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Florida State film review: Defense v. USF

FSU showed improvement on defense but still has a ways to go.

It's the Florida State Football Film Review. Every week we break down the result of the previous Florida State game. Who really played well for the Seminoles against USF? Which players played poorly? Where did the coaches do well, and when did they screw up?

All analyzed plays will eventually appear in the Florida State Film Review section of the website. We do not analyze plays in garbage time.

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  • FSU is still struggling to start the game fast and assert its will as a defense from the first snap. Whether it’s a lack of intensity or an inability to get lined up to formations in the first few series. Teams have definitely noticed FSU’s problem in aligning to certain looks and they are able to confuse the defense early on until FSU can get to the sideline and the defensive coaches can help the players sort it out.
  • These read option spread offenses put a defense in an interesting dilemma. Due to numbers, you either have to walk an extra defender into the box or have safeties who can quickly diagnose run/pass. If they get a run read, they need to react quickly and run the alley. This is something Derwin James is very good at but the rest of the FSU safeties have struggled with up to this point. Defensive coordinator Charles Kelly seemed to have recognized this and was more willing to use an extra defender vs the run. He did this a variety of ways: blitzing a corner from the boundary, walking up Trey Marshall from SS, or having Marcus Lewis read run/pass as a force defender to the field.
  • Linebacker play still seems to be an issue. Both Thomas and Hoskins were slightly better with their assignments vs read option but at times they both really struggled with their eye discipline and keys. Each had their own breakdowns in coverage as well.
  • The emergence of Fred Jones and Wally Aime is a big deal for FSU. Both showed the ability to win 1 on 1 vs the run and also hold the point vs double teams. FSU feels very comfortable rotating 4 guys at DT without any drop off.
  • FSU is hurting at safety with injuries to James and Marshall and Andrews still not at 100%. Westbrook and Brewton saw time in the second half but are still struggling, particularly in their fits vs the run.
  • Marquez White showed improvement vs the run, an area he has struggled early on in the first few games. Twice this game he beat blocks of the receiver with physicality and made tackles near the line of scrimmage.
  • Tarvarus McFadden did get beat the first play but played very well after that. He might be the second best defensive back on the team not named Derwin James. He definitely has a knack for turning and finding the ball down the field.
  • Marcus Lewis played better. FSU simplified the coverages, majority being Cover 1, Cover 4 or Cover 2 and this seemed to help Lewis the most. He seemed to react to routes quicker and was in good position on most passing plays. USF did not test him much in the run game and this should probably still be an area of concern until he shows otherwise.

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D-D AT Form Play Analysis
1-10 at Usf16 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto pass complete to ADAMS, Rodney for 84 yards to the FS0, 1ST DOWN USF, TOUCHDOWN, clock 14:43, NADELMAN, Emili kick attempt good. 2x2 Stack from USF. Adams is the bottom receiver to the boundary and steps back before accelerating into a vertical route. Adams has very good speed and just runs by McFadden. McFadden needs to use his hands on the reciever as Adams breaks his cushion to give himself a chance to stay in phase. Perfect throw from Flowers hits Adams in stride.
USF 7, Florida State 0
Drive: 1 plays, 84 yards, TOP 00:17
1-10 at Usf28 USF drive start at 14:31.
1-10 at Usf28 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for 3 yards to the USF31 (Marquez White). USF goes unbalanced to the field and runs toss sweep from gun. The H back gets just enough of a cut on Thomas to allow Mack to get to the outside. White is in press man coverage here but shows good awareness to find the ball while being blocked, shed the receiver and make the tackle. Good pursuit form Marshall from the backside .
2-7 at Usf31 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for 9 yards to the USF40, 1ST DOWN USF (Matthew Thomas). FSU in man to man with Hoskins blitzing off the edge to the boundary. Zone Read from USF. Pugh is the EOL and takes the QB with Thomas taking the dive. USF has good angles here to pick up Thomas but FSU is in good shape is Christmas plays this with more discipline. He shoots the gap but gets too far up field and creates a crease for Mack to run through.
1-10 at Usf40 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto rush for 28 yards to the FS32, 1ST DOWN USF, out-of-bounds. QB counter off of jet sweep. Thomas and Marshall get caught watching the RB off the fake and get themselves way out of position. This is the definition of an "eye violation" for both players. If they read their keys it would take them straight to the ball.
