Tomahawk Notes 09.16.10

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Seminoles Striving For Consistency

"It's hard," said Fisher. "That's a very hard film (BYU vs. Air Force) for us to evaluate and simulate because we are two different styles of teams. You can evaluate personnel and watch guys play and move and all that kind of stuff. You have got Washington (film from BYU's first game) and film they did last year, our films from last year and different films from all throughout last year and summer scouting reports on them."


Though Fisher and his staff are losing sleep in preparation for BYU, the first-year Seminole head coach is more concerned with preparing his team and his players to play their third game of the season.

When asked about practicing the fundamentals, Fisher said those are the kind of drills his team practices each and every day.

"You do (go back to fundamentals) all of the time," said Fisher. "The first part of your practices - the individual parts - are always fundamentals. You have to go back to that. When adversity strikes or things don't go your way in a game go back to your fundamentals. What did coach say?  How did he say to do it?  Trust to do it that way." Fisher than thought back to last year's 54-28 victory by the Seminoles over Brigham Young. "You approach the things you did well. That game for us was like the Oklahoma game last week. You have days when things go right and go well - it happens like that as far as on offense. We will learn from that (the game against Oklahoma). That's one of the films that you study and I'm sure they are studying it, too. Through all of the film study by Fisher and his staff this week, he sees the upcoming game as a more important one to the process of building his team than last week's loss at Oklahoma. "It's about how you come back and compete in a game; how you play in a game. It's an important game - it's the next game. When you are in this business as long as I have been you see some crazy things. These situations are going to happen in football; every team, every year and every situation. It always is going to happen until you can establish the program. There is still to be done here. We still have to establish how to win consistently." Fisher would certainly love to see that consistency begin this Saturday at home against Brigham Young.

When Florida State sophomore kicker Dustin Hopkins puts his best foot forward - which he has done perfectly to this point in the 2010 season - he has few peers in the country. Hopkins, who led the Seminoles with 97 points as a freshman, is on the way to duplicating that feat with 16 points through two games.

The Houston, Texas native has converted all 10 of his point-after attempts and is 2-for-2 on field goal tries, including a personal best-tying 52-yarder in last week's loss at Oklahoma. Perhaps more importantly, given FSU's young and still developing defense, Hopkins has been a valuable weapon in the field position game. Of his 13 kickoffs this season, nine have gone for touchbacks. That's a staggering rate (.692) when it comes to leaving opposing offenses staring at a long field.  

Hopkins, who FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said was probably the finest athlete among kickers he's been around, isn't completely surprised by his kickoff prowess. "I'm not sure surprising is the word," Hopkins said. "Just like everybody else (on the team), if a linebacker lives in the weight room and is watching film, he expects to do well. I expect myself to do well. Sure, it has been a pleasant event with kickoffs going through the end zone."

After finishing fourth nationally with 24 touchbacks last season, Hopkins is currently ranked second to Oklahoma State's Quinn Sharp, who has knocked 14 of 18 into the end zone. Sharp led the nation with 35 touchbacks last season, a pace both he and Hopkins are ahead of at this juncture. Hopkins' career has been on the upswing since last season's game at BYU, when he drilled seven kickoffs for touchbacks and began his current active streak of 43 consecutive point-after conversions. A year later, he's stronger and better suited to handle the responsibilities that come with his job. The ease with which he converted his 52-yard field goal at Oklahoma is a pretty good barometer. "Sometimes your best hits are when you're just trying to take it easy and smooth it through," Hopkins said. "I was feeling good in pre-game. I was seeing it well and hitting it well. Shawn (Powell) put it right there. Dex (Dallenbach) snapped it right there. I just tried to (be) smooth and it went."

Ira on with Jeff Cameron
OU Discussion. 24 minutes of good stuff.

Many more links inside.

ASAP Sports - ACC Teleconference- Coach Fisher - September 15
THE MODERATOR: We now welcome Florida State head football coach Jimbo Fisher. With that, we'll ask for a brief opening statement and go to questions. Coach.

COACH FISHER: Hello. Yes, we have rebounded I think pretty well this week in practice. Oklahoma played a great game against us. We're looking forward to playing BYU. I think things went well this week. We're relatively healthy. Our attitude seems to be very good. Looking forward to this upcoming game and challenge against BYU.  

