Deondre Francois drops back and throws it to Tammorion Terry for the longest completion by a freshman since Warrick Dunn in 1993 against Florida. It was a play-action fake with a wide receiver beating his man and the quarterback recognizing him being open.
This is what Willie Taggart’s “lethal simplicity” offense is supposed to look like.
FSU picked up its first win of the season against an FBS opponent this past Saturday defeating Northern Illinois in a yo-yo style game. You could see what Taggart is trying to do offensively, the team just has to execute.
The first half saw FSU run over 50 plays with only one penalty. The first quarter was more dominate, all gas and no brakes.
Francois looked confident, showing more pocket awareness. He climbed the pocket when pressured and picked apart the NIU defense outside of a few bad decisions in the first drive that that the Huskies weren’t able to capitalize on.
Jacques Patrick ran hard and I noticed the offense was attacking more. There wasn’t as much east-to-west play design, more downhill and vertical in the attacks.
The defense played well across the board early, but definitely didn’t keep it up.
FSU stalled during the second and third quarters. The focus wasn’t there; a noticeable lack of attention to detail and guys not executing their jobs. The offense wasn’t making plays like it did in the first quarter.
You can’t scheme for turnovers. Two fumbles in the second quarter killed momentum.
The lack of a consistent pass rush is troubling, but not as troubling as the ability for teams to get behind FSU’s defensive backs. The strongest position group on defense going into the season is seemingly a liability.
Teams are picking on Levonta Taylor who was considered one of the best defensive backs in the nation coming into the season. In four games he’s given up four touchdowns. FSU is playing around with who plays where in the secondary, but NIU was able to move the ball in the 4th quarter thanks to a combo of coverage breakdowns and lack of pressure on the quarterbacks.
The one thing a win can do more than anything is help create confidence. These players still have a lot to learn about the new offensive and defensive systems. Taggart still has to achieve buy-in from his players.
It was noticeable the energy the younger players brought when they entered the game. FSU needs to find ways to involve Terry more in the offense; freshman wide receiver Tre’Shaun Harrison looks like he’ll be a beast.
Francois played better and worse at the same time, if that’s possible. At times, you can see how he is the best choice in the offense; you can also see where he locks in on receivers and doesn’t read the defense the way you’re supposed to. The QB makes this offense go in every aspect, run and pass. Defensive ends respect the run game and collapse to the middle so he must use his legs, pull the ball back and run out wide so that rushing lanes will eventually open up for the backs. Running when he doesn’t believe anyone is open will affect the passing game and help the offensive line out. Not forcing passes will also help.
The game wasn’t perfect, but it’s a win. Another win against Louisville this week puts FSU in a better situation, record-wise, than it was in last year.
What fans are looking for is progression and this was the first time that the offense looked, less offensive, so to speak. The next order of business is controlling fumbles and penalties so that lack of discipline doesn’t kill drives.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/seminoles-show-progress-for-first-time-under-willie-taggart