After the NC State game, Florida State head coach Willie Taggart informed the media that he had delegated play calling duties to his offensive coordinator, Walt Bell.
Both Taggart and Bell have emphasized running the ball in hopes of fixing FSU’s 127th ranked rushing offense. The problem is, over the past few weeks and much of the year, the Seminoles have gone down on the scoreboard early and are tasked with digging themselves out of a hole.
The Seminoles’ coordinator talked about how early deficits have pigeonholed play calling, whether it’s Taggart or himself calling the plays.
“I think as a play caller, the biggest thing it does is it kind of takes you out of some of your original plans you wanted to make,” Bell said. “Not necessarily schemes or whatnot, but just in terms of how much do we throw it and how much do we run it. When you play from behind you feel like you have to press, make a big play, and get yourself back int he game. That’s why there is always such a huge emphasis on the start. If we can start fast we can play ahead. Now all of a sudden you get more chances to run the football. You get more chances to do what you want to do.”
It was no different against Notre Dame. Florida State was down early and despite running somewhat efficiently against some very favorable looks from the Irish defense, FSU just couldn’t get on the scoreboard. The most noteworthy example of this was Florida State’s inability to punch the ball in on the goal line and turning the ball over on downs. The Irish would then drive down the field 97-yards and score.
Bell talked about the play calls on the goal line that included bringing in defensive tackles Corey Durden and Marvin Wilson to block for Jacques Patrick.
“We had a 13 or 14-yard run down to the inch line and there was a little bit of debate there whether we scored or not,” Bell said. “We went to a tempo inside zone and didn’t get a call made up front that would have helped the front side and obviously we have to manage the backside at quarterback there. On third down from the one we just wanted to put big bodies on big bodies and got beat on a slant across our face—we didn’t handle that great. Then, on fourth down, obviously we didn’t get that thing completed. From a situational standpoint, I think really the second down and third down we’re not doing great job with our big bodies.”