Thursday, October 26, 2006

Seminole Scout

We have a guest commentator regarding the upcoming Florida State game. Rich from ChantRant was gracious enough to answer a few questions on the state of FSU's season. I'm not sure anyone expected Florida State to be sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Division at this point in the season and Rich helps to shed some light on why that has happened.

The FSU offense seems to be fairly one dimensional at the moment. While Drew Weatherford has been able to pile up stats the offense as a whole seems to struggle scoring. What is the major factor causing this problem?

The offense went one-dimensional in the Duke game. The coaches never announced that they've given up on the run game, which they were determined to establish beginning in spring practice, but that seems to be the reality. Why? Mainly because of the offensive line. Injuries, graduation and too many guys falling out along the way has thinned the OL ranks. A new zone blocking scheme introduced last year isn't paying great dividends. And the line is just far better at pass blocking than opening big holes. So it was simply smart to go with their strength. Now FSU uses the pass to set up the run, instead of the other way around earlier in the year. But backs still get plenty of chances to run, thanks to shovel passes, screens and short stuff.

The Seminole defense is known for keeping opponents out of the endzone and creating turnovers. This season the unit hasn't excelled at either, ranking 8th in scoring defense and 9th in turnover differential. At times they have looked dominating and then merely mediocre, why the inconsistency?

Big problem with FSU's defense is simply injuries. Three or four starter are lost for the season, and other key players for several games at a clip. But backups is where the team really hurts. Three backup linebackers, who played a lot early in the year, all are out. Last week FSU started FOUR true freshman — a first for a team that likes to redshirt rookies. So a defense that's always had the luxury of rotating lots of guys in and out, now is playing younger guys with little or no rest in-game. At least they're catching on fast. Last week that patchwork, youthful defense gave up only ten points and allowed B.C. just two sustained drives (the Eagle's other scores came off an interception and a fumble that set them up at FSU's 1-yd. line).

If WR De'Cody Fagg isn't able to play who will take the pressure off of Greg Carr in the passing game?

The Noles would miss De'Cody Fagg at WR. But two of the threestarters, Greg Carr and Chris Davis, are healthy. Fagg's backup last week was Joslin Shaw who made one catch. The wild card is pure freshman TE Brandon Warren — if he's back from an injury that kept him out of the B.C. game. In the first half of the season he gave the Noles a real weapon at a position usually consigned to blocking. He reminds me a lot of Maryland's super TE who was drafted in the first round this year.

Any player who could be ready for a breakout game versus Maryland?

De'Cody Fagg's absence or limited play could open the door for a breakout game by freshman Damon McDaniel. The kid demonstrated confidence, speed and absolutely no first-game jitters during the Duke game where he snagged his first TD pass.

Thanks to Rich for some great insights!

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