1-10 at Fs32 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto rush for 16 yards to the FS16, 1ST DOWN USF, out-of-bounds (Trey Marshall). Same play from USF. This time FSU has Hoskins aligned as the playside backer and he does not do a great job with his eyes either. He sees the pullers but does not react quickly to scrape over top and gets blocked by the tackle. Marshall does much better to read his key and run the alley but it's still not at the speed you hope for. As soon as he diagnoses run off his key, he needs to attack downhill.
1-10 at Fs16 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto pass incomplete to BRONSON, Ryshen. USF is going fast and aligns a bunch to the boundary while FSU blitzes Lewis and plays Cover 2. USF sends two receivers from the bunch vertical and splits Marshall with their routes. Flowers pumps the flat and gets both McFadden and Thomas to fly up. They both could show more awareness here and invite the flat throw while sinking to more depth. Andrews is the backside safety and has no threat to his side so he should be helping with the inside vertical but hes slow getting there. Luckily for FSU, Flowers just misses the throw to the outside.
2-10 at Fs16 4-2-5 ADAMS, Rodney rush for 3 yards to the FS13 (Ro'Derrick Hoskins). USF motions the receiver across from the boundary and this turns into 2 back Power Read. Pugh is the read key and insread of squeezing, he attacks the mesh which forces Flowers to give. Andrews is the playside safety and walks up into the box when he sees the motion, then does a great job taking on the block and turning the ball back inside to Hoskins in pursuit.
3-7 at Fs13 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for 8 yards to the FS5, 1ST DOWN USF (Marquez White;Nate Andrews). Interesting play from USF. QB Counter Read. OL blocks QB counter (guard and tackle pull) with sweep action in the back field and Flowers reading the Walker. Walker crashes on the QB so Flowers gives to Mack on the sweep. The action from the OL causes Hoskins to hesitate before taking on the block from the receiver who gets away with a hold. Andrews is the playside safety and is poor with his eyes, causing him to be late to fill. Another nice play by White to find the ball while getting blocked and then shed to make the tackle.
1-G at Fs05 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for 4 yards to the FS1 (Nate Andrews). USF goes back to a trips bunch to the boundary. This time FSU does not blitz Lewis but Thomas aligns outside again as if Lewis were blitzing. Error by Thomas. Inside Zone from USF and FSU is outnumbered to the tight end but Walker is able to shed him while getting some help from Andrews to stop Mack just short.
2-G at Fs01 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for 1 yard to the FS0, TOUCHDOWN, clock 11:49, NADELMAN, Emili kick attempt good. USF goes fast and runs the same play. FSU is badly misaligned as Lewis and White run into each other as the ball is snapped. Lewis never got over the the nub side and FSU had no edge defender. Macks walks into the endzone.
USF 14, Florida State 7
Drive: 9 plays, 72 yards, TOP 02:42
1-10 at Usf16 USF drive start at 10:22.
1-10 at Usf16 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto pass incomplete to ADAMS, Rodney (Marcus Lewis). USF play actions out of trips closed and runs 4 verticals. FSU is in a Cover 4 look with Lewis aligned outside the #2 receiver and Andrews at free safety. Lewis shows good awareness here to see there is no flat threat forom the receivers so he runs with #2 vertical. This is important because Andrews is slow to get his hips turned and stay over top the receiver. Excellent finish by Lewis to play through the hands of the receiver with his back to the ball.
2-10 at Usf16 4-2-5 TICE, Darius rush for 2 yards to the USF18 (Brian Burns). Zone Read from USF and FSU calls a corner blitz. Aime is the nose here and after engaging the center is able to drive him into the backfield and works across his face to force Mack to cut back. Nnadi is unable to anchor very well vs the double team but Thomas is unblocked to the ball with Burns coming around from the backside on an inside slant. Effective call from Kelly that is simple but also a nice way to mix up the look and get an exrta defender vs the run.
3-8 at Usf18 4-1-6 FLOWERS, Quinto sacked for loss of 5 yards to the USF13. FSU stands up Burns and moves him around pre snap before sending him through the B gap. Wide angle from Walker on his pass rush leaves a huge hole for Burns to run through. Burns initially overruns the QB but Fred Jones shows great discipline in his pass rush to stay home and not allow Flowers to exit the pocket through the middle. Burns starting to really flahs the elite athleticism and burst.
4-13 at Usf13 HERNANDEZ, Jon punt 50 yards to the FS37, Jesus Wilson return 13 yards to the 50 yardline (WILKINS, Mazzi;SAWTELLE, Nico).
