My Belated FSU Summary

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst ISeptember 21, 2009

Belated Synopsis of FSU Game


Here are some of the excuses I’ve heard as to why we did not show up and play, some of them I agree with and others I disagree with.

Bronco did not prepare the defensive line for such a physical game.  FSU was holding the whole game.  Our linebackers were not playing down hill.  Russell Tialavea went out of the game on the first FSU offensive drive.  Scott Johnson was not on the field to lead the defensive unit vocally and to make plays.  We did not cause any turnovers to get the momentum to swing our way etc etc.

My thoughts are these.  Football 101: Run the football and set up for play action pass.  First thing you need to figure out is how to stop the run, which we could not do unfortunately.

I blame the linebackers and safeties more than I do the defensive line. You might all scoff at this but let me explain.  The reason I say this is due to the fact that we could not beat their guys in our one on one situations (when we did of course we couldn’t wrap up) but when no one is winning one on one battles in the front seven, it should almost always come down to a safety coming down hill and making a one on one tackle as the running has to bounce outside of the tackles.

In a typical offensive formation and running play you have 5 O-linemen 2 running backs, a tight end and one running back.  Do the math… 8 offensive players, 7 of those being blockers.  On our defensive front we have 3 down linemen and 4 linebacker’s.  So if you there are 7 blocking 7, you have to win a one on one battle if you want to tackle the ball carrier.  And we just couldn’t do it.  So now it lays on the shoulders of our secondary to make a tackle because the safeties are free….

So we also had an inexperienced free safety who was more concerned about getting beat deep than coming up on the run (as he should be).  He was very tentative in coming up on the run… b/c in reality he shouldn’t have to most of the time, we should be able to have one or two players win in a one on one setting.  He did make many tackles at about 6-10 yards down field though, and for a true freshman it really was a solid performance on his part.  But in college football it is rather easy to get a solid run pass read, and if the D line stagnates the oline and the linebackers can meet the guards or full backs going up to the second level at about 2 yards, then the RB will have to bounce it outside.  This should give the FS plenty of time to get a run/pass read, come inside out with his J technique and make a tackle for a 2 to 3 yard gain.

Let me reiterate just in case I’m not clear, because we all know I’m not a marvelous writer by any means.  I just think there is no reason any team should ever be able to run between the tackles of our team.  It should always bounce outside the tackles and our safeties should be coming down hill after getting their run/pass key and come inside out  (J technique) and make a secure tackle.  Our D Line was able to hold up the FSU Oline for most of the game, (they were pushed back into the linebackers on occasion but not often) this stand still at the line of scrimmage essentially creates gaps for our linebackers to come down hill and take on blocks.  If our linebackers do not get a proper run/pass key they get caught on their haunches and start catching their blocks at 5 yards on the defensive side of the ball.   The argument to this theory would be the speed of the backs when they get outside the tackle.  But I’m a strong believer of great angles and Bills is plenty athletic and fast to run down any d 1 running back with a inside out angle IMHO.

I just focus on what we can control and I think we could have controlled their running game to an extent between the tackles.

It’s hard to control a quarterback that is a dual threat though.  You really can’t blame the defense for having great coverage downfield and then having a quarterback scramble and make a play.  I do however think that they could have implemented (only on obvious passing situations), a middle backer spy and put in a more agile pass rushing crew, with only a 3 man rush.   I would have put Shiloah or Rich in at nickel and told him to roam with the quarterback.  It’s dangerous though because it leaves your d line with 2 double teams, 3 vs 5 gives Ponder a whole lot of time to look down field.

The last two games have shown that we still have a little problem with tackling in the secondary and open field tackling.  The quick screen on either side has gained considerable yardage in both the FSU and Tulane games.  Logan is a considerable improvement from last year, but he missed three open field tackles against Tulane and a few against FSU.

Bradley is not showing up at all on the week side run.  He lingers in the backfield waiting for the RB to either hit the C gap hard or run outside the tackle. Offenses will take advantage of those 7 -10 yard gains all year.  Every single game the opposing offense has gained decent yardage.  He also got beat outside when he was supposed to contain on that 60-70 yard run down the side ine.  He got lured into the pile and the RB got around him, no ifs and or buts about it.


It’s a simple resolution.  Ball security, teach Max to throw the ball away and for the love of all that’s holy! Move the pocket for Max, Run a boot leg, run a sprint out pass! He is a sitting duck against better pass rushing teams.

Maximus is a good quarterback guys!  Does he force things, yes, but I feel he has never been taught to just throw the ball away when things break down.  This might be due to a number of different factors.  One being that his coach is Doman.  Doman would scramble and try to make a play when things broke down.  He was also much more agile in the pocket and more backside aware than Maximus.  So naturally I’m sure his own ability and experiences trickle down to those he coaches.

Who knows though, I’m just speculating.  I just wish he would throw the ball away and that we would get him outside the pocket a bit so he’s not a sitting duck.  After all, against OK on our final scoring drive we had two big plays on sprint outs.

One to Pitta on the 4th and short and then the culminating Jacobson TD in the endzone.   Against FSU we had the out and up for a touch down to Mckay, all I’m saying is that we should do it a little more often and see what happens.

We ran the ball great… well Harvey did before he tweaked his hamstring.  Sheesh Harvey has great vision! I love watching him run.  I’m just afraid that he hurt his hamstring and he won’t be back to 100% now until mid season.

Our O line really did a nice job against FSU.  It should have been a total shoot out if we had not given up those two fumbles.

Nevertheless, when Maximus is behind by so much he wants to make plays.  He therefore starts locking in on receivers and forcing passes that he would have otherwise not thrown.   In the second half he stopped going through his progressions and looking to his check downs, which ultimately resulted in turnovers.

At any rate, discuss and tell me what you think.  Let’s move on to CSU and go undefeated the rest of the year.   Because Oklahoma and FSU will both be in the top ten at the end of year my friedns.   And we might just be BCS bound as a one loss team.  Don’t lose hope.  No National Championship, but I think we still have a very good chance to make it to a BCS game!

Go Cougs! And sorry for any grammatical errors you might find.