Q. In terms of fixing problems that were exposed in the Oklahoma game, is this team of yours a lot farther behind than you thought they would be or were you not too surprised by what you saw against Oklahoma? COACH FISHER: No, I thought we would play better in the football game, I really did. I think it was an accumulation of the speed of their no-huddle offense, which they did a great job of in the atmosphere. And they got so hot so early. Like I said, it kept pressure. They did a great job. We moved the ball, scored the first drive. We had a big return down the 30, got a penalty. Then we had another 11-play drive the very next drive, got down to their 40. Got a motion penalty and got set behind. Missed the third down. It was 21-7. Got it back and it was 27-7. I think that kind of snowballed from there. I think it was a good test to see where we were at. I was anxious to see where we were at. I don't think you get a clear vision, in my opinion, especially on defense. But I think they got hot and the no-huddle offense had a lot to do with it, the speed with which they ran it with. They did a great job.

Q. What do you think you need to do better? COACH FISHER: I think we have to learn to tackle better in space, get a bigger sense of urgency. Maybe on defense getting lined up against those no-huddle teams that do that. I think up front we were actually decent on the frontline. Did a pretty good job. We got to tackle better in space, and offensively have to understand that when teams get hot like that, you got to match things. You miss a read, can't have a penalty or dropped ball. We got to convert on third down just a little bit better.

Q. I know in your opening statement you talked briefly about the attitude, positive attitude, of the players going into practice this week. I know that Bob sent out a press release that spoke to that matter. Can you tell us specifically what are you seeing from the players in terms of getting back to practice and preparing for this BYU game and not getting down after that loss? COACH FISHER: Well, we told them two things. One, we've been very analytical with them. This is why this happened, this is why this happened, and show them the mistakes. We didn't rant and rave, we didn't go crazy. They understand that we're going to be with them no matter what. We didn't play as well. We told them we're going to coach a little better, you're going to play a little better. It's one game. Everybody says, Well, it's just one game. I don't believe in that. I said we need to learn from it. There's a learning experience there. Being on the road, being in a hostile environment, being against a really good football team. We have to not make the same mistakes we did, like I said, tackle better in space. Important third down conversions. Really pass protect when we have to when it's third-and-long, but then show them why they made mistakes, how they can have success in the future. We have to move on. Like we tell a player, don't let one bad play become two, don't let one team beat you twice. So that is what we have to do. We're going to have a great challenge because BYU is a very good football team.

Q. The secondary, it's been a problem here for the last several years. You got a slow start this year. Do you think you have that type of athlete at safety and cornerback? COACH FISHER: I don't mean to say you're Deion Sanders or Terrell Buckley. I still think we have some very talented guys back there. They're young. I think it's a matter of just getting confidence, getting plays. Like I said the other day, I think things snowballed on them a little bit. I do think there's talented players back there, I really do. Whether it's going to be a Deion Sanders or Buckley... They could develop into some great players, too, at the same time. I don't mean to cut them short. Those two are two of the greatest that ever played in any school. But we got some talented guys back there. I still believe that, I really do.

Q. It sounds like you may be facing two quarterbacks on Saturday. Can you talk about preparing for that type of situation. COACH FISHER: Well, I think you have to defensively be careful when you prepare for two, you say, He does this, he does this. If they ever cross you up at all, you still have to be sound on all facets of your game. But you do have some, as I say, it takes time because you have to understand the quarterback runs, those things, understand how to fit. If they get an extra blocker, when they do those kind of things, we do them, too, so we understand how to do that. I think it's a time-consuming thing that you have to make sure you dot all your I's, cross all your T's, and you don't get too one-sided when each guy gets in the game. You have to be sound all across the board.

Q. Coach, last year when you went out to BYU, you were coming off not the best of overall performances, probably played one of the best overall games of the season, maybe several seasons. COACH FISHER: Yes.

Q. Do you bring that up at all, a similar kind of situation? COACH FISHER: I don't know if you can compare situations. But as far as overcoming adversity and dealing with that, you tell kids, and they have done it before. You like to pull back history. Not that you played so well against BYU, but whoever you would have played against, that you overcame a game that you didn't play as well the week before, then come back and played very well the next week. They have done it themselves. It is a good reference as far as that goes. You have to remind them. It's a mindset, the way you do things, and you got to move on.

