clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Defensive Film Review: Clemson vs. FSU

New, comments
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

This is long and I encourage you to read this installments.  I'm going to provide more detail for the big games this year and less for the cupcakes. I'm also making a conscious effort to keep it as simple as possible for the casual fan. However, if you want to learn, you are going to have to try even if it's only a play or two a week that you fully digest. I'll use pictures for the pivotal plays if you want to skip to just those. If you rewatch the game, or even parts of it, this can be used as a companion piece.

Since the game has already been discussed thoroughly, let's get right to the review.

Here is a key for my shorthand in alphabetical order in case you need to refer back to it as you read this: Blast = FB lead play in the C gap with a kick out on the DE or seal on the LB. Bullet -ILB A or B gap blitz.  Crack- WR blocks down on S or LB.  C0, C1, C2, C3, C4 =  we are playing Cover "x."  Dog (overload)- LB and S/NB blitz on the same side. EM = end man on the line of scrimmage. ET stunt - Tackle shoots outside gap and end loops around on the inside.  Iso = FB lead play in the A or B gap.  IZ = Inside Zone Run, Jailbreak - 7 or more blitz.  LOS = Line of Scrimmage. man = man to man.  OZ = outside zone run.   PBU- Pass broken up.  Power = FB/RB/H-B kicks out EM, backside OG leads into B gap hole. Power Sweep = FB lead to the D gap with OG pulling around. Sky - FS moves up two yards, takes flat, CB and FS take deep third.  Slant Right/Left - DL slants in one direction in unison Smoke- S or NB blitz from the outside D gap.  Soft Coverage - CBs/NB playing well of the WR until he gets to the 1st down line.  Student Body Left/Right = FB lead play to the D gap with all uncovered linemen pulling.  Sweep = FB/ HB lead play to the D gap.  Stack - the 3 LBs are stacked behind D linemen.  Stalk - WR blocks CB in front of him.  TFL = tackle for loss.

Coach/Player shorthand: BV = Brent Venables, Mac = MacKenzie Alexander, Tank = Cordrea Tankersley, The Gambler = Garry Peters, The Fire Ant = Martin Jenkins, SM = FSU QB Sean Maguire, KW = FSU RB Karlos Williams, NOL = FSU TE Nick O'Leary, RG = FSU WR Rashad Greene

Here is a guide to Personnel groupings. I will include WRs as well to make it easier.  Ex. "123 personnel" would be 1 RB, 2 TEs, and 3 WRs.

Image002_zps89832240_medium

1st QUARTER

13:49, FSU 26, 1st and 10, 0-0

221 I formation vs. base 4-3, toss sweep strong, Goodson sets the edge, Anthony fills the A gap and drops KW (Karlos Williams) for a 4 yard loss, the FSU pulling guard passed Anthony for Kearse.

212 I formation vs. base 4-3 C1 man, bootleg wide, Crawford pressures, excellent coverage, SM (Sean Maguire) throws to NOL (Nick O'Leary) double covered by Anthony and Kearse at the LOS, incomplete

113 personnel Vs. 3-2-6 Dime C2-5 Under, they max protect but we only rush 3, BV wins this round, excellent coverage, Maguire throws it away in the area of RG (Rashad Greene) who was double covered by Mac and Smith.

Image002_zps74b74e8b_medium

PUNT

11:02, FSU 20, 1st and 10, 0-0

212 personnel vs. base 4-3 C1 man, shotgun sweep and reverse to RG, Crawford stays home and sets edge, turns him inside and cleaned up by Williams, loss of 3

212 personnel vs. 4-3 over C2 with Goodson in the slot wide side, pass to NO on a drag, tackle by Goodson for a gain of 7.

113 personnel vs. 4-1-6 Dime C2 man under, SM hits the slot WR, Wilson, on a dig route, Jenkins gives proper cushion and lets him break right past the sticks, Smith is in robber on the other side and is late getting there, quick decision and strong throw with a man in his face for the first down gain.

Image003_zps0748fc93_medium


1st and 10, FSU 37, 212 personnel vs. 4-3 over C2, time out FSU, play clock.

