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53 posts from September 2013

September 30, 2013

Mondays With Jimbo: Maryland Week Edition


Every Monday Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher holds his weekly press conference to discuss the week's opponent, the previous weekend's film and whatever else he feels like talking about that afternoon. We cover it in a weekly piece called, "Mondays with Jimbo."

Jimbo Fisher stopped by on Monday afternoon to discuss what went wrong defensively and talk up Maryland a little bit. The Terrapins rank 25th in the AP poll and will attempt to upset the Seminoles when they visit Tallahassee on Saturday.

"Maryland, as you see, is a very good team. In every conference standing, they’re one or two in every statistical category across the board, playing very good football," said Fisher. "Very dynamic players on offense –quarterback C.J. Brown is playing lights out. [Stefon] Diggs is a great player – he’s catching balls everywhere. Their back, [Brandon] Ross is way up there and does a good job. They’ve got a good football team.

"Defensively, [Marcus] Whitfield has five or six sacks and six or seven tackles for loss. [They are] doing a lot of different things with coverages and blitz packages – playing great football. Special teams are doing a good job, got great returners because they’re dynamic and athletic. It’s going to be a great game. Got to get better this week and improve and try and win another conference game because it’s a double whammy game because it’s [also] a divisional game."

Fisher also took soom time to discuss some of what happened with Florida State's defense over the course of their game with Boston College. The Eagles jumped out to a 17-3 lead and amassed 200 yards rushing (397 total) while hanging 34 points on the Seminoles. 

"We’ve got to continue to improve. I thought our defense did a nice job and we had a couple of knucklehead [moments] that we did with eye control," Fisher said. "Gave up a couple of big plays that were very simple, but when we watched the film I wasn’t as distraught as I thought I was going to be because it was only two or three individual things that caused the problem."

Asked to elaborate on what specifically caused the issues, Fisher continued on about fixing eye-control issues and problems with taking on blocks rather than trying to work around them. 

"I said that after the press conference eyes are critical. You want to see guys make plays, but sometimes on defense you have to realize that you don’t make every play," Fisher added. "You have to have the discipline to do it and a couple of our situations came from eye discipline trying to be over aggressive and not staying with what we had to do and within the scheme.

"You'd rather say ‘whoa,’ than ‘giddy up.’ I say that all the time. When you explain to our guys, they saw it, they get it, they’re not selfish. It’s just natural on defense they want to make a tackle but sometimes you have to give yourself up for someone else to make it so you stay sound in what you’re trying to do."

A little more from Jimbo:

##- On the play of his young defensive backs:

"I thought they played well. We had very few issues in the secondary as far as guys and broken plays. Those were not their situations. They tackled well for the most part. I thought Jalen Ramsey played pretty well for the most part. P.J. (Williams) did a great job, scored on defense, got another pick – a great turnover there and then Nate Andrews got his first pick of the game. I thought those guys did a nice job."

##- On starting slow again last Saturday:

“We found out some things about our football team that you don’t always find out until big situations that I’m very proud of, in hindsight. We want to do better in the beginning and we want to start from (being) ahead and we’ll work on those things but we have found out a lot about our team. We can keep poised and we can stay as true to the process and keep playing and be able to make adjustments and still be able to win the football game.”

##- Telvin Smith won ACC Linebacker of the Week honors:

“Telvin was taking on blocks, was filling holes, did a nice job, just overall leadership and ability to play the game – he can play and play. Just a tremendous football player. I could go on and on about him. Great leader, instinctive, dadgum is he instinctive. When he pulls the pin and makes a decision he explodes at the ball carrier. Very good football player.”

##- And finally on Desmond Hollin, the JuCo transfer:

“He made a sack and I’m going to tell you what, took on blocks, played physical, played well at the point – when we got him in there he did a really nice job of helping us adjust and shut things down.”

“[He just needs] reps. He’s going to play more and more. He’s earned that right. Last week and a half of practice, he’s really started coming on. Understands the techniques and is playing physical. I think has a chance to be a very good player.”


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September 29, 2013

Thoughts From the Morning After: FSU 48 Boston College 34


Florida State rolled up 48 points and an extremely memorable highlight on Boston College yesterday, but that's only half the story. 

Fresh off a bye and with two full weeks to prepare, Boston College really gave it to the Seminole defense on Saturday afternoon. Andre Williams racked up 149 yards on 28 carries, the Eagles had 200 on the day and by the final whistle FSU had given up 397 total yards and a career-high four passing touchdowns to BC QB Chase Rettig.

