It was not a surprise. In fact, it's exactly what we called for in the preview, and what anyone would have called for had they taken the time to watch USF. Here's what we wrote:
-Stop the run so play-action passes are not a factor.
-Deny the deep ball at the expense of allowing short and intermediate throws. Then, tackle the short stuff.
-Keep Daniels in the pocket. Maintain rush-lane integrity and be in control. Sacks are not the goal. Keeping him in the pocket is.
But this week brings a new challenge for Florida State. N.C. State has a very good QB in Mike Glennon. He is the prototypical pocket passer, and not very mobile. Further, he doesn't throw very well on the run. Further, N.C. State's receivers are not anything special. They are usually in the right places, however. And that's all very different from what we saw from USF's offense. Glennon is accurate where Daniels is not. N.C. State's receivers aren't playing street ball like USF's.
And so a different gameplan is required.
This week, look for Florida State's defensive backs to challenge N.C. State's receivers at the line of scrimmage. They'll Make State's receivers prove that they can get off press coverage, handle physical play, not be re-routed and get separation.
Florida State pretty clearly wants to do this anyhow, I think, and tried for a quarter against USF before flipping to more conservative zone and putting the clamps on.
And the Wolfpack receivers will probably have to prove all of this while their quarterback is on the run.
That's because N.C. State might be without its starting left tackle, right tackle and its top guard.
If they're out, three missing line starters could be a major issue against Florida State's pass rush. And not only the rush by the front four, which has a very good chance of getting pressure on its own, but also against the blitz if the front four doesn't. Turning to the blitz isn't a terrible idea if the front doesn't get pressure given the inexperience that would be in for NCSU is they are indeed missing three offensive line starters.
I think FSU will look a lot at what UConn did to the Wolfpack, employing a very aggressive strategy under DC Dom Brown, formerly of Maryland. FSU should be able to use bits of pieces of that, only with better players.
We will have much more in the preview Friday, but this was enough for an article and I threw it up for you to enjoy on a fine 5-0 Monday.
Also, make sure to check out our first look at N.C. State's attack from Saturday.