203 personnel vs. 4-2-5 Nickel, WR screen wide, horrible block by the FSU WR, The Gambler blows it up, WR avoids the loss by dropping the ball, don't WR screen Da Gambla, best one step change on the team.

122 personnel vs. base 4-3, beautifully set up screen, Maguire looks off Anthony and throws back to KW who has a 3 OL convoy and only Goodson in the way,  everybody but Goodson is fooled, after some jukes Crawford hustles down to get him.

Image004_zps438f7d97_medium

1st and 10, Clem 35, I formation vs. base 4-3 man, OZ play cutback into the middle, where (brace yourself) Tony Steward fills the gap and makes the play for a gain of 2.

212 personnel vs. base 4-3 slot uncovered, Maguire passes incomplete into the flat, had a RB open with Goodson trailing, SM's first mistake of the night.

113 personnel vs. 4-2-5 Nickel (Wiggins at NB) MLB bullet A gap, halfway through the 1Q we get our first blitz of the night, Anthony quickly gets by the C and forces Maguire to throw it away and stay in FG range, Roberto Aguayo smiles with delight.

50 yard FG is right down the middle and would've been good from 60. This K is a weapon.   FSU leads 3-0

5:23, FSU 26, 1st and 10, 3-0 FSU

212 personnel vs. base 4-3, they are in a bunch with the TE standing up outside and Goodson doesn't know where to line up, play action off OZ, 7 step drop and all day to throw, NO pass rush by the front 4!, FSU floods the deep zone and Smith has to come from the backside, SM throws up a deep ball that is brought down by the WR with Smith on his back, Smith made up a lot of ground to get there, that play was slow developing and made possible by the FSU OL.

Image005_zps4779fb7f_medium

1st and 10, Clem 38, 212 personnel vs. 4-3 base man, false start FSU

1st and 15, Clem 43, 212 personnel vs. 4-3 base CB smoke, Maguire throws deep with Crawford in his face, Mac is all over RG, overthrown incomplete, Mac had a shot at an INT if it was on the money.

113 personnel vs. 4-2-5 Nickel, they try the screen again and Anthony is all over it, batted down at the line by Barnes.

104 personnel vs. Dime 3-2-6 ET stunt MLB smoke, we blitzed but we only rushed 4, Anthony comes through free, and SM has to throw it away.

PUNT

2nd QUARTER

14:52, FSU 29, 1st and 10, 3-3

113 personnel vs. 4-2-5 Nickel WLB bullet stunt, Power O at Beasley, Beasley throws NOL to the ground and makes the play. Gain of 1.

212 personnel vs. 4-3 Over, IZ to KW, DL and Anthony plug all the holes, nowhere to go, gain of 1. That's a good thing because Steward misread the play and went the wrong way.

113 personnel vs. 4-2-5 Nickel double bullets, Crawford peels off to take back out, OL squeezes to pick up the blitz and Beasley beats Erving with a dip and rip. Beasley gets Maguire on the sack with help from Anthony.

Image006_zps05a1e225_medium

Image007_zpsf055cce6_medium

Image008_zps30c929fa_medium

Image009_zpsf5b34f2c_medium

It was less than 3 seconds from the snap to the time Beasley made contact with Maguire.  That's not NFL size but that's NFL explosiveness.

PUNT

9:48, FSU 9, 1st and 10, 3-3

212 personnel vs. base 4-3, B gap Iso to Pender, Steward stuffs the FB, Barnes and Peters wrap him up for a loss

No camera angle pre-snap, bunch pattern to the wide side, nobody open, SM rolls left, tries to throw but Beasley blocks the shot like Tree Rollins on Mike Gminski, Mac can't stay inbounds on the INT. That could've been a gamechanger there but that's the way the ball bounces.

113 personnel vs. 4-2-5 Nickel, we show blitz and back out, Beasley gets a great 1st step and dives for SM's ankles in the endzone but no dice, Erving flattens him for his trouble, Maguire rolls left again, 2 yards past the line of scrimmage he throws it. SM was rattled on this series.