There was a point in this game where Florida State fans couldn't help but get that all-too-familiar feeling of dread in the pit of their stomachs. This started to feel like the typical Seminole-swoon around the start of the 2nd quarter when BC pushed their advantage to 17-3 and FSU's defense was on its heels.

"They caught us with some things and made some plays and got us behind early but the kids kept a lot of poise I think," said Jimbo Fisher after the game.

The Seminoles are not a first-quarter team this season. They have started out three of their four games trailing early and didn't come out firing on all cylinders against Bethune-Cookman two weeks ago either. 

It hasn't caught up to FSU yet, but neither has the Seminoles' schedule. FSU has been in the cake-walk segment of their year. Now they have six straight ACC games, a gimme and then end with their rival, UF. Of those eight games, half the teams could legitimately make Florida State pay if they falter early against them. 

"We’ve got to learn to start better. We had some mistakes, some critical mistakes I thought on that first drive on offense that were inexcusable," said Fisher. "Thought defensively that after a while we really settled down and started making plays [though]."

FSU's defense did settle down enough to keep the BC offense at bay for most of the second half. But the Eagles did still score 34 and there were more than a few issues that have crept up time and time again over the course of the season for this Seminoles defense.

Problems setting the edge, linebackers having issues in space and penalties have all cost Florida State points and stops, but the most problematic thing facing Fisher and his team right now is the tackling.

There were many points where the scheme was fine, the call was right and the player was in position. But a missed tackle negates all of that.

It could just be an aberration, or it could just have to do with a sport-wide emphasis on safety that has teams tackling less and less in practice. Florida State almost never tackles to the ground, they thud, that's what FSU was doing on Saturday too, thudding but not really wrapping up. 

And a big back like Andre Williams didn't go down on just thudding alone yesterday, you have to wrap that sort of RB up.

Whatever the cause, FSU has to address it quickly or else a team like Clemson could really have a field day. 

But it's also worth pointing out that sometimes teams just have those kinds of games. Before Seminoles fans chuck the baby with the bathwater, that was a BC team that does one thing well and had two weeks to scheme with it against FSU. Credit Steve Addazio for coming up with a good gameplan that let BC exploit FSU's over-pursuit and some of the problems that had shown up on film in other games. 

This very well could be the defensive low-point of FSU's season and will serve as a well-needed catalyst to help push the unit where Fisher and DC Jeremy Pruitt need it to be. 

Or it could be a sign of what's to come.

It's too early to tell at this point.


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Going Polling: FSU Still 8th in AP, Coaches Polls


Florida State remains 8th in the Associated Press poll. The poll - which was released a few moments ago - has little movement up top where Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, Ohio State and Stanford still reside in the top five.

But LSU's loss to the Bulldogs has UGA up to 6th, leaping FSU.

Lousiville, Florida State, Texas A&M and LSU round out the top ten. Miami moves to 14th, UF jumps to 18th and Maryland now represents the fourth ACC school ranked in the top 25 as they check in for the first time this season at 25th.

Menawhile in the Coaches' Poll FSU also remains 8th. Their top five also remains unchanged with Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, Clemson and Stanford rounding it out. Georgia jumps to sixth in the coaches poll as well, Louisville, FSU and Texas A&M follow suit at 7-8-9 too, but Oklahoma comes in at the 10th according the coaches.

Miami is up to 14 in the coaches poll also, UF is 19th and technically Maryland has enough votes to be ranked 29th, but that's silly because we only count the top 25 teams. 

Florida State will host Maryland Saturday at noon.


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September 28, 2013

Rapid Reaction: FSU 48 Boston College 34


Florida State took hold of this one in the second half and did not let up despite Boston College's best efforts. 

That's not to say there weren't a fair share of mistakes, FSU will have plenty to correct come next week, but Jameis Winston and the Florida State offense provided more than enough fire power to overcome their defensive woes and FSU ran away with this game in the second half. 

After surrendering a field goal on BC's opening possession Jameis Winston answered by driving FSU 75 yards in nine plays and capping it with another Rashad Greene touchdown pass. A drive later the Seminoles added another touchdown on a Karlos Williams run to make it 38-20. 

Boston College wasn't done though. The Eagles had a very good day running the ball and QB Chase Rettig had a career-high four passing touchdowns. BC RB Andre Williams had a very impressive performance, running 28 times for 149 yards. He didn't score though, instead Rettig was able to punch Boston College in whenever they got close (he finished 19/29 for 198 yards, 4 TD and 2 INT).

