Jermaine Thomas is, but he does get 3. if he waited for Rodney Hudson to make his block, he might have had 10.

2-2 Twin TE I Formation, Toss right to Thompson, Gard (fulback) and Spurlock both miss their blocks, tackle for loss of 2 yards. Spurlock must play smarter, but the aggressiveness is there.

4-1 Twin TE I-Fomration, Outside Zone left, no gain. I like the call, but Rodney Hudson actually missed a block here, seriously.

1-10 4WR Gun, End Around to Bert Reed for 3 yard loss. Bert is the outside man in the formation, to the short side. Zebrie Sanders' man reads this really well and beats Zebrie to the edge, but Tye Jones also needs to get a chip there. Don't let pass up an obvious defender. While Bert doesn't always run these well, this was on Sanders/Jones and not on Reed.

2-10 Lead/Sprint Draw from I-formation Twins WR, Jones for 3 Tye doesn't run this very well and doesn't seem comfortable doing it.

1-10, Twin TE, I-Formation Thomas inside zone right, cuts back left, 5 yard gain. Strange play, not really sure what FSU was trying to run, but Thomas hit the cutback hole well.

2-5 Twins WR I, Thomas outside zone to tight end side (short side of field), 3 yards. J-State just played this really well. FSU needed to check to a pass here, with 8 maybe 9 in the box.

2-2, Chris Thompson outside zone for 1, fumble. This is the play everyone is complaining about, but Jimbo said Ty Jones was banged up, and Thomas had just had back to back carries, so he put Thompson in. Spurlock didn't make a good block here, falling down, but Thompson probably could have hit the huge cutback lane and had 5-6 yards.

 

Conclusions.  

Reliford and Jabarris Little must block better.  It is really obvious that FSU wants to run from multiple tight end formations without a fullback.  Fisher doesn't want to use marginal walk-on fullback Daniel Gard.  But right now, Gard is a better option than Reliford or Little because those two do not care about blocking.  Reliford shows almost no effort and looked really bad Saturday.  It was probably one of the worst blocking efforts I've ever seen from a player over the course of an entire game.  Little has an aversion to contact.  The technique stuff won't improve overnight, but hopefully the effort will.  In the meantime, expect more 3-wide sets.

Further, this game showed that FSU's offensive line is not immune from a week of poor preparation.  If you're willing to throw the rest of the performance into the "hangover effect off huge loss, rain, only 2 days of (poor) practice, and lookahead to BYU" category, then the OLine must be there as well.  They are also football players.  

Where is the gun run?  Last year, FSU was an excellent gun-run team, because teams had to respect the thread of the QB run.  This year, I haven't seen it as much.  It needs to come back.  It's the difference between a good and great offense.  Maybe this has more to do with Jermaine Thomas' injury.  I don't want to believe that Fisher wants to get away from this, as has been suggested by a few readers.  QB mobility is king in college, and FSU is putting themselves at a numerical disadvantage by not running from the gun.  Expect more of that soon as long as Thomas is healthy.

Tye Jones is a good back, and runs the inside zone very well.  He doesn't look great from the gun though and I don't love him on the draw plays.

And finally, speaking of health, I think Rodney Hudson's foot injury is worse than initially thought.  He isn't dominating, just merely playing well.   

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