PUNT from their endzone (we set the return and don't come after it. Humphries doesn't call fair catch and gets blasted. Return failed)

5:56, FSU 29, 1st and 10, 10-3 Clem

113 personnel vs. 4-3 Over, play action off dive, FSU elects to put 3 WRs in and throw on 1st down against Over. Lawson beats Erving but misses the tackle on SM, SM steps up and throws a duck to NOL who catches it on the sideline for a first down.

1st and 10, FSU 48, 212 personnel vs. 4-3 Over, IZ to KW, stuffed at the line by Anthony. No Gain.

113 personnel vs. 4-2-5 Nickel NB smoke, SM checks down to the RB and overthrows him. Terrible throw but he would've had to break an Anthony tackle to get more than 2 yards.

113 personnel vs. 4-2-5 Nickel Zone Blitz, we send the NB (Jenkins) off the corner and Anthony up the middle, we drop Beasley into coverage over the middle to replace Anthony, The Fire Ant is unblocked and gets there for the sack, loss of 7. Gorgeous.

PUNT

2:06, Clem 38, 1st and 10, 10-3 Clem

They get a great punt return from RG to our 38.

212 personnel vs. 4-3 Over, 5 step drop, we rush 4, Beasley beats Erving, sacked by BEASTly for a loss of 6.

113 personnel vs. base 4-3, they have a personnel mismatch on the outside and Mac is late to line up over there as well, at the last second Goodson jumps outside to quell the mismatch.  SM throws complete underneath and the WR is immediately dropped by The Gambler for a gain of 3.

113 personnel vs. 4-2-5 Nickel, false start FSU. 3rd and 17.

113 personnel vs. 3-2-6 dime, SM drops back, Jarrett bulls through the C and wraps up SM.  SM tries to throw in the grasp and gives flight to a one winged goose. 4 players have a shot at it but it falls incomplete. Dangerous throw there.

PUNT

Halftime Thoughts

We came out in a base 4-3 look that had Goodson lined up at LB depth and inside the tackle box instead of on the line like he was against Georgia.  The DTs looked like they were in 22 technique head up to the OGs and the LBs often stacked behind them. We hadn't run that this year very much at all.  Beasley stayed on the blindside (right) the entire half and Crawford on the left.

We also showed a dime package (3-2-6) for the first time.  We ran dime situationally in 3rd and long and not based on matchups.  This is a new wrinkle as well and I believe was put in for Winston after we had so much trouble getting to him last year.  We gave their OL a lot of credit based on last year's game.  We wanted to have tight windows in 3rd and long if blitzing was ineffective.

13 of 28 plays in the 1st half were for zero or negative yards. This was the worst rushing half by Florida St. in a decade.  FSU had 0 trips to the RedZone and had 3 points in 7 drives in the first half.

So there is really not a lot to be upset about in the first half defensively.  This was a dominant performance.  We had a screen play bust, but when they ran it again we knocked it down.  The deep flood route worked but it requires a lot of time to develop and because of the camera angle, I'm not sure if they ran that again.  Maguire didn't want to throw the DIG when the FS was squatting on it. He did throw a couple deep fades but Mac was all over it step for step. There were some balls that Winston probably would have thrown (like the DIG in the picture above) but, our DBs were in good position and the pressure out of the front 4 was night and day from last year.  I can honestly say that I wish Winston would've played.

By my count, we blitzed just 6 times in 28 plays in the first half and only used 7 in the box against regular 212 personnel and did not use 8 in the box at all. That means we didn't load the box to stop the run and we just matched up as we normally would against the formations that FSU was running.  The bottom line is that FSU could just not generate the push or open the holes that they did last year on our front 4 and their RB was not all that impressive after contact.  One man was bringing him down consistently, where as DeVonta Freeman and James Wilder were steamrollers and would drag defenders last year.

The FS (Kearse/Johnson) would cover O'Leary in man and would come down to near LB level at times. However, unlike in zone robber, he is there to cover the elite level TE.  He's gonna pick up O'Leary when he gets past the LBs.  This was not "stacking the box."  This is putting your 2 best athletes in the secondary (Kearse and Mac) on their 2 best athletes (O'Leary and Greene) to try to cancel them out.   We did not have that kind of athleticism and size with Blanks and Robinson last year.