Drive: 3 plays, minus 3 yards, TOP 01:39
1-10 at Usf25 USF drive start at 06:11.
1-10 at Usf25 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto pass incomplete to ADAMS, Rodney. Gift from USF on first down as Flowers throws a 1 hopper to the flat.
2-10 at Usf25 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto rush for loss of 7 yards to the USF18 (Tarvarus McFadden). Power Read from USF to the field and FSU brings another corner blitz from the boundary. Fred Jones destroys the center with a two handed punched to the breast plate, causing Flowers to cut back into the blitz from McFadden. Really impressive play from Jones.
3-17 at Usf18 4-1-6 MACK, Marlon rush for 13 yards to the USF31 (Nate Andrews). HB draw from USF on third and long. This almost busts for a first down because Thomas incorrectly fills here. Lewis is to the outside as the force defender and Thomas needs to fill inside the guard. Instead, Thomas jumps to the outside a creates a crease.
4-4 at Usf31 HERNANDEZ, Jon punt 54 yards to the FS15, Jesus Wilson return 16 yards to the FS31 (JOHNSON, D'Erne), PENALTY USF illegal formation 5 yards to the FS36, 1st and 10, FS ball on FS36.
Drive: 3 plays, 6 yards, TOP 01:35
1-10 at Usf25 USF drive start at 00:25.
1-10 at Usf25 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for no gain to the USF25 (Trey Marshall). Jackson has entered the game for Hoskins and FSU blitzes him off the edge to the field and walks Marshall up into the box to the boundary vs 11 personnel. FSU has everyone covered up on the LOS and then slants Aime (3 tech) into the A gap at the snap. This creates penetration up the middle and forces Mack to cut back into Thomas and Marshall who are unblocked to the ball.
2-10 at Usf25 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for 7 yards to the USF32, out-of-bounds (Dontavious Jackson). Power Read. Walker squeezes and forces Flowers to give to the RB on the sweep. Lewis is the force defender here and needs to keep outside leverage on the arc block from the h back and force the ball back inside. The h back is able to cut him and Mack gets to the edge. Poor technique from Lewis vs the cut. Jackson is excellent here: steps downhill and scrapes off the end and then runs inside out to the sideline to chase down the RB.
3-3 at Usf32 FLOWERS, Quinto rush for 2 yards to the USF34 (Walvenski Aime). Power Read. FSU mixing up the technique of the read key. Sometimes they'll squeeze the end to take away the QB, other times they'll jet him off the line to try and disrupt the mesh and the read. This time they jet Burns but USF uses the pulling guard to knock him off as Flowers keeps the ball. USF has a hat on a hat in the blocking scheme here but Aime makes a fantastic play. Aime is the 3 tech and is able to hold the point vs the double team before shedding the guard to make the stop beofre the sticks.
4-1 at Usf34 HERNANDEZ, Jon punt 51 yards to the FS15, out-of-bounds.
Drive: 3 plays, 9 yards, TOP 01:15
1-10 at Usf36 USF drive start at 13:03.
1-10 at Usf36 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for loss of 4 yards to the USF32 (Fredrick Jones). Fred Jones is lined up head up the center here. He works left with his hands and the center steps the other direction. Bust from USF but also good quicks and a good finish by Jones in the backfield.
2-14 at Usf32 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto pass complete to JOHNSON, D'Erne for 11 yards to the USF43 (Tarvarus McFadden). FSU blitzing Marshall here and playing Cover 1. Thomas has man coverage on the back if he releases outside but he initally takes the TE before seeing the RB late and trying to recover. Good job by McFadden to come off and help with the tackle.
3-3 at Usf43 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto rush for 2 yards to the USF45 (Jacob Pugh). Power Read but this time they kick out the end and read the playside linebacker (Thomas). Thomas flows to the sweep so Flowers keeps. USF has a hat on a hat again here but Flowers tries to initially cutback instead of following behind his pulling guard. Good discipline by Nnadi and Christmas upfront to hold their gaps and take away the cutback from Flowers.
4-1 at Usf45 PENALTY USF false start (DILLON, Elkanah) 5 yards to the USF40.
4-6 at Usf40 PENALTY USF delay of game 5 yards to the USF35.
4-11 at Usf35 HERNANDEZ, Jon punt 47 yards to the FS18, fair catch by Jesus Wilson.
Drive: 3 plays, minus 1 yards, TOP 01:50
1-10 at Usf25 USF drive start at 07:04.
