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Déjà vu: Florida State's offense shreds the defense again

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Despite some bad weather, FSU did scrimmage yesterday.  If you ask Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews, however, he'd probably tell you that he wishes it would have kept raining. 

18 plays: 245 yards.  That's what the first team offense put on the first team defense during Wednesday's half scrimmage.  Extrapolated over an entire game's worth of snaps, that's almost 900 yards (890.1).

Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fisher's crew took it to Andrew's boys again Wednesday, running mostly shotgun and one-back formations.  This is the second consecutive scrimmage in which the offense has dismantled the defense.  On Monday, the offense ran a lot of spread formations (which our defense can't handle... charts inside as a reminder), for over 15 yards per play.  That followed a Saturday scrimmage in which the defense did have some success, albeit against pro formations (something the defense handles well).

If Jimbo is trying to show everyone that Andrews and his defensive staff have no clue against anything other than a pro style attack, he's doing one heck of a job.

Inside I discuss what happened and also take a look at some of Mickey's less than inspiring quotes.

You'll remember from our Size Matters Article (a must read) that Mickey Andrews defense is crippled by Non-Pro Style attacks, particularly those with mobile quarterbacks with spread or option elements. 

Total Off.



Opponent PPG Plays Yds Per Play No Net YPC TFL's Att Comp Yds TD Int Sacks Dropbacks/ Sacks QB Rating
Against Pro-Style 19 65 270 4.1 31 83 2.6 10 34 17 187 1.2 1.2 4.3 8.8 100
Against Non- Prostyle
28 60 385 6.4 39 235 6.0 7 20 11 151 1.5 0.5 0.8 28 138


From FSU Sports Information and (1st team stuff only):

FROM THE -1:  2 Plays, ~83 yards

  • The offense got off to a quick start in the shadow of their goal line. The first play went for nine yards as Christian Ponder connected with Jarmon Fortson. Jermaine Thomas then once again turned in a big run as he went 80+ yards.

FROM THE -35:  6 plays, ~81 yards

  • Kevin McNeil began the set with a four-yard sack.
  • Ponder hit Louis Givens for a short gain
  • then Ponder had a long run after being forced to scramble when McNeil chased him out of the pocket.
  • After re-setting the ball Korey Mangum had a tackle for loss on a pitch
  • Incomplete pass (drop)
  • The offense turned in another big play on the next snap though as Ponder went to Rod Owens for a 71-yard TD as the receiver leaped over the DB (Jenijie) to pull in the pass.

FROM THE 50:  3 plays, ~32 yards

  • Ponder flared a pass out to Thomas for 12 yards
  • Another first on a Ponder pass to Bert Reed who fumbled the ball and Moses McCray fell on it.
  • On third-and-six Ponder found Owens for seven yards and a first down.

FROM THE +20:  4 plays, 41 yards

  • Nigel Carr brought down Ponder behind the line on a broken play that turned into a run
  •  Markus White got in Ponder’s face and forced a quick throw that almost resulted in an interception.
  • On 3rd-and-6 from the 26 Ponder got the ones back into the endzone when he hit Louis Givens in the front of the endzone for six.
  • On the next play the ball was put back on the 20 and Marcus Sims went 20 yards up the middle for another TD.  (Untouched)

FROM THE +12:  3 plays, 8 yards

  • The defense did not allow the offense to get in from the 12 as they sent the ones out in three plays after they started with an eight yard completion from Ponder to Thomas.
  • Thomas was stuck by Maurice Harris and then 
  • Jamie Robinson tackled Reed for no gain.



  • The 1st team offense ran 18 plays for 245 yards!  That is the 2nd consecutive scrimmage that Mickey Andrews defense has been absolutely thumped.  14 yards per play??

