Before I get to my response about last night, let me preface it by telling you all a few simple facts I work the graveyard shift on weekends. For the uninitiated, that's 11 pm to 7 am. I also live on the west coast, which is 3 hours behind the east coast (as if you all didn't know). In order for me to provide the spotty guest service that I do on my BEST nights I require a 3-3:30 pm bedtime. The game last night was scheduled for a 5 pm west coast kick off. I was in bed, but awake and watching the "game" on my laptop. And that ending was what I was rewarded with. I don't need to explain my mind state at work last night any further. Or the level of service I may or may NOT have provided. You understand.
Now let me explain my subject headline. Or, a simple two letter word, sums up what is wrong with FSU. Lack of acorns. REAL acorns. Starting at the top. I need to be clear. I think Mike Norvell can be a great "CEO" type head coach, so I'm not just knocking on him to be knocking on him. He has put together an administration that polished up the broken image of a once proud program and save for that 1 current flaw, he had America, not just the fanbase, an entire country thinking FSU was back on track. But acorns cannot be faked. They cannot be dressed up. They cannot be schemed, or scripted or boiled down into "shot" plays. Find ANOTHER offensive coordinator and let Norvell throw in a few gimmick plays much like Bobby Bowden did. Bowden loved Pdubb (we all did) but he didn't run reverses every series. Or bubble screens every series, hoping to open up something later on in the game. Peter beat people on slants, and hitches. Basic caveman football that STILL works today. But that's NOT what Norvell does. That's not Norvells "scheme." Like Heath Ledger's joker stated "They're schemers trying to control their little worlds."
At the heart of what football is, it's simple. All across the gridiron there are matches of gladiatorial combat. In the trenches. In the alleys. Across the middle. Down the sidelines. At the pylons. FSU doesn't win 1 on 1 battles. They don't finish them. They don't finish plays. They don't finish quarters, or halfs, and subsequently games. They can't. They're not equipped to, because they're they're not coached to. They win on SOME plays, scripted or schemed but outside of that they're dead. On the hail mary that ended ANY belief that I would have even a good enough nap to have me ready for work, there are screen grabs of the 3 FSU dbs who were beat. I read that #10 must have been gassed or loafing, and that the other 2 dbs were trying to herd the wide out to the sideline. But I've played a ton of football. I've watched a ton of football. Laziness or lack of effort does not explain #10's actions. Everyone watching last night understands what it truly was, even if they've never played a meaningful down. Why? Because every FSU fan felt it WITH him. Fear and disbelief. The "is this really happening paralysis" is what kept that tackle from being made, why it looked like Jammie Robinson was loafing, why Jarvis Brownlee only gave a half hearted swipe and then got juked into a block. And where does this come from? The top.
How does "or" explain that succinctly? We know what Jordan Travis is. Athlete. Quickness and speed that actually makes him a home run threat with the ball in his hands. But he's not a D1 college level passer. He can't complete an out route or complete a pass over the middle in traffic under duress. His success as a passer comes on schemed shots or broken plays where he utilizes his athleticism. Mackenzie Milton may not be what he was before, and only God knows how many snaps he has left in him, but we all know what would have happened if Baveon Johnson hadn't rolled that 4th quarter snap back to him. FSU would have beat Notre Dame. Because Milton has acorns. He was the FIRST person in the program to respond to the game by explaining a loss is a loss, there are NO moral victories. Give THAT man the keys, and let HIM lead. Till the wheels fall off. The fact that Norvell left the "or" on the depth chart for the qb position after the ND game (or the fact that that word is even ON the depth chart) is how I know FSU's problem is an acorn drought. The first few scripted comedy hour plays where Norvell had both qb's on the field are proof. Norvell's foundation is scheme, not stones. Script. Window dressing. And being TOO NICE. You put your BEST people on the field for AS MANY reps as physically possible, let them battle and live with the results. Why did Jashaun Corbin only have 12 carries? Why was Lawrence Toafili given that first 3rd and 1 carry? Where he tried to bounce outside and was tackled for a loss? You watch Milton's reaction. You can see he wanted to explode on him and tell him "YOU GO STRAIGHT AND YOU PUT YOUR HEAD DOWN AND YOU GET THAT 1 YARD!" He didn't because I'm guessing he didn't feel it was his place. Tom Brady would have broke the expletive meter. Bill Belichek wouldn't have muttered 1 word, but Toafili would have disappeared into a bench abyss as if Thanos snapped him out of existence. But did Norvell chew him out? Not that I saw. In fact, Norvell gave him ANOTHER carry in an almost identical scenario later on. And what happened? TFL. Why was Dontae Lucas allowed to continue playing after false starting? Why is Jarrian Jones getting meaningful snaps in the nickel? You want true buy in, true accountability? Make the best players play until they're dog tired, explain that they can't come out because they don't have reliable backups and watch alphas turn the betas into warriors. Why is Keyshawn Helton getting the slot fade shots? Is he THAT much faster than your other wide receivers? Does he get off press that much better than other wideouts? What would Nick Saban have done after he dropped that clear touchdown? I've seen people knocking on the lack of separation wide receivers have been getting and while I don't think there are any Biletnikoff winners on the roster, I think it's a scheme issue. On most plays I don't even think the qb has more than 1 option to throw to. Guys seem to be tasked with running people off or blocking. Alot of times they're stacked out wide, bunching them up into 1 area, making it easier to defend and they're basically throw aways. Window dressing. Schemed norvellian garnishes. Want another example? The Wildcat. The wildcat formation is a gimmick that was new almost 10-12 years ago. Key word "gimmick." Operative phrase "new almost 10 years ago." If you had acorns, your best option in short yardage with this roster and oline make up is put Travis in with Corbin or Ward, run the read option with a TRUE option for Travis to read and give or pull and you live with the result. Then you put Milton back in and you run the offense. You give HIM the chance to read coverage, give him the option to hit MORE receivers than the 1 the play calls for and you battle. FSU has enough talent for 8 wins if THAT is your head coaches mentality. You can have gimmick plays, but you can't have a gimmick playbook. You can have a player make a mistake but you can't continue to play players who continue to make mistakes and think they won't do what they do. Not everyone can make the climb. You CLEARLY state who you're going to war with, even IF you hurt someones feelings and you go to WAR and live with the results. There is no "OR."
OR you'll get what you got last night.
Crappy customer service.