1-10 at Usf25 FLOWERS, Quinto pass intercepted by Tarvarus McFadden at the FS47, Tarvarus McFadden return 0 yards to the FS47 (BRONSON, Ryshen). Man to man from McFadden to the boundary. Text book coverage here by McFadden to use his hands off the release, take away the space to the sideline, then turn and find the ball.
Drive: 1 plays, 0 yards, TOP 00:06
1-10 at Usf25 USF drive start at 05:59.
1-10 at Usf25 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for 2 yards to the USF27 (Nate Andrews). QB Counter Read from USF and Flowers gives on the sweep. This is nearly picture perfect on the edge from FSU. Hoskins is the force defender here, reads run and immediately works to the outside of the block of the #3 receiver, forcing the RB inside. Andrews is the playside safety and he gets a good run read and aggressivley runs the alley to meet the RB near the LOS.
2-8 at Usf27 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for loss of 2 yards to the USF25, out-of-bounds. Zone Read. Walker slow plays the read and forces Flowers to give. FSU also slants the DT's to the boundary which disrupts the blocking scheme and allows Nanndi to get penetration. Mack has to cut back and runs into Walker and Hoskins who has scraped over top, unblocked.
3-10 at Usf25 4-1-6 FLOWERS, Quinto rush for no gain to the USF25 (Fredrick Jones). Pugh and Burns get upfield in their pass rush and Flowers does a poor job being able to keep his eyes downfield while stepping up in the pocket. He immediately looks to run as he steps up but Burns has freakish athletic ability works his way back to the QB and brings him down with the help of Jones.
4-10 at Usf25 HERNANDEZ, Jon punt 38 yards to the FS37, Jesus Wilson return 12 yards to the FS49 (ABRAHAM, Devin).
Drive: 3 plays, 0 yards, TOP 01:44
1-10 at Usf25 USF drive start at 01:18.
1-10 at Usf25 4-1-6 JOHNSON, D'Erne rush for 17 yards to the USF42, 1ST DOWN USF (Trey Marshall). FSU goes to their prevent defense with only 5 in the box. USF wisely runs Zone Read and has 5 to block 4 to spring the run for a big gain.
1-10 at Usf42 4-1-6 JOHNSON, D'Erne rush for 9 yards to the FS49 (Marcus Lewis;Nate Andrews). Same play vs the same look. FSU DE plays the QB and forces the give. Nice play by Andrews to read run from the middle of the field and come up and make the tackle.
2-1 at Fs49 PENALTY FS substitution infraction 5 yards to the FS44, 1ST DOWN USF.
1-10 at Fs44 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto pass incomplete to ADAMS, Rodney, PENALTY FS pass interference (Marcus Lewis) 15 yards to the FS29, 1ST DOWN USF, NO PLAY. Trips to the field and USF stacks the #2 and #3 receivers with FSU playing Cover 4 behind it. Fisher said that Lewis should have had help to the inside here. FSU is playing a "Solo" technique with the backside safety ttaking a vertical from the #3 receiver. Andrews is the playside safety and incorrectly jumps #3 vertical instead of helping Lewis with #2. This is almost a great play from Lewis who starts 4 yards off the ball and runs step for step with Adams but plays through his hands just a half second too soon.
1-10 at Fs29 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto sacked for loss of 7 yards to the FS36 (Brian Burns). Obvious passing situation and FSU's DEs are teeing off. Walker whips the LT to the inside and Burns beats the RT with hands and speed to the outside.
2-17 at Fs36 Timeout USF, clock 00:32.
2-17 at Fs36 4-1-6 FLOWERS, Quinto pass incomplete to DILLON, Elkanah. USF lines up 4 receivers to the field in two stacks and runs them all downfield. Tough angle with the TV but FSU appears to be in decent coverage here.
3-17 at Fs36 4-1-6 FLOWERS, Quinto rush for 18 yards to the FS18, 1ST DOWN USF, out-of-bounds. FSU rushes 3 into coverage and drops 8. Flowers finds a lane and takes off. Hoskins does a poor job here in the open field and overruns Flowers, allowing him to pick up an extra 15 yards. Have to be smart here in the open field, break down and leverage the ball with your teammates and the sideline.
1-10 at Fs18 4-1-6 FLOWERS, Quinto pass incomplete to JOHNSON, D'Erne. FSU blitzes Thomas and Andrews and plays Cover 1 behind. Burns is matched up with the back here and is in decent coverage in the endzone when Flowers is inaccurate with the throw.
2-10 at Fs18 Timeout USF, clock 00:11.
