Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Florida State
I obviously enjoyed and appreciated this game the first time through. The second time gave me new respect for the coordinators. Both had great game plans and if not for a few plays here and there, BC would have blown out the Seminoles.
Game manager Chris Crane was pretty good passing the ball. Only four really bad throws on his part. Sure he was a little off when trying to hit guys in stride, but overall he threw well. Even the INT was not entirely his fault (Tennant’s man batted the ball). Crane made good reads on the option runs as well. My main problem were the fumbles. Both fumbles were as much mental mistakes as they were bad luck or great plays by FSU. When running he should know to protect it with two hands. The other fumble was as the pocket was collapsing. Crane needs to be aware and be cognizant of the potential strip. When giving a final assessment though, it was his best game since NC State.
Montel Harris got deserved praise throughout the broadcast. His ability to stop and start and get an extra yard or two is a deadly combo. He also showed surprising strength on the TD run. Harris wasn’t perfect though. His passive block led to Crane getting crushed on one of Crane’s fumbles. Josh Haden didn’t have as much success running the ball, but his long catch on the swing pass was a great example of what he can do in space. It’s exciting to know we get to watch them both over the next four years.
Rich Gunnell had another very good game. In addition to his touchdown, he also deserves kudos for his big block on the long Haden catch. Robinson had a decent game. He made some big catches but also had a few drops. Jarvis was solid and probably has the best hands on the team. The other WRs weren’t as involved in the passing. Purvis and Anderson were used on the field together throughout the night (mostly in place of McCluskey). Anderson played well. Purvis didn’t get thrown to but he blocked well.
The offensive line got better as the game wore on. Ramsey was excellent again and did a great job in both aspects of the game. I don’t think he’ll get the pub needed, but he’s really having an all conference season. Castonzo had a little problem with their speed rushers early but locked in during the second half. Tennant was very good. The one mistake was when his man tipped Crane’s pass. Claiborne had his best game of the season. Lapham struggled early and had a few mistakes but settled in and was very good in the second half.
Logan called a great game. We showed them new wrinkles (the Gunnell end-arounds). We were patient with the run. We kept them off balance with the passing and when the game was on the line we ran and ran and ran. My one minor complaint was the redzone offense. It was very cautious and we left points on the board.
Newman played well. Giles and Ramellas were okay. They kept contain for the most part but couldn’t close. Ramsey didn’t get as involved. Scafe was limited but played well. Rossi was also very good. Raji – awesome. Not as dominant as the Notre Dame game but still very good. He helped force their running game to the edge all night. Brace was right there with him and had a good game.
Brent and Kirk gushed over Herzy. He was good but didn’t play as well as they said. He had trouble with man coverage against the smaller guys. He also had trouble closing on Ponder a few different times. Don’t get me wrong…he was a positive factor in the game, just not as good as some of his recent effort. McLaughlin had one of his better games. He was punishing guys throughout and made good tackles. Francois continues to play well in place of Toal. He was good in run stopping and is a good tackler.
The DBs were excellent as a group. Bowman had the game of his life. First the INT and later a critical sack on Ponder. He also tackled well. Fletcher had the interception and an all around solid game. Davis was very, very good and active all over the field. The head-to-head call on him was BS. Gause might be our most physical corner. He hits hard and the strength he showed on his INT was impressive. What I like about all the DBs is that none of them seem to lack confidence when in single coverage. The only one who struggled a bit on Saturday was Anderson. He got tripped up on the TD pass and missed a few tackles. Akins played closer to the line in more of a LB role. He was okay. He made some plays but also had a few tackling miscues.
Spaz once again used the blitz sparingly but teased it enough to have Ponder guessing. We also were prepared for nearly everything they showed. The tackling was good and we generated multiple turnovers again. The team was well prepared, adjusted and confused the opponent. No complaints from me.
Special teams: B-
The kickoffs were not great. I understand what they are trying to do (keep it short and out of the playmakers’ hands). But we are not doing it well and handing the other team great filed position.
The field goals were chip shots that Stevie handled well.
The punting wasn’t great but the punt coverage was very good.
Harris looked good returning the kicks. Smith didn’t
Our own black shirts and the onsides kick are the obvious things you could point to as good moves by Jags. However, those gimmicky things overlooks the more substantial aspects of the game prep. Say what you will about FSU being overrated, they still have real talent all over the field. Yet Jags and his staff designed a plan that exploited their weaknesses. I also give Jags credit for keeping this team focused in this stretch. Things could have fallen apart at various times this year. Injuries and QB issues have undone many seasons for many teams. Yet this team rallied from its two game skid to put together two excellent games. Now let’s see how we do in the actual driver’s seat.