Florida State vs Savannah State: Goals & What To Watch For

Sept 1, 2012; EJ Manuel should see minimal work in this Saturday's game. Look for backups to get a lot of snaps. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE


Last week the Noles demolished Murray State behind a suffocating defense and a powerful run game. EJ was 16-22 for 188 yards and 2 TDs and was never close to being touched by the Racers. This week, FSU brings in another sacrificial lamb:

They don’t call them money games for nothing.

-Coach Steve Davenport

Can FSU learn anything about themselves during this game? Sure:

We have to compete against ourselves and play.

-Coach Jimbo Fisher

Follow the jump and find out what FSU fans should be looking for against the Tigers.

Editor's note: I tried to leave this area blank but the overlords at TN made me write something here

What They Did Last Week: Savannah State

Savannah State lost to Oklahoma State 84 to 0. Oklahoma State pulled its starters by the second quarter and was playing walk ons in the fourth quarter. Savannah State is not a good team as their 2-21 record from the last two seasons shows. They've had all sorts of problems both on and off the field (a coach left to run for president of the United States of America...he did not win) but are looking to change their luck. The games against OSU and FSU will equal 17.5% of Savannah State's athletic budget so while this Saturday looks to be bleak, hopefully the monetary windfall will help Savannah State become a better school in the future.

What They Did Last Week: Florida State

FSU beat Murray State to the tune of 69-3. FSU's defense did a wonderful job of recognizing the screen game with multiple tackles for a loss on both running back and wide receiver based screens. The offensive line got passing marks by keeping EJ upright and allowing running backs to run wild. James Wilder looked improved in his understanding of the offense and hit holes without dancing around. For more analysis check out the film review.

Defense

In the wake of the Brandon Jenkins' injury news, Jimbo Fisher has decided to play redshirt candidates Mario Edwards Jr. and Chris Casher. Casher only played around ten games at defensive end in high school, and while he looked good in camp, he has work to do. Mario Edwards Jr. is rumored to have weight and maturity issues. However, the need to replace the lost snaps outweighs the year the two true freshman might need for mental and physical development. In the likely blowout, look for each to get plenty of snaps.

While the position battle between Nick Waisome and Ronald Darby continues, most viewers won't find much in this game to sway their opinion of either. However, the amount of snaps each gets and where those snaps come from (first team, second team, etc) could reveal where the coaches have them on the depth chart.

Offense

Just like last week, it's all about knowing where to be and when to be there. FSU showed a good understanding of the offense with backs getting upfield fast and EJ moving through his options quickly. Fisher noted that the receivers need to work on their attention but to be fair, everybody does. Fisher held back on the offense against Murray State so expect to see the game plan. It is all about fundamentals here.

Special Teams

Cason Beatty had an adequate game against Murray State. He planted two kicks inside the 20 but his other kick(39 yards) left something to be desired. If he gets an opportunity punt from FSU territory, look to see if he can boom one.

Don't allow any kick returns. Again, FSU is not going to learn much about itself, so just let Hopkins boot the ball out of the endzone to reduce injury risk.

Rashad Green had great blocking for his first return and did an excellent job of reading them correctly but he needs to do a better job of fielding punts. He can not allow short punts to roll past him. Murray State did a decent job with rugby punts, but Greene needs to adjust quicker and get under the ball. Watch to see if he adjusts correctly from last week. If he does not, Tyler Hunter may get another opportunity earlier in the game.

Coaching

How long do the starters play? FSU will not learn much about itself because Savannah State is utterly outmatched. Fisher has said the play calling will be pretty basic:

We can’t worry about the opponent. We just have to execute the plays that are called, have emotion in the game, play with passion, do the things we’re coached to do. And that’s the issue.

I don't see how you keep the starters interested in this game but backups and third stringers are fighting for something. Get up big, get out early. Milk the clock in the third and fourth and hope for no more injuries.

Miscellaneous

Good job, you've made it past week 1. You've found your game watching venue of choice but that could all quickly change. Do you have a backup plan? Now's the time to test out that different waitress, venue, or beer of choice.

Not everybody is fortunate enough to go to the FSU games. However, many states have a Seminole club. Find yours so you can watch the games with other fans who don't cheer for the 'Noles to, "do a touchdown." Check here for a list of Seminole clubs both stateside and international.

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