Yesterday was frustrating. Frustrating to watch. Frustrating to hear. Frustrating to experience. The game wasn’t really in doubt. But the allowance of a team that allowed USC’s porous defense to keep it to 7 total points; the allowance of a team with no real weapons to run roughshod on a defense packed with talent equaled by few; that was just hard to watch. 5+ yards per play is simply not indicative of a defense that is “ready.” That doesn’t mean that the game didn’t display what this defense “can” do. This defense showed that it can shut things down when it needs to. But the reality is, we are seeing a very dangerous trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Defensive focus is lacking, to put it lightly, at the start of games and gets better somewhere about 8 minutes left in the second quarter. It was that way vs. Pitt. It was that way vs. Nevada. It was that way vs. Bethune Cookman. And it was on full display yesterday.
That doesn’t mean that everything was bad. 48 points is nice. Having a quarterback that you completely feel safe and comfortable with is awesome. Having receivers that can be clutch and shine is wonderful. Having a kicker that can boot it and bail you out when you stall is sweet. But it leaves you in a position you don’t really need to be in: scoring to save your life. And when you continue to put yourself in that position against inferior competition, the trend becomes quit worrisome.
Jameis: He’s just going to be #1 up here until he proves otherwise. I mean goodness gracious. A kid can be a legend before he ever shows up. But to start from the blocks and write that legendary script takes something that most don’t have. Even down 17-3, I had no real fear. Minor irritation, but not fear. And the reason for that is Jameis Winston. He is calm. He doesn’t let things bother him. And while he tries to make some big plays where he should check down at times (of course he has the ability to actually make them), I have no qualms that he is going to make the play needed to win. And while the big play at the end of the half was beyond anything, I would submit that the TD throw to Rashad Green is what you should look at. Because that throw was insane. And he made it look easy.
Rashad and Kenny: While this sounds like some weird hybrid country music duo, these two are shining and proving to be explosive and dependable. And they are helping each other. They both run fantastic routes. They both catch just about anything thrown to them. And they both have the ability to make the special plays. You’re lucky to have one guy like that. Having two is icing. And to go along with the statement above about Jameis’s throw, Rashad’s catch on that same TD is why HE will make big money in the NFL one day. Kenny’s catch on “the play” is why HE will make money. Unreal concentration and ability.
Chad Abram – How about this kid. Neck roll and all, he is proving to be a nice weapon.
Freeman: Continues to impress. How about him showing he can truck a guy if he needs to? That was sweet to see. He has just grown so much as a running back. You adopt players subconsciously sometimes and he would be the one I think I just really pull for over and over.
Karlos: Hopefully he’s OK. Got dinged up somehow and by this writing I haven’t heard an update. But good golly how about seeing him on a short yardage run just plow the line. Shoulders down, full speed. Size, speed, destructive tendencies…man alive.
Robert Aguayo: I believe I saw that he had the record for most consecutive kicks made to start a career at Florida State. Nice. He really doesn’t appear to suffer any fear or anxiety as a kicker. He seems to relish it.
PJ Williams , Jalen Ramsey and the rest of the young guns: They’re still working on it, but these guys are so so talented. If they play within the system, they will continue to shine. The pick 6 was great, not because he made a special play, but because he played the coverage properly (the use of the referee as a blocker was pretty nice, though).
Defense- Un: Focus. I don’t understand what it is about this defense that they simply don’t come out focused. They are way off to start games. Discipline is horrible with guys way out of position and overpursuing, gaps aren’t being managed properly and it’s causing them to get physically manhandled up front. Now, I’m still not positive that we have anywhere near the right personnel to run what we’re trying to run, but when you’re playing inferior compeition, you shouldn’t be seeing the problem on such display. And that, IMO, is focus-related. I think that’s proven, honestly, by the fact that somewhere in the second quarter we shut these teams down. What was troubling yesterday was that we then lost focus again later. I want to say “Well, we’re still learning,” and that is true, but the curve should be flattening now. And it may be, but focus is part of that learning process. And right now, the concern is very high in that regard. Miami, Clemson, Maryland…all teams that will do damage and really put us in unrecoverable positions if we don’t fix it.
Defense – duex: Tackling. Maybe this is just a focus-lite issue. But our tackling was atrocious. Is this because we’re out of position? Is it because we’re trying to make plays instead of “making plays?” I don’t know, but man alive it was bad yesterday.
Kelvin Benjamin on non-Kelvin Benjamin plays: Son, you gotta do better. Catching balls isn’t all that is required of you. And quite frankly, your money is going to get earned when you aren’t catching it. Your lazy attempt at a block on a screen play caused a TD to be a 4 yard loss. Unacceptable. Quite frankly, even when it is thrown to you, you’re reverting to your lazy tendencies. I put that interception on you. All you had to do was step into the throw and use your body. Even if you don’t catch it, it’s not picked off due to a bad QB decision. You can and should be dominant. But you allow yourself to not be dominant.
Special Teams – Kick-off coverage: Just horrible. I don’t have much else to say. Just bad. Fix it.
That’s about it. I don’t have much else to really go over. We won by 2 touchdowns, scored 48 points and ran up 500 yards of offense for an average of around 7.1 per play if I recall. We were once again efficient and explosive. No need for balance yesterday with the deep zone they played, but we obviously utilized that with our passing game. The complaints right now are fully on defense and special teams. The problems are glaring and controllable. Either we fix them or we will lose more than 1/2 games this year. We play two offenses that will flat destroy us if we don’t. We play another that certainly could scare us. Happy with the win, disappointed with some of the effort.
In other words, take the money and run.