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Offensive Grades for September

Well as a Mets fan, that sucks about Pedro...

However, the show must go on for FSU and while we enjoy a much-needed bye week it's time for the September offensive grades. Rather than grade the team day-by-day I like to grade them month-by-month for signs of legitimate strengths or weaknesses.

First up the games.

Miami (W, 13-10): Obviously any win over Miami is a good one, but the bottom line is this team had a lot more holes on defense than anyone thought so the gameplan was very vanilla and only opened up on two drives in the second half. It's hard to be too excited about this victory when Louisville's second and third-team backfield run over Miami like they didn't exist. And Miami was up for that game too. Grade: B-

Troy (W, 24-17): On one hand this was almost a disaster and one of the biggest upsets in the last 50 years. Luckily the passing game and more notably Drew Weatherford warmed up in time. This was also the first game where fans realized that the running game was awful and the defense was as good as the Miami game made them seem. Grade: D+

Clemson (L, 27-20): Well offensively this game was a disaster albeit a balanced one as FSU gained 102 yards rushing and a 102 yards passing in a loss to a team that gave up 34 points to Boston College the week before. On the good side the running game finally shows signs of life as Lorenzo Booker stopped dancing long enough to run up the field. Grade: D

Rice (W, 55-7): A much-needed offensive explosion that will allow all the positions to be graded higher, call it the Rice curve. Nonetheless both running backs showed what they are capable of with both running over 100 yards on a small amount of carries. The passing game continued to take a backseat but the receivers left around 75-100 yards on the field in drops. Grade: B+

Now for the fun part, the positions.

Quarterback: This has been a tough position to grade because Drew Weatherford has done a lot of things right. He's obviously making an effort to protect the ball better (two interceptions through four games), but in the process he's all but eliminated his ability to go downfield. Even against Rice his drives were a collection of big runs and short passes. Part of Clemson's success against FSU was leaving 9-10 guys an 8-yard area and collapse on the short game. I think Weatherford is actually being a little too celebral with his decisions making. And this is on him because the plays are there if he can make the passes. When Bobby Bowden says he thinks the passing game is too conservative, that's scary. Grade: C

Running Backs: First two games they were downright embarassing but the Rice curve comes into affect so the grade is a little higher then they deserve. Lorenzo Booker would be better suited splitting his time between the slot and the backfield with Antone Smith and Jamaal Edwards getting a few more carries, especially if Edwards ever gets healthy. The fullback position has been very good behind some tough running from Joe Surratt. Marcus Sims and Matt Dunham will be much better in the next few years. Grade: C-

Wide Receivers: No Rice curve here. All the receivers have been plagued by horrible drops and Richard Goodman lost a chance for a good bit of playing time due to his drop against Rice. Chris Davis has been a disaster since the Miami game, he needs to get himself right. De'Cody Fagg is the best receiver on the roster and Greg Carr still needs to prove he can show up in the big games. I'd like to see freshmen Damon McDaniel and Preston Parker get more time. Also the staff should give Joslin Shaw a look. Grade: D

Tight Ends: Now this position has been a nice surprise especially when you have three freshmen manning the position. Caz Piurowski was initially named the starter but that lasted about 10 minutes as Brandon Warren has basically decided the position will be his until further notice. Charlie Graham is getting healthier and will make a difference on the blocking. If anything I want the coaches to call Warren's number a lot more. Grade: A-

Offensive Line: I can't complain about these guys. The pass blocking has been good enough and the run blocking is fine if the running backs quit dancing so much. It appears that many aspects of the zone blocking have been put on the shelf so the big guys can go back to traditionally man-on-man blocking, which fits this unit better. Mario Henderson and John Frady have been stellar while everyone else has been adequate. Can't complain Grade: B-

Offensive Coaching: I know there's a major struggle for power between Bobby and Jeff Bowden. We saw a lot of what Jeff would like to try on Saturday, some of it worked, some of it didn't, but he wants to open the offense up as a whole. As for the rest of the coaches -- I think this might be Billy Sexton's last year. What does he do? He looks like he'd rather be reading books on accounting than coaching a football game. And Mark McHale...hmmm, well I'm frustrated that he's so set him his (poor) zone blocking scheme that the players basically decided amongst themselves to scrap the zone and start blocking straight up. Good for them. Ron Dugans has won praise for his work as a GA, but the receivers have not performed for him. As long as the head coach and offensive coordinator aren't completely in sync, it's not going to be a good offense unless the athletes on the field make it a good offense by sheer will. They haven't yet. Grade: D

Overall Grade: C-, at best they could be a 'C', but it's all based on the Rice curve, without it this offense just hasn't done much. N.C. State could be a golden opportunity to turn things around.