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5 posts from September 21, 2013

September 21, 2013

Devonta Freeman Carrying the Load for FSU


"I don't really care about the stats, I just want to win," said Devonta Freeman after Saturday night's 54-6 win over Bethune-Cookman. "I don't care who gets 100 [yards] as long as we're putting points on the board. I'm not a selfish player so whatever the outcome, I'm just down with it."

Devonta Freeman might not care about 100 yard games and eclipsing 1,000 yards for the first time at Florida State since Warrick Dunn did it in 1996, but he sure doesn't run like it. Through three games, Freeman has compiled 273 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. That's good for a 9.75 yard average.

He also hasn't lost a yard on a carry all season.

Now that's a little misleading, a two yard loss was negated during tonight's game after an illegal participation penalty was called against the Wildcats, but - that aside - Freeman has been the most consistently productive player in the Florida State ground game. He's now gone over 100 yards for two straight weeks and seems positioned as the Seminoles go-to guy on the ground when push comes to shove.

Against Bethune-Cookman he has 10 carries for 112 yards and a score. That being said, he wasn't satisfied:

“I left a lot out there, I’ve got to get better, I think we’ve got to get better as a whole unit,” said Freeman after the game.

So I asked him, 'you just ran for over 100 yards, you're not satisfied at all?'

“You may be satisfied [with your performance] for maybe a day but after that I’ve just got to find what I’ve got to get better at,” he responded.

Freeman is on pace for 1,183 yards this season - that would be the third highest total in Florida State history.


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Rapid Reaction: FSU 54 Bethune-Cookman 6


Florida State ran away with this one in the second half as most people believed they would. It wasn't a perfect effort by Florida State but it was certainly enough to beat Bethune-Cookman and improve Florida State's record to 3-0 on the young season.

After a first half that saw him miss more passes than he completed, Jameis Winston went 3-for-3 in the second half to finish the day 10/19 for 148 yards and a couple of touchdowns. It wasn't a spectacular day for the redshirt freshman but he also didn't get the kind of help he's used to either. At least three of his passes were dropped, one seemingly by each of his top three receivers, and Florida State's offense never looked in sync like it did in each of the past two games.

That's not to say Florida State still didn't put up some impressive numbers though. Devonta Freeman is well on pace to beat 1,000 yards at Florida State for the first time since Warrick Dunn in 1996. Freeman ran for 112 on Saturday - the second straight week he's eclipsed 100 - and is now on pace to rush for 1,183 yards this season. 

So far this year Freeman has run for 273 yards on 28 carries, that's 9.75 yards per carry and he hasn't had a negative carry all year - meaning he's not had a single hand-off that lost yardage. That's impressive. 

The Seminoles finished with 492 yards of total offense, including 266 on the ground.

Defensively this was a solid effort from Florida State, they had some issues getting off the field early on due to some shaky tackling but by the time that the 2nd quarter rolled around they had started to get things under control.

Terrance Smith was an absolute monster today. While his responsibilities weren't exactly the same as what Christian Jones is typically asked to do, that doesn't make what he did any less impressive. Smith lead the way with 12 tackles and a sack and set the tone with five alone (and one for loss) on the very first series of the game.

Florida State absolutely wasn't giving up anything in the air to Bethune, forcing the Wildcats to try and move the ball on the ground and harasssing their receivers and quarterbacks all game. BCU finished the game with just 242 total yards, including just 60 through the air.

All in all it was a good evening for Florida State. S Tyler Hunter left early with a "neck contusion" and RG Tre Jackson continues to favor his ankle but for the most part the Seminoles remained healthy and got some younger players some reps. 

Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Jameis Winston (10/19, 148, 2 TD)
Rushing: Devonta Freeman (10-112, TD)
Receiving: Kenny Shaw (4-89)

I'm about to head down to the post game interviews to talk to players and wrap up, keep checking back for updates and reaction...


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Halftime: FSU 33 Bethune-Cookman 0


It was a sloppy evening in terms of weather and Florida State's tackling early on in this one. The Seminole defense found itself in good position with regularity on their first several defensive stands but failed to make key tackles at or around the line of scrimmage and ended up surrendering extra first downs.

That let the Wildcats move the ball beyond the 50 on both of their initial two possessions and they dominated the first quarter time of possession battle 12:06-2:54. 

A large part of that was due to the pick-six that Telvin Smith hauled in to stop Bethune's first possession. It was the first since Terrance Parks did it at Florida in 2011, but it also gave the ball right back to the Bethune. The Wildcats again drove to midfield before the Seminoles stopped them. It wasn't until the 4:07 mark in the first quarter that the Seminole offense even took the field.

