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Observations from Florida State’s anemic offensive performance at Syracuse

Just 1 offensive TD in 8 quarters of ACC football for the ’Noles.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Three games into the season we have a clear understanding of what Florida State’s offense is. They’re simply not good right now.

In eight quarters of ACC football, Florida State has managed just ONE offensive touchdown. The running lanes are not there for the running backs, as the backup offensive linemen are not ready.

With the injuries sustained along the line, FSU doesn’t have anyone who can play FBS level offensive tackle. In the rare instances when there is time to throw, Deondre Francois is missing wide open throws. It seems the constant pressure/hits are adding up, and he’s becoming gun-shy, not that you can necessarily blame him.

On FSU’s best 1st half drive, with the ’Noles trailing 6-0 right before intermission, the clock ran out when Francois threw a curl route to Keith Gavin in the field of play with no timeouts remaining. This sequence served as a microcosm of the game...and the season thus far, and was another sign that an offense with personnel issues seems to have no rhythm and questionable decision-making.

Entering the fourth quarter down 20-0, FSU’s offense was averaging 3.1 yards per play for 122 total offensive yards. That’s not enough plays or yards. And it’s embarrassing considering this same Syracuse defense gave up over 9 yards per play against Western Michigan.

Willie Taggart went to a quick passing game in the fourth quarter and had some moderate success, but for some reason he chose not to stick with it, instead deciding to take some deep shots. Consequently, the offensive tackles couldn’t hold up in protection, allowing Francois to get leveled on consecutive plays.

The bright spot of the day for the unit came in the middle of the fourth quarter when Gavin made a diving 39 yard catch (this happened after Francois finally stepped up in the pocket). FSU would subsequently score their only points of the afternoon on an 8 play, 70 yard drive capitalized by a 2 yard TD run by Francois (finally ran the zone read properly).

Before garbage time, FSU had 226 yards on 54 plays (just under 4.2 YPP) That’s a recipe for having your first losing season in 42 years. Cam Akers had 52 yards on 10 carries, while Jacques Patrick struggled, gaining just 13 yards on 4 carries. FSU’s leading receiver was Gavin with 79 yards on 6 catches before garbage time.

OL coach Greg Frey continued to shuffle his offensive line, but FSU seemingly cannot field a competent offensive tackle until Landon Dickerson returns from injury. Backup tackle Brady Scott was not seen until late in the fourth quarter after playing well in relief vs. Samford last week. Juaun Williams and Abdul Bello were awful, and Derrick Kelly is too immobile for tackle after dealing with numerous injuries. At guard, Arthur Williams might be your best offensive lineman right now, and he played defense last year—that’s how bad it’s gotten for that unit this year with the injuries.

As far as penalties go, a procedure penalty did negate a Tre McKitty 1st down catch, but for the most part the foolish penalties were down this least on offense (a noticeable improvement from the first two weeks).

All in all, it was one of the worst offensive performances in years for the Seminoles. With the current state of the offensive line, making a bowl game suddenly seems like a major question mark. It’ll be interesting to see what changes are made going forward (scheme and personnel).