The biggest talent swing in our direction from last year to this year was our DBs vs. FSU's WRs.  Venables now has the horses in the secondary to matchup with FSU's current receivers and play man to man.  I think FSU misses Kelvin Benjamin (and Kenny Shaw) a lot more than was anticipated. We had no answer for Benjamin last year.  With him, Greene, O'Leary, and Shaw all out there at the same time, we would certainly not matchup as well in man at all.  Even with Winston in there, I think we would've gone man a lot and he would have seen that dime package a little more too.

The FSU LT, Cameron Erving, completely shut down Beasley all game last year in Death Valley and was probably the only OT we faced last year that is able to say that.  I wish I had done the film review of that game to see what is different this year because Erving got worn out by Beasley in the first half.  That first step Beasley has is something to behold (pause it on youtube right after the ball is snapped and look where he is).   They ran power at him and O'Leary couldn't block him, so after Beasley won that battle, they didn't run it again.  They wanted to influence him to come inside on IZ and then cut back at him but he snuffed that out. We'll see if they come back to that in the second half. I would. If the plan is for Erving to handle Beasley one on one, somehow he has to be slowed down.

Last year, we were blitzing 6 and not getting to Winston. This year, we rushing 4 and getting to Maguire...fast.  On two occasions, Beasley hit Maguire in 2.5 to 3 seconds.   To put that in perspective, the average NFL QB gets sacked in 3.25 seconds.  This is what NFL scouts are intrigued about.  Yes, it sucks that this game was a loss but, I'm happy for Beasley that he got to atone for his bad game.  He only helped himself in the draft with his play on Saturday.

3rd QUARTER

15:00, FSU 32, 1st and 10, 10-3 Clem

113 personnel vs. Nickel NB smoke man, blitz picked up by the RB, bullet thrown to a covered O'Leary who makes a great catch, breaks a tackle and gets 10.

1st and 10, FSU 42, 113 personnel vs. Nickel C2 5 Under, SM to RG underneath at 3 yards down field, RG turns it into 7. They are dinking and dunking now, we need to tighten up.

113 personnel vs. Nickel, false start FSU, 2nd and 8.

113 personnel vs. Nickel NB smoke man, blitz almost got there but it's a well executed TE screen to O'Leary, 7 yard gain, Facemask penalty on Williams tacks on another 15. Geez, C'mon man!

1st and 10, Clem 33, 113 personnel vs. Nickel NB smoke C2, IZ, Williams and Jarrett push their interior back 2 yards and make the play for a loss of 1.

113 personnel vs. Nickel man, RG beats Mac on a slant on SM hits him for 12.

1st and 10, Clem 22, 113 personnel vs. Nickel, WR screen to Wilson, absolutely destroyed and planted by The Gambler.  Don't WR screen Da Gambla.  No gain.

113 personnel vs. Nickel fake bullets, Anthony and Steward tease the bullet blitz and bail out.  Watson gets pressure on SM, SM throws the fade to RG out of bounds because Mac is right there, incomplete.

113 personnel vs. Nickel, Illegal substitution penalty on us.  HUGE mess up there! Turns a 3rd and 9 into a 3rd and 4. This is one of the biggest mistakes in the game.

113 personnel vs. 4-1-6 dime, we're a little confused at the start of the play, SM threads the needle into triple coverage on O'Leary. Sick throw.  NOL catches, wheels around and drags Mac to the 1.

Image010_zpsb85727bf_medium

Image011_zps748417aa_medium

Sorry for the amateur quality UFO footage here.

1st and G, Clem 1, HUNH 113 personnel vs. WHAT THE F%^&! WE HAVE 9 MEN ON THE FIELD! Handoff Pender on the OZ, Touchdown FSU.

Image012_zps0494740b_medium

How can nobody in the booth, on the sideline, or on the field catch this?????????

