Florida State handled its business last night against Bethune-Cookman, racking up nearly 500 yards of offense and holding the Wildcats to just 60 passing yards. After the game head coach Jimbo Fisher wasn't completely satisfied with what he saw, but encoraged nonetheless.
"We had those plays on offense, we had two-dropped touchdowns and fumbled inside the five (yard line). Those things got to get cleaned up and those are things that our players don’t do," said Fisher. "But you have to focus. Very proud of our guys. They continue to come back and score, and score, and score, and score and we did it again."
Florida State reeled off 33 first half points despite having the ball for less than three minutes in the first quarter. At times the offense looked highly potent, but it didn't click with the same rhythm as it has in the first two games.
After the game redshirt freshman QB Jameis Winston took the fall for that one, “Everything was going our way today, [but] I was making bad decisions out there and I was just so unfocused and making a few bad decisions but the team as a whole did great.”
He had help, all three of Winston's main receivers had drops and there were several other miscues as well. But credit Winston for being able to own his mistakes. At the start of his interview one reporter asked him what was up with Rashad Greene dropping a near-perfect deep pass that should have resulted in a touchdown, Winston responded, "what's up with me overthrowing Nick [O'Leary] in the back of the endzone?"
That's just another reason Winston has ingratiated himself to his teammates so well. He doesn't throw anyone under the bus, he worries about his own mistakes and expects his teammates to do the same.
Another reason he's ingratiated himself was on display in the second quarter on a play that ended up being wiped out by a penalty. On a broken run, Devonta Freeman began to improvise and cut backwards to try and find space, that left Jameis Winston between Freeman and several Bethune defenders. Winston didn't shy away, he sold out to give the block and actually popped one defender's lid off as he did it.
On second review the block wasn't quite as solid as it looked in real time, but the defender went on to get flagged for illegal participation for continuing without his helmet and it bailed out Freeman who had a two-yards loss erased on the play.
When Florida State watches the film together, that play will stand out. That's just another way a QB earns the loyalty of his team.
More Thoughts From the Morning After:
##- Chris Casher finished second on the team in tackles and couldn't have been happier after the game, "Oh man, it' feels good, it feels real good, because to be honest these last two games have been my first time playing football in two years."
Casher lost his senior year in high school after an eligibility snafu that came from switching schools and then was injured last year, he's feeling better now though.
"I feel like I had a good game but in a lot of situations I feel like my footwork was off - I still made the plays - but I have a lot to work on. But I'm feeling [good], I'm 100 percent."
##- Terrance Smith lead the team with 12 tackles and also picked up his first career sack. CB Jalen Ramsey and LB Matthew Thomas (both true freshmen) also picked up their first sack as well. Ramsey made his third start at corner as a true freshman - with one more he'll have as many as Deion Sanders' made in 1985 - and also saw time at safety late in the game.
Thomas had three tackles and did a lot of rushing off the edge, after the game Fisher was highly complimentary: “Matthew Thomas coming off the edge, now that’s the other thing, we’ve got to tackle in space better. I wasn’t happy the way we tackled in space at times tonight and we’ve got to do a better job, maybe switch some guys around a little bit and do some things, but [Thomas] really tackled in space well and made some nice plays.”
##- Speaking of the tackling, Telvin Smith spoke about that in his post-game interview:
“I feel like as a defense as a whole we didn’t tackle that well. That’s day one football – you’ve got to tackle. That’s one of the biggest things we are probably going to get in trouble for when we go into the meeting room on Monday just because that’s such a big emphasis on the game.”
##- Karlos Williams continues to look good as a runner for Florida State, finishing with 83 yards on nine carries. He also scored twice in the second half.
“I felt a lot more comfortable," Williams said after the game. "There are still a couple of things that I need to work on like using my feet more and not relying on my hands as much.”
##- You may have heard Florida State players use the expression "we've got to get those crumbs," and thought, 'that sounds interesting.' Well, here's an explanation from Karlos Williams of just what that means:
"Coach Graham preaches the crumbs, those crumbs of bread are going to end up getting those slices of bread into loafs of bread."
I don't think that's how bread is made...
##- Finally, Levonte Whitfield made an impressive catch for the second week in a row during mop-up duty - this time hauling in a 42-yarder. The speedy freshman has yet to make it into the regular WR rotation but has looked explosive when given chances in late in ballgames. It will be interesting to see how he develops this year.
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