That was quite an impressive beginning to the 2010 season and the Jimbo Fisher era in Tallahassee. The familiar but uncomfortable mediocrity of the past decade under Bobby Bowden has now been replaced by a new energy and lots of positive upside for the Seminoles who are now on the road to an ACC title in the weak ACC Atlantic division.
Let's recap some of the factors that made the Seminoles capable of such an impressive effort against the Bulldogs.
Mark Stoops and his zone defense has taken hold and smoothed out a lot of bumps that the higher risk man coverage scheme that was a staple of the Mickey Andrews led defenses at FSU. By playing a conservative, disciplined zone scheme, the quarterback was pressured not as a direct effect of a pass rush from the front seven but as a result of "coverage sacks."
Dustin Taliaferro was running for his life the entire first half and as a result was not able to make many good decisions and complete many passes deep down the field. The Seminole secondary was able to make life easy for itself as a merit of nothing more than playing good zone defense and making decision making difficult for the Samford QB.
Rick Trickett's offensive line did a superb job of both pass protecting and of creating room for the running backs. Ponder and Manuel were both comfortable and had no problems in making good decisions because of the room they were afforded by the offensive line, one of the most experienced in college football.
A good team needs a good offensive line in order to be successful and FSU's front five seem to be our strongest asset in creating a team capable of making a run in the ACC and possibly at the BCS in 2010 and most definitely in 2011.
2010 will also be a year where the Seminole backfield will be able to consistently produce and take pressure off of Ponder and the aerial game and be a threat in itself to turn games around. Everything must first start with solidly running the ball and FSU looks to be able to do so efficiently and with enough conviction to make the pass game more effective.
Intensity, swagger, hustle, that extra something is something that FSU had been missing in the past few years and the special teams unit has already shown with a blocked punt and Greg Reid's returned punt for six that this team will have that verve and vinegar to take it to the next step and make a difference in games not just physically but mentally and psychologically.
That attitude and confidence that the Seminoles showed in Tallahassee today has them set up to realistically compete with Oklahoma in Norman in a week's time and to regain their rightful place at the top of the ACC and eventually at the top of the college football scene