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Walt Bell: offense still not meeting the standard

After a fast start against NIU, poor ball security and impatience running the ball bogged down the ‘Noles.

With some lucky bounces going their way, Florida State’s first two drives against NIU were more or less what the Gulf Coast Offense is supposed to look like. After the explosive start, the offense slowed considerably, and offensive coordinator Walt Bell says that, while the first two drives were confidence boosters, they still aren’t living up to their standards.

“I wouldn’t say we’re anywhere close to the standard,” Bell said. “We’re not as good as we need to be. I think every week the goal—win, lose, or draw, is just be better than you were last week. Just continuous improvement. If we can do that every day, every rep, every practice, eventually we’ll get to where we want to be.”

The first year Florida State coach made note of two things hindering his group presently. Most notably, not taking care of the football.

“You score on drive one, you score on drive two, and you have a great drive going on drive three and then you put the ball on the ground on 4th and one once you’ve already got the first down,” Bell said. “Those are the things that kill you as a football coach. Especially as much as we do ball security around here.”

Ball security, or lack of, has killed the ‘Noles so far this year. We learned from tight end Tre’ McKitty that Florida State’s fumbling problem has been addressed this week by making players who coughed up the ball on Saturday, McKitty included, carry the ball to class and everywhere they go.

Along with not securing the rock, Bell also talked about the need to be more patient in the run game. With one of the deepest backfields in the country, the Seminoles have been underwhelming in the run game. Part of that is due to the play of the offensive line, but a home run or bust mentality from running backs in partially to blame.

“We have all the documented issues that we’ve had up front,” Bell said. “I think number two, is our backs are at a point where we’re starting to press a little bit instead of taking what’s there and trying to hit home runs all the time. I think as guys start to level off their pads and get comfortable with four, those fours will turn into eights, and those eights will turn into big plays.”

It’s not all doom and gloom from Bell. In fact it’s pretty far from it. Bell is excited about a lot of the players they have on offense, including tight ends Tre’ McKitty and Gabe Nabers, who he contends can help the Seminoles immensely in more ways than one.

“He (McKitty) and Gabe Nabers both have a chance to be really good football players,” Bell said before practice on Tuesday. “They are kind of human Swiss army knives. They can go out and play in the slot, they can play attach tight end, and they can play in the backfield. Especially in modern football, whether it be NFL or the college game, that’s what you see. You see those guys all over the place. The more dudes like that that you have the better chance you have.”

We saw Florida State utilize both tight ends in the backfield on numerous occasions against NIU, which allows for more versatility according to Bell.

“I think the more that we can do that, not only in the run game, but in your play action pass game, your movement game, and also just doing what we do out of different personnel groups as a way to hide our base football plays— the more we can do with those two kids on the field, the better in the long term that we’ll be.”

Freshman phenom Tamorrion Terry has also garnered a lot of praise from Bell in recent weeks. Terry’s targets have been limited, but he has made the most of them with three touchdowns to start the year. We heard the same coach speak that there is only one ball to go around, but Bell said they have to put the ball in the hands of Terry more often.

“Quarterbacks don’t just get to throw it to a guy,” Bell said. “Quarterbacks have to do what the defense tells them to do. Now, can we make sure we find ways to get him touches, whether it be in the screen game or what not? Absolutely, and we can do a better job of that.”