Q. Coach, last year Christian Ponder had a great game against BYU. One of his weapons was when he left the pocket and ran. Was there something that you saw with the BYU defense or was it just his natural ability to see gaps? COACH FISHER: I think that was it. I think his instincts in the game. They did such a great job in coverage, they do rush it, get up the field. They created some seams and separation between the front guys and secondary. Christian had a naturally instinctive ability to fill pocket pressure and step up and scramble. He's not afraid to use his legs. When you really watch that film, that was a lot of it. There was a lot of him being instinctive. There was a couple that were called but really not many. It was more him being instinctive and just being a football player, reacting to the situations that were at hand.

Q. Do you feel that's going to be something he'll be able to use again this year? COACH FISHER: I think he has. He'll always do it. He made a couple nice runs in the Oklahoma game. First drive, he scrambled around a couple times, made a couple nice plays. I think it's something in his game. I think it's something you can't count on as a coach because those are yards that, as I call them, they're Christmas gifts, you know what I mean? They're there because something happens. You can't count on those. But he does intuitively seem to get a couple of those in a game. 

Gainesville Sun Recruiting Writer Taking Notice Of FSU's Recruiting Efforts
I will say Florida State has done a great job this year of getting some top prospects from the state. I’m not as impressed with Miami’s class, but FSU is going toe-to-toe with UF with most of the top players in the state. Jimbo Fisher has really stepped up the recruiting efforts since taking over.

Ohio State v. Miami: Offensive Review - Along The Olentangy
Miami came out with an uncomplicated, but effective scheme to face the Ohio State offense. Like Oregon in the Rose Bowl, Miami determined that its first task was to stop the OSU inside running game. Miami's vehicle to do so was the 4-3 stack (or '4-3 Miami'). In the 4-3 stack, the linebackers all slide over a gap to the strongside, playing between the defensive linemen to get more men in between the tackles (see below). Miami then generally brought its safety up to the formation's strength, leaving only one safety deep. From this Miami played 'cover 3.' This was not your traditional cover-3, however. Instead, the CBs immediately bailed with the Wide Receivers and played essentially man coverage with a deep safety. The four underneath defenders took short drops with their eyes in the backfield at all times. They would then 'pattern match' if an offender came through their zone. (See above video). Miami's objective was to crowd the box to handle the inside run game, but stay in zone with their underneath defenders to keep eyes on Pryor in case he scrambled. Miami then trusted their back 3 to be good enough to handle the OSU passing game. This is essentially Nick Saban's style of defense and is a solid plan against this Ohio State offense. One more thing Miami did was have their linebackers flow hard downhill at the first sign of run. They were not blitzing, per se, but rather attacking gaps when they saw run action. Miami would then turn to a 4-2-5 over nickel in passing situations. For the most part Miami played straight up--there was little blitzing and Miami's goal was to play sound, assignment football. The exception, however, was on third down, particularly in the Red Zone. Here, Miami featured a lot of defensive line twists, with a delayed ILB blitz, particularly to OSU's left side. This latter combination was something OSU had difficulty with all day, as Boren and Adams would repeatedly get caught on the inital stunt, missing the twisting end or linebacker behind them. The latter was one of the primary reasons OSU had drives stall in the red zone. This combination did an effective job managing the OSU run and pass game--though OSU, to their credit, moved the football. I was very impressed with Miami in reviewing the film.  They are very talented on defense (far more than Oregon was) and a certain top-10 team.  Oftentimes holes were there that Miami's linebackers quickly filled.

Scout’s notebook: Defense | National Football Post
Miami’s Allen Bailey. Bailey is the most explosive athlete of the bunch. He exhibits an impressive initial first step off the football, coils up well into his stance and has a nice combination of power and explosion to his game. He did a much better job this week vs. Ohio State anchoring at the point of attack when run at and when asked to stack a pulling guard. Now, he still will take himself out of some plays at times, but for the most part I thought he did a much better job playing the run compared to last season. However, as a pass rusher I do have some concerns. He isn’t the most aware of defenders and is rarely the first lineman moving off the snap. And although he possesses a good first step when asked to get into defenders or shoot the C gap inside, he lacks ideal body control into contact, tends to lose balance and isn’t nearly as comfortable slipping blocks on contact and using his hands to disengage. He does possess some bull rush ability, but overall he’s still pretty raw as a pass rusher at this stage and might be better suited kicked inside to tackle on third downs where he can use his burst to one-gap and get up the field.

