FSU fans came out to see the Florida State offense under new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles. And they saw some promising things, and some not so promising. And remember, it’s just a spring game. Having big takeaways from a spring game is not wise.
FSU got the play calls in, substitutions looked alright, and in general things seemed to click better. Penalties of the mental-error variety were kept to a minimum. They should, since it’s a spring game, but still. Everything looked smoother.
FSU came out operating with aggressive tempo before backing off some in the second half. It looked as fast if not faster than it did in 2018, but more in a controlled manner.
It’s difficult to know how much of the smoother look is due to the continuity of being in Year 2 of a spread, no-huddle system, and how much is the change in coaching.
Quick hitters and play action
Given a season worth’s of data that the offensive line is terrible, and without an infusion of talent to fix it in 2019, it makes sense to work on plays getting the ball out quickly. FSU ran a lot of screens, and seemed to block them a bit better than it did in 2019. It’s worth noting that Miami’s receivers blocked well under receivers coach Ron Dugans, who was with the Hurricanes in 2018 before joining FSU’s current staff.
Florida State also used play action on a majority of its pass attempts that were not screens. Given its inability to pass block, that makes sense. It also made sense in 2018 and was a focus then, too.
FSU is still using the same wide splits that it used in 2018 for its receivers.
Finally, the offensive line is still bad. This was arguably the worst OL in the Power 5 in 2018, and it still looked bad. Bad, in fact, would be a big step forward from what it was in 2018, and perhaps an achievable goal in 2018, with below average being a stretch goal.
However, it is important to note that likely starters Landon Dickerson and Cole Minshew did not play due to injury. And that grad transfer tackle Ryan Roberts is not arriving on campus until Summer, but is widely expected to start. The squads were also split in two, further diluting the talent pool.
It did look less disorganized, though. The only procedure (false start, illegal formation, illegal motion) penalty on offense in the first half was on true freshman Dontae Lucas. That’s an improvement over last year.
New center Baveon Johnson’s snaps, previously a major area of concern, looked better. While James Blackman struggled to catch a few cleanly, there were none launched over his head or bounced to him. They were in the target zone.
FSU seemed intent on securing its double teams before climbing to the second level. While linebackers did shoot gaps when this took too long, getting movement at the point of attack seemed to be the goal. Granted, with the quality of player FSU has up front, sometimes goals do not matter.