Florida State Finds Hidden Yards In Win Over Hurricanes

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 9: Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles is sure happy he has excellent special teams. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

When special teams coordinator Eddie Gran arrived at Florida State he addressed the concept of the importance of hidden yards.  Hidden yards are the yards that don't show up in the normal shortened box score.  But if you know where to look, they are quite easy to find.  

Hidden yards can best be captured by determining the average starting field position for each team.  Let's look at this chart:


Note that the chart excludes garbage time (when the opponent cannot possibly come back because it doesn't have enough remaining possessions to do so).  

If you look at the drive chart, you'll see that FSU started drives at its own 40 and Miami started drives at its own 19.  That's a 21-yard difference.  A 21-yard difference might not seem like much, but when you compound it by noting that Miami and FSU each had 11 drives, it makes for an enormous advantage of 233 yards in Florida State's favor.   Florida State started inside its own 20-yard line only three times, while Miami was pinned there or worse on eight of its 11 drives.

That performance is an enormous credit to kicker Dustin Hopkins, punter Shawn Powell, and returner Greg Reid.  

Inside we take a look at the drives

Let's start with Florida State's offense.  Please remember we exclude garbage time stuff here, so while Chris Thompson's run was amazing, it doesn't show here as the outcome was already completely certain.  

FSU's Offense v. Miami
Result Possible Gained Plays Per Play % Gained
Punt  80 7 3 2.3 9%
TOUCHDOWN  65 65 6 10.8 100%
Punt  75 36 6 6.0 48%
TOUCHDOWN  1 1 1 1.0 100%
TOUCHDOWN  68 68 6 11.3 100%
FIELD GOAL  45 25 9 2.8 56%
TOUCHDOWN  69 69 5 13.8 100%
Interception  81 44 6 7.3 54%
Punt  43 5 3 1.7 12%
Punt  80 7 3 2.3 9%
TOUCHDOWN  55 55 11 5.0 100%
Totals 662 382 59 6.5 58%

That is some seriously good offense.  Gaining 382 of a possible 662 yards (58%) is excellent.  Florida State had three "explosive" drives (over 10 yards/play).  And FSU went three-&-out only three times.  

FSU's Defense v. Miami
Result Possible Gained Plays Per Play % Gained
Missed FG  65 51 10 5.1 78%
Punt  69 1 3 0.3 1%
Punt  94 28 7 4.0 30%
Fumble  80 17 6 2.8 21%
Punt  80 -2 3 -0.7 -3%
TOUCHDOWN  80 80 13 6.2 100%
End of half  80 32 9 3.6 40%
TOUCHDOWN  69 69 6 11.5 100%
FIELD GOAL  98 80 10 8.0 82%
Punt  91 19 4 4.8 21%
Punt  89 2 3 0.7 2%
Totals 895 377 74 5.1 42%

FSU's defense did a good job against the Canes.  The plan we outlined in the preview worked better than almost anyone expected.  Thanks to the hidden yards, Miami had to go a lot longer distance than FSU did, and it showed as Miami could gain only 42% of potential yards.   The 'Canes were impatient.  In addition, the Canes only had 1 of 11 drives classified as explosive, while three of 11 were classified as "3-&-out."  

Coach Fisher said this was a great performance in all three areas, and after looking at the box I agree with that.  

FSU bested Miami by 28% per play and had twice as good field position (literally).  This was the Hurricanes' worst performance of the year by far.  

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