Five games into the season, it’s time to take an honest look at what that means State of Florida the team is.
The Seminoles never trailed Virginia Tech, and, apart from a few lapses in concentration, he fully deserved the victory. The result was never in doubt, even though the score yesterday was five. However, the game, like all games played by the Seminoles earlier this year, highlighted the shortcomings of this group. While saying that, the Seminoles are still in the thick of it for a College Football Playoff spot, but there are some obvious holes on the team that might not be filled this year.
The biggest issue this team will face is consistency, and Jordan Travis knew that from the moment he sat at the podium after the game.
“We got out quickly. We just have to stay consistent. I feel like that’s our main problem right now: no consistency with everything,”
Mike Norvell, who almost always focuses on the positives before the negatives, addressed his team’s shortcomings in his second sentence.
“In the second quarter, you encountered some adversity that you faced in different ways. You know, some practices were extended due to penalties, some practices stalled offensively.
While the second quarter became a blip on the radar, this coach knows this team has a ceiling. It’s time the fans understood that too.
The inconsistency they continue to play with will burn them out one day. It infuriates everyone within the football program that this team loses focus at the drop of a hat. There was no reason why all the starters couldn’t have been taken out at halftime and in street clothes in the 4th quarter. Instead, as Mike Norvell mentioned, the team went from practice to neutral and Virginia Tech got back into the game.
Florida State hasn’t played above its competition since the Southern Mississippi game, which may be a feature, not a bug, of this group.
The amount of explosive plays the defense continues to give up for offenses goes hand in hand with the inconsistency. Virginia Tech, just like their opponents before them, exploded seven point plays on the Seminole defense, which kept them in the game even though they weren’t in it. The statistics on these explosive races compared to all other racing games are beyond belief. Virginia Tech, on its seven explosive drives, rushed for 145 yards on seven attempts. Of their other 28 rushing attempts, they gained 64, an average of 2.3 yards per carry. The trend continued as Clemson and Boston College each ran for over 90 yards on big running plays and were locked down for most of the game. When Florida State’s defense attacks downhill and plays within the scheme, any team in the country will struggle with them.
However, for reasons unknown to themselves, they will cancel games at a time that will result in massive wins that don’t need to happen. Their rushing defense has been phenomenal this year, especially against running backs. There is no need to drop guys to the ground multiple times per game. Without a solution to this problem, the offense will continue to sit on the sidelines while the defense becomes exhausted throughout the season.
Patrick Payton said it best yesterday: “The first mindset of every team we play, no matter who we’re playing, is the first thing we do is stop the run. Don’t let a team come into our house and just throw the ball.
It’s time to start meeting that expectation.
First thought: Jordan Travis continues to play
The stats might have looked nicer, and the Heisman campaign may have been a failure, but No. 13 looked as fresh as he had all year yesterday. He threw with great accuracy and speed in practice, which continued through Saturday’s game. Some of the throws he made weren’t easy. The 30-yard pass to Destyn Hill fell perfectly into the receiver’s arms, but he threw it running out of the pocket. He finished the day with a 75% completion percentage and a score of 162. Not bad.
The most notable stat of the day for the Seminole signal-caller was his work in the running game. After parts of the Clemson game where he didn’t seem interested in using his legs, Travis hunkered down and ran ten times yesterday; the most carries in a game he has had this year. Mike Norvell let Travis scamper so often Saturday because he knew his starter was back at full strength.
Peyton Baker Baker/Tomahawk Nation
“Yeah, I feel amazing,” Jordan Travis said with a smile yesterday. “I got hit today and I didn’t feel very good, but I feel good right now.”
The Seminoles will need Jordan Travis to don the cap a few times as the season goes on, but having him back 100% off the bye seems like a great place to start.
Second thought: welcome to the defensive ends of the party
The worst kept secret on this Seminole roster was downplaying concern over their pass rush. The talent at the position hasn’t matched the production to start the season, and some fans were starting to worry. Well, everyone can relax now, because it looks like Patrick Payton and Jared Verse are finding their groove. They each had a huge impact on the game yesterday, combining for nine total tackles yesterday and 3.5 tackles for loss. They were disruptive, fast and stole the ball. Virginia Tech’s offensive tackles didn’t have an answer for their ability to bend and how they could both go from speed to power and back again.
They both met with the media yesterday after the game and continued to insist that they continue to improve every week and are not finished products. However, when these two play their best, watch out.
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Third Thought: Mike Norvell vs. ACC Referees
In a lighter moment from yesterday’s press conference, Mike Norvell simply smiled at a question about how brutal Byron Turner was on the passer call. His face was worth a thousand words. For what it’s worth, I believe he roughed up the passer in 2023, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the head coach feels his team is owed some calls. Florida State was flagged 12 times yesterday and continued another one of its negative trends to start the year. The coach, visibly frustrated, let the officials do it during the scoring of yesterday’s game, which led to some soul-searching after the game.
Peyton Baker Baker/Tomahawk Nation
“Some of the things that have come up, I mean, I want an explanation, and so I expressed an opinion. I have to do a better job of making sure, even in expressing that opinion, that as the leader of this football team, I have to make sure that our guys stay focused on the things that they can control.
The Seminoles’ lack of discipline almost hurt them several times during yesterday’s game. Everyone needs to learn from penalty scorers, as they were called for numerous false starts, roughing the passer and received a warning for sideline interference in the 4th quarter. Mike Norvell loves his teaching moments and his team will have plenty of work to do in the yellow flag department.