10-10 game now. 2 huge SUBSTITUTION mistakes + a 15 yard facemask penalty + one ridiculously good throw = TD FSU.  Credit FSU for taking advantage of our mistakes and making us pay.

8:45, FSU 25, 1st and 10, 10-10

203 personnel vs. Nickel WLB bullet man, SM hits RG on a quick out. Gain of 6. Good read by SM.

212 personnel vs. Nickel, sweep left out of the gun, Steward misses the tackle in the backfield, OG gets to the 2nd level to force Anthony to miss his backside fill, run out of bounds by Peters, gain of 8. We'll see this one again.

1st and 10, FSU 38, 113 personnel vs. Nickel man MLB/WLB/NB Dog, Beasley bails to take the RB, Anthony gets through untouched for the sack. Loss of 11.

113 personnel vs. Nickel C2 5 Under, OZ run Pender, gain of 4.

113 personnel vs. 3-2-6 Dime soft man, SM tries to thread the needle again to NOL but Peters and Kearse hit him as the ball arrives. Incomplete.

PUNT

4th QUARTER

14:56, FSU 32, 1st and 10, 10-10 off of the high snap and missed FG series

221 personnel vs. 4-3 base, WE HAVE 10 ON THE FIELD after change of possession and have to call timeout.  Well at least we got the timeout this time. Terrible.

221 personnel vs. 4-3 base, Iso right cut back left, tackle by Anthony for a gain of 4.

221 personnel vs. 4-3 base, bootleg, SM throws the fade to RG but Mack is all over it and probably should've picked it. Nice play by RG to stop the int.

212 personnel vs. Nickel, we can't get lined up, SM finds NOL open over the middle for a first down. Offsides on Beasley declined. Gain of 15.

1st and 10, FSU 48, 113 personnel vs. Nickel WLB smoke, bootleg, Crawford and Steward are there to pressure, SM hits Wilson on a checkdown for 5.

113 personnel vs. Nickel WLB smoke, SM throws with Grady in his face, ball intended for NOL but tipped up by Anthony and intercepted by Kearse. I thought Anthony got away with a major hold and shove on NOL but the ball was tipped at the line.

Image013_zps702d75e7_medium

Good series and way to steal back momentum for the offense. The offense obliges and puts it in the endzone.

11:44, FSU 25, 1st and 10, 17-10 Clemson

113 personnel vs. Nickel C2 5 Under, SM throws the same 3 yard hitch to RG, crushed immediately by Steward, gain of 3.

113 personnel vs. Nickel zone blitz, Crawford peels off for the RB, SM hits RG on the same 3 yard hitch, Kearse is playing off and RG scampers for the first down. Gain of 8.

1st and 10, FSU 36, 113 personnel vs. Nickel NB smoke, SM makes a great read and throw to the far side for a 9 yard gain. Not a fan of all this blitzing, we're getting eaten up.

113 personnel vs. Nickel C1 man, pressure by Barnes, SM throws to the sideline incomplete on the juggle oob by RG.  Penalty of FSU for illegal touching.

221 personnel vs. Nickel??? On 3rd and 1 vs. 2 TEs?, We can't get set up, Wiggins moves into a SAM in Diet 4-3 Under, OZ to the left turned back by Beasley, KW picks his way for 2 and the first down.

1st and 10, FSU 49, 221 personnel vs. 4-3 Under, play action off OZ and deep drop by SM, plenty of time to throw at first and then hit blindside by Beasley as he threw, throws a deep crosser to NOL that is broken up beautifully by Kearse.

113 personnel vs. Nickel C2 man under, same 3 yard hitch to RG, tackled by The Gambler for a 3 yard gain.

False Start FSU, 3rd and 12.

113 personnel vs. Nickel Jailbreak, 7 coming for us, wrapped up by Jarrett as he throws, almost intercepted by Kearse on the sideline. Incomplete.

PUNT

7:25, FSU 24, 1st and 10, 17-10 Clemson

Offense goes 3 and out.

113 personnel vs. Nickel NB smoke, SM recognizes the blitz and hits RG in front of a soft playing Mac for a first down. Gain of 16.  Ok, enough of the blitzing.