Early on FSU's offense was a bit incosistent too. Dropped passes, missed assignments and a fumble by James Wilder Jr. inside the Bethune five yard-line limited the Seminoles to just a field goal on their first two drives, but after a Wildcat holding penalty in their own endzone awarded Florida State a safety, the Seminoles drove for a touchdown on their ensuing possession. The drive culminated in the play you see above (an 11-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin on an impressive scramble). 

Florida State also added scores on runs by James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman, but all in all I don't think Jimbo Fisher and his coaching staff are going to be thrilled with some of the sloppiness of the first half. FSU left points and stops on the field and that's going to need to be corrected before the level of competion gets ramped up.

The receivers in particular had a number of drops after being nearly perfect through the first two games of the season. Winston also had nine incompletions in the first half after throwing just five of them through two games to start his career. 

Look for Florida State's starters to get a few more series in the second half before they give some playing time to the younger guys.

Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Jameis Winston (7/16 112, TD)
Rushing: Devonta Freeman (9-79, TD)
Receiving: Kenny Shaw (2-45)


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Pregame: Bethune-Cookman at FSU


It is pouring in Tallahassee on and off right now and the weather looks as though it could be a factor throughout the evening. As you can see from the above picture, the press box windows are a bit... unclear.

As for how that affects things on the field, both teams feel like they can run the football so this shouldn't be much of a problem for the rushing attacks. Airing it out was never going to be easy for the Wildcats but the wet conditions will make it that much tougher. Meanwhile Seminoles fans will get their first glimpse of how Jameis throws a wet ball. 

Check back at halftime and after the game for rapid reaction, stats and wrap-up.


Game Capsule

Game Preview (From print)
Previewing the Opponent: Bethune-Cookman
Five Things to Watch

Player Profile: Jalen Ramsey
A Little More on Jalen Ramsey


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter... 

Five Things to Watch For: Bethune-Cookman at FSU


Florida State hosts Bethune-Cookman later today, here are five things to watch for:

1.) Air it Out

Jameis Winston said Wednesday that with Bethune playing plenty of cover four and blitzing frequently he expects there to be plenty of deep opportunities available for him this evening. Considering the absolute lack of hesitation to air it out on Winston's part so far this season, FSU's offense could be looking at a big passing day. That's good news for fans and the Florida State run game which should see the box loosen up if Winston can hit a deep ball or two.

2.) Karlos 2.0

Last week Karlos Williams eclipsed 100 yards on the ground - including gaining 60 and a touchdown on the first carry of his career. 

"I’m big, very, very big. I realized how big I was in the backfield [when I watched the film]," said Williams earlier this week. "I’m just a big guy overall I would guess, I see James on the film and I think, “James looks really big with the 32 on him, I have a small number, I wonder how I look.” But the film looked good, looked like I have plenty of things I need to work on.

That may be true, but Williams also runs like he's been shot out of a cannon and has elite top speed. Coupled with his physicality and a shoulder that continues to both James Wilder, Williams could finish with over 100 for the second straight game.

3.) Terrance Smith's first start

With Christian Jones out, Terrance Smith will make his first career start. The redshirt sophomore has seen more and more time as a back-up this season and has drawn rave reviews from Jimbo Fisher since arriving in Tallahassee a few years ago. This will be the first chance Seminoles fans have to see Smith in more than just spot duty. Don't be surprised when he impresses.

4.) The Defensive Line

Last week against Nevada the Seminoles blitzed roughly 50% of the time yet tallied only a handful of pressures and their lone sack was wiped out on an illegal participation penalty agaisnt Tim Jernigan. Take out both of Florida State's starting defensive ends and it will be interesting to see how the defensive line looks. This is a new defensive scheme so it's fair to say some of the reduced production could be chalked up to the new system, but it's also fair to say that early on the Seminoles have struggled to replace the production they lost from Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine last year - both were picked in the top 40 of April's NFL draft.

5.) Devonta Freeman's Quest for 1,000

I wrote in my preseason preview that I thought Devonta Freeman would run for 1,000 yards this season. So far he's on pace for 1,046 yards after running for a team-best 161 yards and a touchdown through FSU's first two games. He could be looking at another 100 yards against Bethune if Florida State can establish the run game tonight too. FSU might have to contend with a loaded box early in the game, but if Winston can connect on a couple of deep passes things should loosen up and the 'Noles should have plenty of space to run.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...



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