2-10 at Fs18 4-1-6 FLOWERS, Quinto sacked for loss of 13 yards to the FS31 (DeMarcus Walker). Walker lined up as a 3 tech. A favorite pressure of Coach Lawing's as FSU slants Walker into the center to pick him and loop the 1 tech around. Walker is relentless and is able to get around 3 different OL and get to the QB.
3-23 at Fs31 End of half, clock 00:00.
Drive: 7 plays, 44 yards, TOP 01:18
1-10 at Fs48 USF drive start at 11:48.
1-10 at Fs48 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto pass intercepted by Nate Andrews at the FS5, Nate Andrews return 0 yards to the FS5. PA from gun by USF with FSU in Cover 1. Flowers makes a bad decision to throw the deep post. White is on top of the route and has safety help to the inside. Easy pick for Andrews as the ball is also overthrown.
Drive: 1 plays, 0 yards, TOP 00:08
1-10 at Usf08 USF drive start at 07:07.
1-10 at Usf08 4-2-5 MACK, Marlon rush for 1 yard to the USF9 (Walvenski Aime). Zone Read. FSU slow plays the read and forces the give. Excellent run defense from FSU. FSU slants the DT's and sends Thomas through the B gap and this messes up the blocking scheme for USF to the front side. Excellent play from Aime to shed the center and make the play after Pugh holds up the edge and forces the cutback.
2-9 at Usf09 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto rush for 3 yards to the USF12, out-of-bounds. QB counter to the boundary off of jet sweep. Poor eyes and fill by Thomas who is all over the place with his footwork. Pugh makes a nice play to take on the puller, find the ball and shed to minimize the gain. Brewton is the playside safety here and is also very slow to get his run read.
3-6 at Usf12 4-1-6 FLOWERS, Quinto pass incomplete. Tampa 2 Coverage from FSU with Andrews getting good depth and taking away the route over the deep middle. Walker and Pugh get pressure and force Flowers to throw it away after his first read is not there.
4-6 at Usf12 HERNANDEZ, Jon punt 45 yards to the FS43, Jesus Wilson return 18 yards to the USF39 (HOGGINS, Ronnie).
Drive: 3 plays, 4 yards, TOP 01:10
1-10 at Usf10 USF drive start at 05:00.
1-10 at Usf10 4-2-5 TICE, Darius rush for 2 yards to the USF12 (Jacob Pugh). Power to the TE from gun. Christmas is the 3 tech and is too high out of his stance and gives up some ground. Pugh should be the kick out player by the pulling guard by the guard runs right by him. Good technique by Pugh to squeeze tight and make the play off a bust from USF.
2-8 at Usf12 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto rush for 5 yards to the USF17. USF goes empty with a trips bunch split wide to the field and a wide stack to the boundary. Thomas bumps too wide to the stack and FSU has no LB's in the box here. USF runs a QB draw with a tackle looping around to lead. FSU is badly outnumbered here by Fred Jones beats the guard and is bale to slow down Flowers while the rest of the defense runs to the ball.
3-3 at Usf17 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto rush for 48 yards to the FS35, 1ST DOWN USF (A.J. Westbrook). Same formation and same play from USF and Thomas still appears too wide in his alignment. Hoskins has adjusted and walked into the box over the tackle. Hoskins reads the tackle pull and fills but he takes on the block with the wrong shoulder. He's got to attack the block with his inside shoulder and force the ball inside. It would not have mattered much because Thomas is out of position and late getting there. Andrews does not have great athleticism and is unable to make the tackle on Flowers as he busts a huge gain.
1-10 at Fs35 4-2-5 FLOWERS, Quinto pass complete to TICE, Darius for 11 yards to the FS24, 1ST DOWN USF. Good design from USF to fake the sweep and run the playside back down the seam vs Cover 4. Hoskins shows horrible eye discipline here and flows to the sweep when he needs to drop to his hook/curl zone in Cover 4.
1-10 at Fs24 4-2-5 JOHNSON, D'Erne rush for 24 yards to the FS0, 1ST DOWN USF, TOUCHDOWN, clock 03:22, NADELMAN, Emili kick attempt good. HB counter off jet sweep, first time USF has run this all day. Two reason for the big hole: 1) Nnadi doesn't get his hands placed and is driven off the ball by the guard. 2) Hoskins diagnoses the counter well but is tackled by the LT on a down block (this is not legal).
Florida State 45, USF 21
Drive: 5 plays, 90 yards, TOP 01:38