1st and 10, FSU 40, 113 personnel vs. Nickel C2 5 Under, Erving handles Beasley this time, SM with plenty of time and rolls right, Crawford shakes loose and makes the sack, loss of 14. Coverage sack.

2nd and 24, FSU 26, 113 personnel vs. Nickel man, Steward picked up on a delay blitz, Erving handles Beasley, SM with all day to throw, Deep fade to RG...

Image014_zpsfe236536_medium

RG catches it at the 38, so Mac coulda, woulda, shoulda at least made the tackle.  Didn't happen.  Mac fell down and blows the coverage. TD FSU. 17-17. I didn't see anything that Mac could've done.  I don't think he was in position to tackle RG on a PI because RG had separation after the trip.  He was better off trying to regain his balance. This kind of flukey play happens. That's why you step on their throat and be able to absorb a play like this with a double digit lead.  Too late now. All of our mistakes have added up and culminated into no margin for error situation with 6 minutes left in a game we dominated.  Now, we're in a dogfight with them having momentum and being at home.

The offense can't convert a 3rd and 7 when a NB blitz forces a bad throw by Watson.

4:18, FSU 12, 1st and 10, 17-17

203 personnel vs. Nickel, Shotgun sweep to KW again, Beasley is hooked, Steward is cut, Anthony does not fill backside and overruns the play, gain of 11.

1st and 10, FSU 23, 203 personnel vs. Nickel, Shotgun sweep to the other side, Crawford sets the edge beautifully and Steward fills playside, TS and Reader get him for a loss of 4.

203 personnel vs. Nickel, Shotgun sweep at Crawford's side again with Dalvin Cook, Crawford sets the edge, Reader carries the OG over to make the play for a gain of 2. Ok, they are clearly playing conservatively now.

113 personnel vs. Dime C3, we rush 3, SM throws high over Kearse's head to an open Wilson over the middle, INT by Jadar Johnson returned to the FSU 26.

Image015_zpsba395c5a_medium

Poor decision by Maguire to try to be the hero there. He should've thrown underneath to NOL or thrown that away.

Image016_zpsf6c3bee1_medium

Of course, it doesn't matter as Davidson fumbles away our chances.

1:36, FSU 14, 1st and 10, 17-17

221 I formation vs. 5-3 Strong Wide, Power O, backside fill by Anthony gets him for a 4 yard gain. They are clearly playing for OT.

221 formation vs. 5-3 Strong to the two TEs, sweep to strength, Crawford, Goodson, and Reader make short work of that for a loss of 2.

FSU runs the clock down and takes a TO.

FSU kneels down and sends it to OT

Overtime

We get stopped on 4th and 1.  A FG wins it for FSU and they have the best Kicker in the nation.  The outlook is bleak.

Clem 25, 1st and 10, 17-17

212 I formation vs. base 4-3 double bullets, we can't get the LBs to line up, IZ to KW with a designed backside cutback, bullets get picked up and Goodson flows frontside...uh oh, cutback by KW, tackle by Smith, gain of 12.

221 I formation vs. 4-3 base, for the first time in the game we stack the box, IZ with the designed cutback, Beasley ducks under the block of Erving...WHAT? Beasley is responsible for contain and has 2 unblocked guys to his inside and ducks the block? Poor decision. Nobody home outside. Free TD. Final Score 23-17.

DEFENSIVE SUMMARY:

Stats:

The "I wanna smash something" stat of the night was that Clemson made 7 trips to the redzone and FSU made 2.  We both scored 17 points.  To put that in perspective, FSU only got to the redzone 6 times last year and we got there 3 times last year.  Normally a team with that kind of advantage will not only win, but win big.  We found a way to lose.

Other stats of interest: FSU's RBs were 19 carries for 63 yards at 3.3 yards per carry.  Last year, FSU's RBs were 29 carries for 115 yards at 3.9 yards per carry.  So, the difference between last year and this year is not hugely different. However, the Clemson domination of the FSU run game can be clearly shown by the fact that FSU RBs had just 3 carries for "5 yards or more" in regulation.

