BC is now in playoff mode. Win and move on. Run the table and we win the division. It all starts this Saturday against Florida State. To get a better feel for this year's 'Noles, I asked Bill from Scalpem.com a few questions. His answers are below.
1. Everyone is talking about the improvement of your offensive line. How have they dealt with big defensive tackles (like BC has)? Also, which teams have given them the most trouble?
Scalpem.com: Here's the story on the offensive line, they're young, improving, but they are not good pass blockers yet. Basically, big, slower, run-stoppers shouldn't give them a problem, but a speedy pass rusher has a good shot to get to the FSU QBs. Wake Forest did it all night against the Noles early in the season. They were quick to the QB, harassed the backfield and generally disrupted anything the offense tried to do. The key for the Noles is to make sure they can run the ball, even on BC's big tackles. If Jermaine Thomas and Antone Smith establish themselves early, it takes away from what BC can do with the blitz, which gives Christian Ponder some time, and the receivers a chance to be a big part of the game.
2. Your defensive stats don't seem to tell the whole story. For example FSU's yards per game is not in line with your points per game stats. What caused the disparity?
Scalpem.com: Two high school teams (FCS) count in those stats. The defense isn't quite as good as a lot of opponents think, but they probably aren't as bad as I think either. Part of the PPG issue is the Miami game, where the defense didn't give up a bunch of those points, the offense and special teams did. Either way you slice it, FSU isn't shutting out the ACC competition, but the offense has improved enough from the previous 5-6 years that it's not as important to hold teams to 10 points or under this season. The defensive line is very good, the linebackers are good as unit, but there are no superstars this season, and the secondary leaves a lot to be desired at times.
3. How do you think the coach in waiting thing is working? If Florida State doesn't win the division will the pressure be on Bowden or Fisher?
Scalpem.com: I don't think there's much pressure on either one of them this season. To be honest, I think the realistic FSU fans thought that 8 wins was doable at the beginning of the season. Then the ACC decided to turn into a free for all. Fisher is slowly taking over the program. He's intense in the press conferences, and Bobby Bowden basically defers to him on any QB / Offensive game plan questions. Either way Fisher has it good right now, if he doesn't get the head coaching job by the January 2010, FSU owes him a cool $1.5 million dollars. As for the division title, if FSU doesn't win it next year, with a much improved offensive line, two QBs that have only played under Fisher and emerging star Jermaine Thomas at RB, then there will be a lot of questions posed to Jimbo. Bobby will never feel any heat from anyone important, he saved FSU football, the field is named after him and there's a statue of him out front. He gets to make the call on when to quit.
4. What is your prediction for the game?
Scalpem.com: FSU hasn't had a ton of luck in the blackout games, but I think they'll get it done on Saturday night. The Seminoles improve bit by bit each week, so Saturday night shouldn't be any different. Look for Jermaine Thomas to have another big game with his limited touches and be sure to watch Graham Gano, the best kicker in the nation (17/17, 5 FGs over 50 yards this season). Defensively, see if Budd Thacker can get some pressure on the BC backfield and QB. However, I think this one is closer than a lot of Noles fans think... Noles 31 Eagles 28.
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