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Three (over)reactions from Florida State’s second scrimmage

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Year zero program, practice patience.

Florida State Sports Information

Scrimmage two is in the box for Florida State Seminoles football and, well, it was a mixed bag for the squad. The offensive line did not perform to the best of their abilities and it seems as though a number of players did not participate in the scrimmage. In scrimmage two you want to see progress so it’s disappointing to hear the offense regressed. This was after a week of practice that the coaches raved about the efforts on both sides of the ball.

As always though we are here to (over)react to the clips we get shared with us, courtesy of Florida State Sports Information.

Josh Griffis

I’ve noticed this as a popular play on social media for some reason. Let the Gator and Cane fans laugh it up over this play because I see a freshman DE who is going to be a headache for them in the future.

This is an RPO and the offense got caught by a good run blitz. Griffis does a nice job of squeezing with the tackle (meaning he stays hip to hip as the tackle blocks inside) and is in position to make a play on the handoff.

Now, is there a player missing there? I can’t be sure without a playsheet in front of me but there is not a lot there for the offense. This happens in games when the defense guesses right. Not much that James Blackman can do on this play with two unblocked defenders. You can see Blackman’s eyes are reading Lundy who crashes but the defense has the offense outnumbered and Lundy is squatting on James.

This is encouraging from Griffis though as he continues to be around the ball. He is going to make some plays this year as a true freshman. We continue to see a trend of freshman making plays in fall camp.

The youth of this roster is vital for Norvell and company moving forward.

Running Game

By all accounts, the offensive line did not find much success Saturday night in Doak Campbell Stadium.

However, on this run by Lawrance Toafili there is good movement against FSU’s second team front-7. We see more counter action by the offensive line and a slippery run by Toafili cutting against the grain and finding a seam.

The clip above we praised Griffis for staying attached to the offensive tackle but on this play he stays wide and it creates a seam. I have seen the FOX spill on plays like this before and wonder if Griffis messed up.

Toafili is able to put a nice move on fellow freshman DJ Lundy in the hole and burst for a nice gain. Toafili is able to make moves like this because he keeps his shoulders square to the hole. If he rushed to commit one direction or the other he would be out of position.

The offensive line does a nice job on this play. Brady Scott pulls inside out and kicks Griffis (I’d like to see him be into the line more), Devontay Love-Taylor looks agile wrapping around with nobody to block, and Baveon Johnson has a key block on Robert Cooper backside. All in all this is a play Alex Atkins and Norvell can be excited about when watching the film.

As these freshman get more reps in Norvell’s system they will continue to gain confidence. By seasons end we may see the freshman playing a bigger role for the offense as Norvell looks to get his guys on the field.

James Blackman

Let’s talk about the plays here.

You get a quick throw to Helton (where the ball actually comes out quick), a shot in the flat to the RB (which we’ve seen James look off in the past), a throw in the middle of the field to his TE (which is spot on), and last but not least, a go route that is on target. This is a wide range of throws that James is spot on throwing. There is plenty of reason to be excited by this and hope that he can find success in his fourth offense.

Blackman has been beaten up by Seminole fans and “experts” over the last few months but I’m here to tell you this isn’t 2019 James Blackman.

The release is better as is the lower half. His release suddenly is more over the top and his elbow actually gets above the shoulder line. There are reasons to be excited about these adjustments to James’ mechanics (and his willingness to buy-in and change). Decision making is the final box to check for Blackman, and we won’t know about his progress there until we get to see him in game.

Bonus (over)reaction

But CoachAB, where is all of the talk about the defense?

Well, my Tomahawk Nation friends, that would have just been too easy. This is a defense that has a chance to be very good (even though some question their ceiling against a bad OL). The starting group played limited snaps in the scrimmage and that is because the staff knows what they have. This is a group that knows how to evaluate and they’ve evaluated how loaded some of the first team defense is.

Now is the time for us to start paying close attention to trends. Norvell and co. have been discussing communication quality increasing over the last few weeks and it doesn’t seem like it carried over to the scrimmage on Saturday.

“We had some miscommunication today that cost some problems, I want to be faster in our communication...I didn’t think we were communicating as fast as I’d like us to be, they played fast, but I think we need to do a better job getting the calls, making sure we’re set, any additional communication that needs to take play.”

Let’s see if that is a trend that continues in practice this week. Offensively, they need to get all of their pieces on the field and moving in the same direction. Three weeks into repping a new offense it is to be expected — now, with game time approaching, can they fit their schemes to what is on the field?

These are my overreactions from Saturday’s action. Now, it’s time for yours — what stood out to you? And what are you looking for moving forward?