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Florida State football schedule preview: Boise State

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Not your average G5 opponent

NCAA Football: Florida State at Boise State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next few weeks, Tomahawk Nation is previewing Florida State football’s currently scheduled 2020 season. While questions still surround how exactly the football season will look when it’s played out, we’re proceeding with the status quo. Today, we’re tackling Florida State’s true road opener vs. Boise State, who brought the Seminoles crashing to Earth last season.

Florida State’s game against Boise State last year was full of ups and downs, to put it mildly.

2019 Boise State at Florida State Win Probability Chart | Figure: @SaiemGilani
2019 Boise State at Florida State Win Probability Chart

The first half had fans wondering how far this Kendall Briles fellow can bring this offense. The second half had them wondering how long this Willie Taggart fellow had in Tallahassee. The prevailing feeling leaving the stadium that day was of embarrassment. Florida State, five years removed from national title contention and a year after missing a bowl, had lost to a G5 team at home.

While the disappointment was real, it wasn’t necessarily due to losing to some completely inferior program. Boise State’s dynasty really began in the early 2000’s under Chris Petersen and hit its climax with the Kellen Moore era (who remains as the winningest QB in CFB history)*.

Editor’s note: Kevin really, really, really loves Kellen Moore.

This success has been sustained by Petersen’s successor: Bryan Harsin. They are always good and always dangerous. For all of the curveballs 2020 is sending, Boise State ending their reign as a G5 power is not one we should expect.

Boise State Offense

The place all offensive discussions begin is with the quarterback, and the Broncos have a talented one, as the Seminoles saw last season. Now-sophomore Hank Bachmeier is the favorite for the starting position and he deserves it. His mostly bright freshman campaign was shorted due to injury but all signs point to solid play from behind center.

Boise State’s new offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau will be breaking in a mostly green offensive line. Only one starter will be returning which doesn’t bode well for the Broncos. They were able to control the trenches and wear the Seminoles down last year but they will have their hands full with the returning talent on FSU’s front line.

The real fun in watching Boise State’s offense is how they use pre-snap motion. Their system hasn’t changed much since Petersen’s early days with the team and I don’t expect it to change now. Before almost every play they are moving their pieces around to see how the defense adjusts. This can get an extra man at the point of attack or it can help the quarterback get a better pre-snap read of the defense or do a million other things I don’t have time to mention here (but will, if/when the game gets played, don’t you worry). Either way it is a fun offense to watch and contains many “pro-style” elements that are dying off in college football today.

Boise State Defense

The loss of some major talent across the defensive front line might present the Seminoles with a more favorable match-up. Last year, the names Curtis Weaver, David Moa, and Chase Hatada crossed the lips of announcers a bit too often for the taste of many Seminole fans but these players aren’t returning for the Broncos. Instead they are going to be forced to find some new talent on the defensive line. This answer might be found in the talented young Demitri Washington.

Their defense is always well coached and reasonably sound in their responsibilities. While they can’t pull in the 5 star secondary players they know how to play to their strengths. Boise State utilizes a lot of zone coverage which requires communication and football IQ but if run correctly can hide a lot of athletic insufficiency. They bring some crafty blitzes from underneath these zone coverages and have a way of freeing up rushers to the quarterback through scheme instead of skill.

Final word on the Boise State Broncos

Boise State is a good football team. They have been for over 20 years. Don’t expect that to change any time soon.

However, the question remains about their new lines. In last years match-up they were the primary factor that wore the Seminoles down, but will their newcomers have the same effect this year? Or will they give FSU’s young tackles the confidence they need to take a step forward in their development? One thing is for sure, though — some blue turf would look cool in the Sod Cemetery.