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Florida State film review: Final thoughts against Boston College

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Jim Rogash

So, let's get into this film review (be sure to go quarter by quarter). This is about 1,000 words, and our in-depth review of each quarter is about 10,000 total. And if you enjoy it, be sure to share this on facebook and twitter.

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BC is definitely already a much better team under the new coaching staff. That program totally quit on their last coach. They came with a lot of new wrinkles out of their bye week, and kept Florida State off balance for a while. I also have to wonder if FSU's players expected Boston College to roll over like it did in 2012.

But FSU did respond, going on a 35-3 run in which it simply destroyed BC. After FSU had an 18-point lead, the players seemed to lose their edge, which is both expected and unfortunate.


What was with all the slipping? Was BC's turf different than the indoor practice facility? FSU had a number of players slip down and hurt plays.

Jameis Winston was again very good. He wasn't perfect. There were four or five times where he needs to check to a run and not try to execute such a difficult pass play. He also still needs to hit his checkdowns more often, and he needs to be more mature and not throw blocks for teammates.

I didn't think the backs played all that well, but they were not awful.

The offensive line again provided good pass protection for the most part. FSU Jameis likes to throw a lot of deep routes, and those take time to develop. I do question how healthy Jackson and Erving are, as they both had some very poor plays (though they were not awful overall). People tend to notice offensive line mistakes more than any other position, because offensive line is always in the frame. I do think the line needs to handle stunts and twists better. That was disappointing. I did not have a big problem with the run blocking.

The receivers were very good. Very good.

Cool stat: FSU ran 24 plays from the one-back, one-tight end shotgun look, and gained an even 260 yards. That's damn near 11 yards/play. This seems like Florida States' best look.

After the game, the players talked about how they expected a lot more Cover 2, and less man coverage, and how they had to adjust.

Defensive Snaps: 4-down not a clear upgrade

There was a lot of chatter about the defense struggling playing a 3-4 alignment, and how a 4-3 or 4-2-5 alignment was better.

I don't think you can draw meaningful conclusions from this game, or even this season so far, due to the limited sample set.

But, I will say that the numbers do not support the idea that FSU's defense got better once it went to more 4-3 and 4-2-5.

It's important to note that I've included both the yards/play and success rate allowed. Yards/play shows the total picture including explosiveness, and the success rate shows how often FSU allowed a successful play in each set. So while 52 of the 121 yards allowed by the 4-3 defense did happen on one play, it was also not successful on 6 of the remaining 15 plays.

Again, I think this sample set is way too small from which to draw conclusions, but FSU did not "go" to a 4-3 later in the game to get stops, and it did not play better from a 4-4/4-2-5 look than its 3-4/3-3-5 look. At all.

FSU's 3-4 was excellent all around.

Defensive Adjustments

So if FSU didn't go to more 4-3/4-2-5 looks, what did it do to adjust?

First, it did a better job aligning to BC's unbalanced looks. There were some plays early on where FSU was not aligned correctly to the look and it gave BC a huge natural bubble to run through.

But the biggest change was probably one of effort, focus and intensity. FSU got hit in the mouth for a while, and seemed content to take it and tip-toe through the tulips, as my old high school defensive coordinator used to put it. FSU started playing harder, took on blocks a little bit better, tackled a bit better, and just made fewer mistakes, especially during the 35-3 run in the second and third quarter, in which it dominated. And that included a stretch where BC started drives at FSU's 40 and 25.

I'm told that FSU repped taking on blocks a ton in Monday's practice. The emphasis is that the block must be taken on with the correct arm, with a good base, and that jumping around blocks to try and make plays is not the goal. There is a temptation to try to make the play instead of executing the assignment, and when that happens, bad things result.


On the whole, there are a lot more players playing well than poorly.

Timmy Jernigan really played well and split double teams repeatedly. Eddie Goldman is beginning to realize that he can be a beast. Desmond Hollin surprised everyone (including the coaching staff over the last week). Demonte McAllister also shined a few times. If Goldman can become a but more consistent, this defense is going to get better in a hurry.

Nile Lawrence-Stample was pretty bad. On at least one play, he was blocked so easily and in such dominant fashion that it looked like he was not ready for the snap. He also missed a TFL opportunity.

This defense definitely misses Mario Edwards, Jr., who is a very good run stopper at end. If there is a spot of inexperience on this defense that really stands out, it is there. Eligwe, Walker, Casher, Thomas and Hicks are all fairly inexperienced and are often the cause for the runs off tackle going for more than they are supposed to. But they are improving.

I will say that I don't really like using the aforementioned four as a standup backer in the 4-3 look, particularly Hicks, who is not playing all that well in space.

That's not to say that the inside backers are not disappointing. Telvin Smith still jumps around blocks, and Christian Jones is maybe the most disappointing player on the defense. He seems to loaf, doesn't diagnose well, and sometimes takes on blocks without a lot of intensity. A lot of people are clamoring for Terrance Smith or Reggie Northrup to take his spot, but those two young players undoubtedly have their own issues as well.

I'd like to see Jones moved to the outside, but, it is about the total package. If Jones moves to the outside and plays better, but his replacement in the middle plays worse, and the overall result is a negative, that's no good.

I do expect the coaching staff to experiment more in practice as Jones has not shown a lot of improvement from game to game.

The secondary is generally playing better than the front right now. P.J. Williams was pretty good, but he did get greedy and sucked inside one time when BC bounced a run for good yards. Terrence Brooks continued to play well, and Jalen Ramsey was OK in his first game at safety. Ronald Darby was solid on his 30 or so snaps.

Lamarcus Joyner covered well in the game, but he is trying to do too much, and is playing out of control too often, which contributed to at least one big run. Joyner needs to be more patient.

Oh, and freshman defensive back Nate Andrews played OK at the Money position (6th defensive back).

I don't think this defense is that far off. And it's going to play differently over the next few weeks than it currently is because of the spread looks.

Special Teams

Awful. Right now, Aguayo seems like a very good kicker, but the other stuff is iffy.

And it's not all Cason Beatty.

Beatty did hit one terrible punt in the game, a low liner that BC returned to FSU's 36. That is not on the punt coverage team, it is on Beatty. But on another, he hit a very good punt and FSU came in out of control and lost lane integrity.

The same was true of kickoffs. Aguayo generally hit good kickoffs, but FSU was undisciplined in covering the kicks.

And Kermit Whitfield made a major error to take one kick out of the end zone, and Karlos Williams needs to tell him to not bring it out.

FSU maybe needs to spend more time on special teams in practice.