Perhaps, the biggest statistical differences between last year and this year are Clemson's "Turnovers" and both FSU and Clemson's "Yards per Pass Attempt."

Clemson turned it over 4 times last year and only once this year. FSU's yards per attempt were a ridiculous 12.7 last year and dropped to 7.8 this year.  We'll never know how much of that was Winston and how much of that was Beasley, Alexander, and Kearse.  Clemson's yards per attempt were 4.5 last year and 9.3 this year.  Watson's mobility and decision making may have given FSU more trouble in this game than Tajh Boyd did last year, but I think the honest truth is that FSU is not as good at rushing the passer this year.

Clemson was actually worse running the ball this year than last year.  We were beaten up front on offense.  However, we just did not have to deal with the same level of pressure from FSU's pass rush this year.

The eye test says...

I have us with 15 blitzes in 66 plays.   I have us with "8 in the box" on 1 play.  We aligned to stop the run many more times against Georgia.  We actually aligned to stop the pass when they had "run personnel" in the game several times which I don't remember us doing at all against Georgia.  It's clear that we were more afraid of Maguire, Greene, and O'Leary than we were Karlos Williams and Mario Pender.  This makes sense considering that BV installed new wrinkles in practice thinking Winston would play in the 2nd half.  Right before halftime, FSU made the adjustment to stop taking the schematic advantage (running the ball) and start getting the ball to their playmakers (O'Leary and Greene).  Dabo and Morris should take notes.

As I wrote above, the biggest personnel difference between last year and this year (besides Winston) was Jayron Kearse and MacKenzie Alexander.  At 6'4", fast, and physical, Kearse was the perfect foil for O'Leary.  Mac, a 5-star RS Fr CB, was competent enough to allow Venables to play a lot more man than I thought we'd see.  53% of FSU's completions this year are to either Greene or O'Leary, so, Venables gave those two the best athletes in the secondary "mano y mano."  This is what happens in the NFL every Sunday and for the same reason.

We won the battle in the trenches defensively "mano y mano."  The culmination of that was that the first half was the worst rushing half for Florida State in 10 years and  they finished with a 0.5 yards per carry average.

The recruiting tactic of loading up at certain position groups seems to have paid off once again with All Conference level performers by their 2nd year.  I don't like it, but it is working. If you can stomach that weak position being a weakness for two years, it becomes near-elite level in year 3.  Eventually this practice has to stop because it's not exactly ideal to be weak at an entire position group for two years, but it's one way to build a program I suppose.  Let's hope attrition takes care of this issue and it doesn't become an endless cycle.

I hate to see us lay down in the face of a probable loss for the 2nd time this year.  Granted, Aguayo was probably going to make a 35ish yard FG even if they went 3 and out.  You just never know what might happen though...high snap, blocked kick, missed FG, turnover, etc...  There is never an excuse to stop fighting. Never.  I remember Rahim Abdullah picking off a pass in OT and taking it to the house for 6 points and ending the game.

All in all, this was a bitter loss. I don't think anybody thought FSU would be held to just 2 redzone trips and 17 points.

PLAYER REVIEW:

Game Ball: Stephone Anthony. He was the leader of a dominant defensive performance Saturday night.  Anthony was all over the field doing all kinds of things well.  He's reading plays on a very high level and he's rarely out of position now.  He's filling gaps like a 250 pounder and covers RBs and TEs like a safety.  His tip of a pass to O'Leary forced an interception.  If he gets any better, you're going to see him talked about as high draft pick.

All American Level Performance: Anthony

All ACC Level Performance: Stephone Anthony, Grady Jarrett, Vic Beasley, Corey Crawford, Jayron Kearse, Garry Peters.

Solid: The entire defensive personnel. There were no personnel liabilities by a defense that played well enough to beat the #1 team in the country. I would've had Mac at the All ACC level above since the freshman held his own against the ACC's best WR, but, the 75 yard pass is a huge fail and ended up costing us bigtime.

Less than solid: None

Hopefully, we put this difficult loss behind us and not let them beat us twice. Beat UNC!