Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Hate Football

The only thing that can knock you on your ass worse than a break-up is a break-up that's immediately followed by watching every team you hold dear getting embarrassed on the same weekend. Don't get me wrong; I'm proud of the way FSU hung in there and gave it all they had against UF, but the offensive ineptness is still shocking to behold. I miss my girlfriend, and I miss the 'Noles I grew up with. Here's what I saw on Saturday...

The Good
- As it's done almost all year the defense rose to the occasion. Mickey Andrews must have ripped a couple new ones at halftime because the defense came out fired up and shut down the Gators for the majority of the second half. The defensive line that's been so beat up this year played great, and all three LBs turned in vintage performances. Lawrence Timmons' hit on Tim Tebow may be the highlight of the year, Geno Hayes wreaked his usual amount of havoc, and Buster Davis played nearly every position at some point in the game - seriously, I saw him lined up at CB in the third quarter after he was defending passes downfield like a safety earlier in the game. I predict Buster will slip into the later rounds of the draft due to his height, then play 12 productive years on a consistently strong defense.

- The team really played their hearts out in this one. Even Greg Carr looked like he was trying. The seniors went out in style: Lorenzo Booker did the best he could with what he was given (6.6 ypc but only 10 carries) and Chris Davis made plays at every opportunity. Lost in the cesspool of the second half of the season has been the strong play of Davis, who finally morphed into a big-play threat.

- Special teams were actually pretty special except for Gary Cismesia, who's currently in the midst of his annual meltdown. Graham Gano boomed punts all day and Michael Ray Garvin provided a spark that had been missing from the kick return game all season, barely missing a HUGE touchdown return in the fourth quarter. Really, the defense and special teams were there; if the offense was even remotely competent FSU would have won. Seriously Jeff, good luck and all but get the hell away from my football team!

The Bad
- It's always tough to criticize the defense when they're the unit holding the team together, but Mickey Andrews had a tough day on third-and-long. Early in the game I was freaking out over the dreaded three-man rush and zone coverage that allowed UF to convert numerous 3rd-and-8 situations. In the fourth quarter Andrews finally heeded my advice and brought the heat on 3rd down...only to see Dallas Baker catch two long passes, one for a touchdown. Tony Carter was burned on both plays, illustrating Andrew's dilemma all year: he's been hamstrung by a secondary that can't make plays and a defensive line that gets little pass rush on it's own. Hopefully both problems can be attributed to youth, because FSU must improve both areas to get back to the level of defensive savagery exhibited throughout the '90s.

- Another massive Achilles' Heel for the 'Noles all year has been the dropped passes. Brandon Warren: I love you man, but you HAVE to make that catch.

- If there was any tiny shred of doubt remaining about the future of Daryl Dickey it has to be gone by now. You could present the tapes of FSU's last three games as Exhibits A, B, and C in a program called "How NOT To Handle a Two-QB System". You've gotta give Dickey credit for raising his game this season... when Chris Rix was here Dickey was only ruining one QB at a time, now he's managed to destroy the confidence of two QBs in the same month! Pretty impressive, Daryl!

- Other than QB play the biggest difference between the two teams was simply Belief. It looked to me like the Crocs believed they were going to win, while the 'Noles hoped that somehow they would pull it out. That belief is a powerful thing in football and FSU used to have it. We'll know that we're truly "back" when we see it in the faces of our players again.

- By the way, my other favorite college team is Georgia Tech and my favorite pro team is the Falcons. Nobody should ever be subjected to as much gawd-awful QB play as I watched over the past weekend. As bad as Drew was at least he has an excuse. Reggie Ball had a terrific running game and a sublime receiver at his disposal and still found a way to hand Georgia the game. The announcers kept talking about his "linebacker mentality"; the problem was he never developed a "quarterback mentality". He is officially the Chris Rix of Georgia Tech. As for Mike Vick, what more can you say at this point? He stole the spotlight when we won the '99 MNC and he routinely kills the Falcons. Let's just say I'm not a huge fan.

The Ugly
- Usually I talk about different aspects of the game here, but one play stood out above all others as truly deserving of the moniker "Ugly". Late in the first half FSU was flailing towards the conclusion of another four-yard "drive" when Lorenzo Booker got tackled near the sideline. Ten yards away, completely out of the play, John Frady "blocked" Florida DT Stephen Harris by diving at his kneees from behind. Frady received a Clipping penalty for the dive, but he should have been kicked out of the game. I don't care if he is a senior; that kind of crap has no business on the field and that kind of dirty play has no business at FSU. As competitive and clean as the rest of the game was that play disgusted me, and I've been a big John Frady fan ever since he came aboard. He set a terrible example that I'm happy to say wasn't followed by the rest of the team.

I've seen a couple other fans say this, and it definitely feels weird, but I'm actually glad this season is over. It's just been too awkward, too disheartening. With the changes upcoming on the offensive staff at least we can all hope for a better showing next year with a bunch of talented youngsters, and hope is a dish I haven't sampled since September. Bring on Oregon or Arizona or whoever the hell we play in the Emerald Bowl!


At 10:20 AM, Anonymous NoleCC said...

Cismesia's annual meltdown... you've got that right. Why the coaches won't give Gano a shot at the kicking duties is beyond me... it can't be worse. Also, maybe if the offensive staff is reconfigured enough, we might actually get a special teams coach that can get the kickers to have good mechanics.

Cismesia is always half assed about it... he's halfway between straight on and soccer style. Someone should tell him it's 3 steps back, 2 to the side EVERY time.

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter anyway.. Football sucks no matter how you try to word your rant..


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