Scout’s notebook: Miami's Franklin Struggling With Move From Guard To Left Tackle
Coming into the year I wasn’t sure if Miami wideout Leonard Hankerson possessed the short-area quickness to consistently separate out of his breaks at the next level and routinely beat press coverage. However, after watching him cleanly/consistently slip bump coverage on Saturday, use his big frame and body control to gain a step and then extend his massive wingspan to go up and make a play, he has changed my point of view. Again, as I said this summer, he’s not quite sudden or explosive enough as a route runner to ever generate a ton of separation on sharply breaking routes at the next level. But he can be physical/smooth off the line, is a powerful strider down the field and could mature into a solid number two-type threat with some time. I wasn’t impressed with Miami left tackle Orlando Franklin. Franklin made the move from guard this year and simply doesn’t have the type of range or awareness to consistently get off the snap on time and reach speed to the corner. He was routinely beat off the snap by Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward — who isn’t going to threaten the corner vs. anyone in the NFL — and doesn’t play with the type of bend or leverage to hold up inside at guard. I think the only place the guy can play in the NFL is at right tackle, and even then I am starting to think he’s more of a swing/reserve type option.

Miami, UF, and FSU All Experiencing Receiver Troubles
Speaking on his radio show Tuesday night, Randy Shannon said there were mitigating factors such as "tipped balls and routes not run the right way" that played a big part in how Harris way viewed afterward.  Not only that, but, according to Shannon, his receivers did him no favors either. "When you evaluate tape you always have to make sure everyone is on the same page," Shannon said according to the Miami Herald. "Looking at that, we had nine drops -- tight ends, running backs and receivers. And Jacory was [22] of 39, and if you add nine more catches which should have been catches, now he has [31] of 39, which would have been a tremendous day for him."

Grading The Wake Game - Blogger So Dear
Wide Receivers A+ What other grade could I give? Our receivers combined for a total of 13 catches for 270 yards and 4 touchdowns. Chris Givens was a star in his first game back, after serving his one game suspensions against Presbyterian. Along with Price and Harris, Givens will complete a great triple threat for years to come.  Marshall Williams, only caught 2 balls, but he had 2 touchdowns. Those were in addition to his 81 yard strike to the aforementioned Chris Givens. Danny Demby, also contributed by making his first career touchdown reception as a Demon Deacon. I believe that the wide receivers have the most talent of any unit on this team and that they will continue to impress for the remainder of the season.

Secondary D- The only thing saving this unit from receiving an F is the fact that they intercepted 3 passes. Josh Bush repeatedly got burned in the first half, and thankfully Grobe made the executive decision to put A.J. Marshall on the field in the second half. For the most part, Kenny Okoro played great, including a potential game winning interception. However, he nearly cost the team the game with his abysmal coverage on Duke's last offensive possession. Alex Frye played very well, and I believe that he will continue to make plays all year. Our secondary is very young, and I look for them to get better throughout the year. It doesn't help that the defensive line doesn't apply pressure, but the secondary still needs to perform better. Given their youth, I expect them to get better throughout the year, but they will face a very daunting task this week.

BYU linebacker questionable | The Salt Lake Tribune
Perhaps the biggest news to come out of practice was that starting inside linebacker Brandon Ogletree suffered an MCL sprain against Air Force and is questionable for the FSU game. Mendenhall said if Ogletree can't go, it will be a close call between Aveni Leung-Wai and Austen Jorgensen to be his replacement at buck linebacker. "Aveni Leung-Wai is really kind of making a push. We didn't play him last week versus Air Force as he was struggling with assignments, maybe moreso than others. But [FSU] is more of a conventional offense, and he had a pretty good grasp when he started against Washington, and so it will be either he or Austen Jorgensen. And I would probably lean, as of today, to Aveni."  Sources say Robert Quinn is acting like a guy who will be suspended for the year.  This is the best defensive line prospect in the country and a major deal.  

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