Florida State will look to bounce back from it's less than mediocre performance against Oklahoma a week ago and will shift their focus to yet another spread attack in Brigham Young University. A year ago at this time Florida State had lost it's season opener to Miami and had barely escaped Jacksonville State. Many predicted they would be blown out by the then seventh ranked BYU, but the 'Noles had other plans resulting in a blowout win and what appeared to be a huge turn-around.
The only problem is that Florida State still managed to only win six regular season games after their huge win against BYU, so this game has a lot riding on it. All summer we heard about the new defense and the new attitudes in Tallahassee and hopefully last week was just a hiccup, but still the game against BYU has huge seasons implications riding on it.
The game will focus on whether or not Heisman hopeful quarterback Christian Ponder can regain his confidence and poise and perform to the way he is expected. Last week Ponder failed to impress even his most loyal fans and the end result was a terrible team performance. Ponder is the unquestioned leader of this team, he has put himself in position to earn that right; now he will need to show his leadership.
BYU features a two-quarterback system. Riley Nelson is the starter, but true freshman phenom Jake Heaps is just too good not to play. Coach Bronco Mendenhal is experimenting with the process and it seems to be working out quite well. Between the two quarterbacks, they have 350 yards passing and two touchdowns. Not exactly mind blowing numbers, but Nelson also is a scrambler. He has 140 yards rushing and a touchdown which puts even more pressure on the young Seminoles defense.
The key problem with this young BYU team is consistency. They started the season with a bang by beating the heavily hyped Washington team led by Heisman candidate Jake Locker, then they lost to Air Force the following week. Making the cross-country road trip to Florida isn't going to be easy for this young team either so finding consistency will prove to be a key factor.
One of the key focuses for this Florida State team is going to be finding their identity. They almost returned to square one last week when their offense failed to impress and the defensive woes continued. If the defense can come out and play more aggressive, while at the same time knowing their assignments, then BYU can be in for a very long day.
This game can very well determine much for both teams. BYU needs to bounce back from their loss to Air Force while Florida State needs a win to show they are making strides. The game should provide plenty of offense, but both defenses will be under the microscope come Saturday.