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Chalk Chat: Florida State offense putting defenses in horizontal bind

Let us know your thoughts on this piece.

The following is a conversation from our managerial chat Tuesday night between several of our authors. Please forgive any grammatical mistakes, as many of these messages are being sent by people on their phones. You're joining us in the middle of a discussion about Georgia Tech. Several of us are finishing up the film review and swapping notes about the different quarters.

alanmundy [9:42 PM]  I just can't forget that drive in the championship game (2014 v. Georgia Tech) where Jimbo called inside zone 5 straight times right down the field and Cam Erving blocked the nose tackle off the field.

jpm [9:42 PM]  As bad as Hunter was, I'm not seeing Javien Elliott as being near physical enough and not that large an improvement in coverage so far in Q3

alanmundy [9:43 PM]  That move was more about exasperation with Hunter than Elliot being a guy they really want to play, imo.

ricobert1 [9:43 PM]  thats how i read it

budelliott [9:44 PM]  Javien Elliott is not the answer. He is 176 pounds.

jpm [9:44 PM]  Yeah, looks like a walk on.

alanmundy [9:51 PM]  Dalvo is becoming cutback happy. He's had huge success on cut back runs, but he's starting to cut back before the blocking has even developed on IZ now.

jpm [9:55 PM]  Did they do reverse off split zone action last week (v. Miami)? I don't remember off top of my head. Tried it but it failed in Q3 vs UL

jpm [10:12 PM]  21 is quickly becoming standard personnel. I like that - not a lot of ACC teams equipped to play a 2 back unit who can block well. UL losing some backers helped even more with that too

budelliott [10:12 PM]  It could be argued that Everett Golson has been lucky not to have fumbled on some of his scrambles, as the former point guard jukes out defenders in amazing but perhaps risky fashion. There's a good chance he'll lose a couple from getting hit during these escape acts, but he's been great at getting rid of the ball and not taking sacks, so this is acceptable risk.

davidvisser [10:16 PM]  He's been great at throwing it away in a year that so many QBs are taking needless sacks by seemingly forgetting how to do so. It's not a sexy play, but it can certainly make the difference between a drive ending in a punt or a touchdown.

jpm [10:16 PM]  It's really weird to see a Jimbo QB throwing it away. that is not something that he's taught well, for as good as he has been coaching QBs in his time.

jpm [10:17 PM]  Wonder how much the increased screens and short game stuff stems from switching to so much 21 personnel? - those dudes can run snag/curl flat/screens better than other personnel

jpm [10:19 PM] And all that stuff works well from the bunch/tight game, which also works well for the run game stuff we're emphasizing for Cook. Think Jimbo's found his groove with this group

alanmundy [10:28 PM] I think he's come to the conclusion that he has to scheme guys open for Golson rather than running his blind calls that are good against all coverages and depending on Everett to find the open man.

alanmundy [10:28 PM] Which is a huge adjustment for Jimbo, whether fans recognize it or not.

budelliott [10:29 PM]  That's this very pro-style offense being more "college" and it could maybe get this squad an extra win. Maybe an ACC title. Encouraging

alanmundy [10:31 PM] He's not even calling Houston anymore. Even EJ could read Houston.

kman [10:33 PM] When you have a 5-foot-10" QB, you expect batted balls to eventually make their way into serendipitous defenders' hands. Think we've also been a stitch lucky there...and unlucky on defense not to catch any ricochets yet.

jpm [10:34 PM] Yeah, haven't seen Houston in a while. Occasional deep switch

jpm [10:34 PM] Jimbo's calling plays more conscious of them being half field reads, which makes the way he has to call stuff totally different like you said, Alan

budelliott [10:35 PM]  think this is the contingency plan they worked on during the bye week aside from getting Maguire more reps

jpm [10:35 PM]  last play of Q3 was a deep switch, Golson did a good job getting it to Rudolph under pressure

alanmundy [10:36 PM]  He's also doing more series play calling. Base play, counter, counter off the counter, trick play off the counter.

alanmundy [10:36 PM]  Which is the stuff that people think of as brilliant play calling.

budelliott [10:36 PM]  This is the stuff that we wanted to see more of with EJ Manuel.

jpm [10:37 PM]  I don't think it's necessarily a major departure from how Jimbo's always been, though. Jimbo's always adjusted what he does to what the QB does

budelliott [10:37 PM]  I think this is more "college" of him.

alanmundy [10:38 PM]  I think defenses will adjust and there will be a course correction back towards base stuff at the end of the season, though.

jpm [10:38 PM]  agreed Alan

budelliott [10:38 PM]  in the meantime they can rep it in practice while this works in games

jpm [10:39 PM]  limited concepts now and i'm sure jimbo has plans devised for what they'll transition to as they see other teams recognize and play against that

alanmundy [10:39 PM]  Exactly. Won't be shocked to see another "passing scrimmage" vs. Cuse.

budelliott [10:39 PM]  I guarantee you that opponents are pissed to see Fisher not stick with what FSU was doing in the first four games.

jpm [10:39 PM]  They’re basically run snag, curl flat, slants, some shot plays and a handful of deep switches

budelliott [10:40 PM] and a shitton of screens

alanmundy [10:40 PM] Oh yeah. It's not just this year...he's off the reservation in terms of the way he's called games for the last 5 years. They have little film or tendencies on this stuff.

davidvisser [10:40 PM] Effective humility, perhaps, from a coach who hadn't previously struck me as particularly humble..

jpm [10:41 PM] Not quite analogous, but this game feels like the 2012 BC game - sort of a demarcation point where you can see where Fisher found his groove with building a run game from gun

jpm [10:41 PM] this game being UM/UL games - just that he's found what he likes and what works

budelliott [10:42 PM]  yeah I can see that. And honestly, what defenses can force you out of this stuff? Clemson and UF. I touched on this today in the screens piece.

jpm [10:44 PM]  Clemson is interesting because their backers really aren't great and FSU can exploit that

budelliott [10:44 PM]  But they have the corners to match up and their defensive ends might be trouble

jpm [10:47 PM]  Right, your success rate on your shot stuff probably won't be great. but you have the ability with your limited pass game to complement the run game. Because FSU can play two back and still pass well underneath and take advantage of those backers

budelliott [10:51 PM]  do you wanna go jumbo v. clemson to keep their backers in game?

davidvisser [10:52 PM]  Miami style, huh? Gotta think Kerr will be back by then.

alanmundy [10:53 PM]  The combo of screens and inside zone will take you a long way against any defense, as long as you can get at least a stalemate along the line.

alanmundy [10:53 PM] Very hard to defend perimeter screens and inside runs as long as you're in standard down/distance.

budelliott [10:54 PM]  horizontal bind really

alanmundy [10:54 PM]  Yup. Stress the alley defenders with formation and run/pass responsibilities.