Monday, October 30, 2006

Finding Ways to Lose

Against Clemson we dug ourselves into a hole and came back strong only to lose a close game late. Against NC State we dug ourselves into a hole, stormed back to take the lead, then lost a close game late. Against BC we made numerous big mistakes but we played our way back into the game only to lose a close game late. Are you seeing the pattern here? In what has become the most frustrating FSU season in recent memory the 'Noles continued their trend of finding ways to lose to inferior opponents in a 24-27 loss to Maryland. At least Clemson is good. At least Boston College is decent. Maryland sucks. And they beat us. Fuck.

The Good
- Xavier Lee looked great in his first career start, completing 22-of-36 passes (with at least four drops) for 286 yards and 2 TDs, plus 50 yards rushing on top of that. X kept the 'Noles back in the game and made the plays to put FSU in position to win. It's clear that Lee can make plays that Drew Weatherford physically can't make. I don't expect him to look that good in every game but it certainly wasn't his fault FSU lost and I expect him to be the starter next week against Virginia.

XLee stood tall against the Terps

- Antone Smith may have cemented his role as the lead back. He runs with more toughness than Lorenzo Booker and is equally dangerous out of the backfield. He gets downfield quickly and can break tackles. Next season we need to quit rotating the backs and get Antone 15-20 carries per game.

The Bad
- The defense stepped up in the second half holding Maryland to just 37 yards and seven points, but by then the damage was done. The Terps sliced through the usually tough 'Nole D like a hot knife through butter in the first half putting up 20 points and almost 200 yards of offense. Ralph Friedgen did a good job of forcing FSU's freshman starters to make tough decisions against misdirection plays and the Terps were able to take advantage of great field position to get easy scores. What's really hurting FSU is that they have no playmakers in the back seven capable of creating turnovers so FSU is always forced to go on long scoring drives and always seems to be fighting the momentum of the game. The D has been heroic at times but with no depth they appear to be running on fumes.

- The offensive line did a decent job of blocking - even in the running game - but they continued to kill drive after drive with false starts and holding penalties. On a day when everyone else on offense performed pretty well it was the OL that held the offense back all day...with some help from the receivers. If Mark McHale is still employed by FSU next season I will be very, very disappointed (that goes for Daryl Dickey, too).

The Ugly
- Graham Gano had a tough day right after I praised his work so far this season. My bad.

- Penalties, Turnovers, and Mistakes. Where do you place the blame here? Of course you have to look at the coaches because well-coached teams don't beat themselves, right? But is it Jeff Bowden's fault that Greg Carr dropped a first-and-goal pass in the waning moments of the 4th quarter? Is it Mickey Andrews fault a bunch of walk-ons missed tackle after tackle on the punt return team? For the second week in a row FSU beat themselves with dumb plays and crucial errors. I got BC flashbacks when Carr fumbled in the first quarter, leading to Maryland's first touchdown. Then more flashbacks when the offensive line started killing drives with false starts. Greg Carr's big drop was a new twist, which was kind of refreshing, but the botched kick at the end of the game was vintage FSU. Every loss hurts, but when you outgain the opposition by 235 yards, your QB plays well, the running game is clicking, and the defense plays their heart out in the second half AND YOU STILL LOSE there's nothing to do but shake your head and drink heavily. Bring on Virginia!


At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

I have recently found your blog in the last couple months of this dismal florida state season. I find the columns refreshing and quite accurate...Particularly this last line from today's column. As I went out saturday night here in nyc I proudly adorned my Noles hat and as you said "Drank heavily" Keep up the good writing

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some teams just find ways to win, and some teams just find ways to lose. We used to be in the former category "back in the day". We are now definitely in the latter category.

And I gotta disagree w/you about Maryland. They don't "suck". Are they great? Nah. But they're not 6-2 by accident.

NC they suck. And we lost to them too.


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