  • The above numbers don't count Goal-Line, since obviously the maximum yards possible is three or less.  
  • I spoke with some folks and they said that Ponder was sensational, driving the ball downfield and showing good touch.  By my count, Ponder was 6-9 for 105(ish) yards and 1 TD, no interceptions.  Depending on who you talk to, he was the victim of either 2 or 3 drops.  One of the drops was by Commack after Commack made a great double move on a deap ball and Ponder put the ball on the money.  I have to say that I am encouraged by Ponder's accuracy to date.  The ball to Rod Owens (70+ yard TD) was a deep go as well.
  • The backs finally decided to block and the protection was much better.  This included fullback Sedrick Holloway, who has put in the effort and lost some weight.  (long time readers will remember that he was pretty beefy before spring ball).  
  • Jermaine Thomas got almost all of the first team snaps today.
  • Much like Clemson did in 2006 and 2007, Jimbo made Andrew's defense look undisciplined, uneducated, and poorly coached by using fake reverse action (with Reed and Givens, though it may have been Commack and not Givens... can't remember).  Predictably, the Seminoles defense was completely off balance.  They overpursued because they are not big enough to fight through blockers, and were pinned as the backs raced by them.
  • Kudos to Rod Owens.  We definitely need him with the loss of Parker and Easterling. 
  • As we discussed Monday, guard Will Furlong is likely off the team.  It's a good thing.  He didn't have a future here.  No official word yet, but Andrew Carter has more on a story that looks like it originated from our friend Jamey Givens at  He was not going to be a starter.  

QB Christian Ponder

On the vertical passing game:

"It was something we lacked a little bit last year. Things are starting to click and its opening up. It’s just gonna open up the shorter things. It’s something we need and something we’re definitely improving upon."


That's encouraging.  It's a dimension that must be there in 2009.  It should be open because of our powerful running attack.


On the progress they have made this spring:

"We’ve made a lot of progress. I think there’s still a few things we need to go over and fix but so far its pretty good. It’s been showing up a lot lately. Last scrimmage we had a couple of deep balls. The biggest thing for us right now is the O-Line is giving me ton of time so that has really opened things up. Receivers are learning the smaller details that open up the reads and make it easy to read. It’s definitely come along, a little more to improve but it’s definitely a lot further along then it was before."

It's nice to see Christian stand in the Pocket and deliver.  The point he makes about the OLine is huge.  The wideouts comment is also important, as Fisher isn't babying these kids apparently. 


Mickey Andrews is refusing to shoulder any blame and is acting like Jeff Bowden.

As Jimbo repeatedly makes Andrews look foolish, Mickey is getting more and more defensive while increasingly blaming his players.  Good coaches don't do this.  They shoulder the blame themselves.  They don't take it out on the media.

Andrew Carter and Steve Ellis caught up with Mickey... and his answers were disheartening.

We have too many people that won't win their gap. … We ain't learned to fight hard enough on defense yet."

I am so sick and tired of Andrews excuses

Mickey's solution to every problem seems to be intensity.  In fact, Intensity might be the 'Noles problem-- too much of it, that is.

Some will make the excuse that the defense is missing starters.  I disagree with this as an excuse.  The only actual missing starter is Dekoda Watson.  Budd Thacker is terrible at defensive tackle and it's laughable that our coaches cite him as a starter in an effort to deflect blame from themselves. 

Instead of intensity, the defense needs some coaches who have had a new idea in the last 10 years. The players have no idea what to do out on the field.  Maybe they will employ some intelsly confused looks?

On second thought, maybe the 'Noles defense does need intensity... from its coaches.  Did Mickey and Chuck visit other schools this offseason to share (and take home) ideas about defending something other than a pro-style attack?  I didn't think so.  Where is the commitment from Andrews, Amato, and Allen?  If Andrews and Amato really cared, they would have been out visiting other schools and learning.  Instead, they have come full circle, from once despising Jeff Bowden's antics, to repeating them.

Andrews should have retired when his son died.  He hasn't been the same since.  Amato... well Chuck's been a clown since the day he came back to be Bowden's babysitter. 


The one positive for 'Nole fans in this defensive collapse is the knowledge that this program is going to skyrocket once it sheds itself of the three lazy coaches picking up checks. 


Tomorrow:  Could a bad defense in 2009 be good for the program? 

Actually, yes.  I'll have more on that tomorrow.  I'll leave it to you to speculate as to why in the comment section.