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Across the Aisle: Florida State Edition

The ‘Noles have been...Interesting this year

Florida State v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

So this week I got to sit down with Dylan Kidd over at Tomahawk Nation. Be sure to check out their site. I also did a Q&A over at their site that you can find here

Now lets get down to business:

BSD: What’s been the biggest difference about this team since Wake played them last year?

Tomahawk Nation: Well, they’ll look a lot different than they did a year ago. The offensive change is pretty significant, as the Gulf Coast Offense is much more of a spread attack than Jimbo Fisher’s offense was. The defense now plays a quarters coverage base under Harlon Barnett, as opposed to the pattern-match stuff they tried to do with Charles Kelly. That said, the overall quality isn’t much different. Florida State struggles to block anyone, even more so than last year, due to a culmination of injuries, attrition, and recruiting misses. This is the most significant factor holding them back by a long shot.

BSD: Who do you look for to make an impact in this game on each side of the ball?

TN: On offense, I’ll say Tamorrion Terry. He’s a big athletic receiver with whom all of Wake’s DBs should struggle. This assumes time to throw, though, which is not a given by any stretch of the imagination. On defense, I’m looking at the linebackers. Wake will stress these guys quite a bit with their RPO game, and they’re not good to begin with. They’ll need to be much better than they’ve been to date to avoid multiple big plays for the Demon Deacons.

BSD: What’s to be expected out of Deandre Francois now that we’re at the halfway point?

TN: He’s not really improved over the course of the season, at least not significantly, which is disappointing. So I expect more of the same. Obviously, the offensive line is not making things easy on him. But he’s just not a great fit for what Taggart and Walt Bell are trying to do. He doesn’t make zone reads or RPO reads effectively and he can’t really run after his devastating knee injury. That’s like the entire offense, so...

BSD: What realistic expectations did the FSU faithful have coming into this year, and well whats been hindering them?

TN: Even the most realistic FSU fan probably expected 8-4 in their heart of hearts. The Noles will fall well short of that, and the primary factor is the offensive line. As I mentioned, the one place FSU couldn’t afford injuries was OL, especially tackle. That’s exactly what’s happened. Florida State has no tackles available currently. That’s not an exaggeration. There are none. It’s prevented the Seminoles from growing like we’d hoped they would in Taggart’s first year, and the only solution is recruiting.

BSD: How big does the base/yourself think this game is relative to the rest of the schedule

TN: It’s massive if the goal is to extend the bowl streak, which is a big deal to the fan base. It’s not that important to me, but it is a nice feather in the cap. I’m more concerned with laying the foundation going forward. But, making a bowl would probably mean some improved play down the stretch, so that’d be a win on both fronts. If FSU loses to Wake, I think their bowl dreams are effectively over. They’re not beating Clemson or ND, and I really doubt they sweep NC State, BC, and Florida.

BSD: FSU wins if they come out and do what?

TN: Run the ball effectively. I think the passing game will be more of the same, with a few big plays and a bunch of sacks. If the Seminoles can lean on the interior run game to move the ball, it’ll go a long way towards winning this game, rather than having to rely on the boom or bust passing game.

On defense, I think FSU will do pretty well on a down to down basis, but I expect them to give up some big plays. Wake is the fastest tempo team in the country, and that combined with the mesh point stuff the Deacs will do to mess with FSU’s linebackers and safeties will create some busts.

BSD: on the other hand what can they not do if they want to win this game?

TN: Utterly fail to block anyone and lose the field position battle, again. FSU will need to score to win this game, and they tend to get into an awful cycle if they get pinned deep and can’t move the ball. The Noles will need some cracks at short fields on offense to win this game.

BSD: Lastly, who wins, why, and score?

TN: I think it will look pretty ugly. I envision a high-possession game with a lot of them ending in 3-and-outs. FSU has been faring very well on first offensive drives as they come out with a great script, but the question is what they do after that. I think the scores will come from big plays and both offenses struggle in terms of efficiency. Overall, I have to hold on to hope and say FSU wins 30-24.

Looks like we both agree this game will be ugly. What do you guys think? Comment below and major thanks to Dylan and all the guys over at Tomahawk Nation!

As always:

Go Deacs.