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Notre Dame Football

Florida State Notes

September 30, 2020

Miami and Florida State is one of the iconic college football rivalries of the last three decades. Even with both programs going through recent struggles, it’s still a game that matters, especially in the ACC.

After watching the game on Saturday, it’s fairly clear that Miami is going to be a contender in the conference this season. It’s 100% clear that Florida State is nowhere near a contender and this season is going to be about rebuilding more than winning.

It’s important to note that Florida State does not have defensive end Josh Kaindoh and safety Hamsah Nasrildeen. Those are two of their best players and that matters. It also matters a lot that their best player on offense, wide receiver Tamorrion Terry, was limited to 14 plays.

Taking those three out of the equation took away much chance of them beating Miami.

That doesn’t excuse 12 penalties for 113 yards, generally getting whooped up front, or that gadget play disaster that essentially ended the game when it happened.

Mike Norvell was not coaching this game due to contracting Covid-19, but him being on the sidelines wasn’t going to fix all that’s wrong with FSU. Miami exposed their flaws and showed that the Seminoles are in the middle tier at best in the conference in 2020.

FSU Offense

- Kirk Herbstreit pointed it out on the telecast that FSU looked good on the first drive of the game when they were working off of a script. They used quarterback runs and attacked the perimeter to move the ball. They played at a good tempo and had the Miami defense on their heels with some misdirection and influence blocks.

It was all downhill from there when they had to get into the flow of the game. This is not a good offense from top to bottom. They might gain some confidence this weekend going against an FCS opponent, but they aren’t getting it fixed before they travel to Notre Dame.

They have too many personnel holes and the only player who looked somewhat dynamic was backup quarterback Jordan Travis.

He was used in a variety of ways (Wildcat quarterback, running back, receiver) and he averaged 7.4 yards per carry. But if a Wildcat quarterback is your most productive asset on offense, that’s a problem.

- I mentioned Terry didn’t play much. He’s not healthy and we’ll see if he’s ready this weekend before they play Notre Dame. He did have one touch on a jet sweep that was tackled for -4 yards. When he’s 100%, he’s a big play threat who they will target deep.

- The offensive line was who I thought they were. They got dominated for most of the night, especially left tackle Darius Washington (four pressures against). It was a terrible matchup against Miami’s defensive line.

They gave up six sacks on the day and the Miami defense had an overall Havoc Rate of 27.4%.

I know there is a very good chance Notre Dame will be rusty when they play FSU, but they are going to be so much better up front than FSU that it might not much impact.

- Starting quarterback James Blackman had a rough day. He’s not good enough to do it on his own and he did not handle the pressure he faced very well. He averaged 4.6 yards per attempt and in addition to being sacked numerous times, he also had to throw the ball away four other times.

They couldn’t protect long enough for him and I’m not sure if it was because Terry was unavailable, but he didn’t attempt one deep pass in the game. He had zero throws that went 20 yards or longer. The previous game against Georgia Tech he had nine. He wasn’t very accurate on those so that might play a part in it too.

I doubt he is going to remain the quarterback the whole season, but I don’t believe they have many other good options.

FSU Defense

- They got eaten alive by tempo and the quick game. Miami quarterback D’Eriq King was so efficient and accurate. FSU gave up 6.08 yards per play with only giving up one play of 30 yards or more on the day.

- King was phenomenal in this game. His 65 yards rushing was huge and I mentioned how accurate he was, but they pretty much had zero pressure against him.

The previous week they had quite a big against Georgia Tech so there has to be a lot of credit given to Miami’s offensive line. They were horrific last season and look much better, especially at picking up the blitz. FSU played a lot of 3 down in this game and dropping eight was a big mistake. King picked that apart.

- Miami converted on 14 of 22 on 3rd or 4th downs. When you can't rush the passer, that’s going to happen. I didn’t see anything from them that made me think they’ll generate a lot of pressure on Ian Book.

- They had some coverage busts in this game, which pretty much fits with how undisciplined FSU’s defense has played since late in the Jimbo Fisher era. Miami actually missed on some big plays when there were busts as well.

Part of the reason for the busts was how bad they dealt with tempo. That’s something to think about with Notre Dame if they want to try and catch FSU on something.

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