Despite intercepting Rettig twice, BC was able to move the ball on FSU at points during the afternoon. The Seminoles entered the game ranked second nationally in total defense. They looked like a different unit come kickoff though. FSU surrendered 398 total yards and BC had a pulse until the final minutes - despite being down a couple of scores. 

But the offense was enough to carry FSU on Saturday. Winston finished 17/27 for 330 yards and four TD's and he also got great performances from all three of his big-time receivers. Kelvin Benjamin lead the way with three catch for 103 yards while both Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw caught four passes. Greene had two scores and 90 yards while Shaw had 93 and the touchdown to end the first half.

On the ground FSU piled up 159 yards but never managed to control the line of scrimmage as they have the past three games.

Credit Boston College for giving FSU one heck of a game. They tested the Seminoles on defense and they kept the Seminoles from establishing a consistent run game. But in the end Winston and the Seminole offense proved too much for the Boston College. They scored 48 points and that was more than enough to get it done. 

I'll be back later tonight with more wrap-up and analysis.

Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Jameis Winston (17/27 330, 4 TD)
Rushing: Andre Williams (28-149)
Receiving: Rashad Greene (4-90, 2 TD) 


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Halftime: FSU 24 Boston College 17


Florida State fans were just given quite the first-half scare by Boston College. The Eagles were in control throughout the first quarter, stopping the Seminole offense and running all over the Florida State defense. 

BC had run up 124 rushing yards and held the ball for nearly 18 minutes. That's exactly what they set out to do against FSU too. 

But then Jameis Winston showed up and turned things in Florida State's favor.

Boston College wasted no time getting after Jameis Winston - forcing a three-and-out and pressuring the young QB all three plays during FSU's first drive - then took advantage of excellent field position to punch it in early. 

But unlike the past three games things didn't immediately turn around. Florida State legitimately struggled to stop Boston College's rushing attack early in this one. Andre Williams had 99 yards in the first half, BC was able to use some of FSU's defensive tendencies (inability to set the edge, over-pursuit) to their advantage and on the first two drives thoroughly out-schemed the Seminoles.

FSU was down 17-3 before they really got their legs under them. 

Then things got going and FSU quickly evened the score. A long pass to Rashad Greene and a short toss to Chad Abram evened things up 17-17 and more or less wiped the slate clean heading into the second half. Then on the final play of the first half Winston made arguably the best play of his young career, buying time and finding Kenny Shaw for the TD as the clock expired. 

FSU needs to make some adjustments defensively, but they were able to make stops on their final few drives and give the ball back to the offense. 

And after a rough first quarter Jameis Winston has recovered to go 9/13 of 217 yards and three touchdowns, he lead the Seminoles back with aplomb and FSU will enter the second half with all of the momentum.

Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Jameis Winston (9/13, 217 yards, 3 TD
Rushing: Andre Williams (21-99)
Receiving: Rashad Greene (3-80, TD)


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Pregame: FSU at Boston College


Florida State is getting set to take on Boston College at Alumni Stadium. This matchup should play out similarly to FSU's past three, expect the Eagles to try to control the tempo and run the ball. 

Florida State's defense has typically taken a drive or two to get locked in, but after that they are ranked second in total defense in the entire country and are 3rd in points allowed. BC has an offense that isn't necessarily suited to putting up points in bunches either, so if FSU can take the Eagles out of their gameplan early they could end up running away with this game. 

Check back at halftime and after the game for rapid reaction.

Here's your game capsule:

FSU at BC Preview (From Print)
Previewing the Opponent: BC
Five Things to Watch For
Week Five Injury Report 

Karlos Williams Likely to See Increased Role
The Tao of Jaboo (BC Edition)
Mondays With Jimbo (BC Edition)


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Five Things to Watch For: FSU at Boston College


Here are five things to watch for this afternoon when Florida State visits Boston College. 

1.) How quickly can FSU toss a wrench in BC's offensive plans?

Boston College wants to control the tempo of the game by pounding the ball with Andre Williams and keeping the Florida State offense off the field. That's a great plan if the game is close but if things start to get out of hands it becomes untenable. That means Florida State defense needs to make its stops on third downs, get off the field and the Seminole offense needs to put up points early. 

So far this season, FSU has not been what you would call a "first-half team." That's not to say they've played poorly but things have taken a drive or two to get going on both sides of the ball this year. If that happens today, BC could really agitate Florida State. But if FSU can put a few scores between themselves and BC early, the entire complexion of the game changes.

2.) Fans of Wild and Free may soon be screaming 'Free Wilder'

To say Karlos Williams has come on strong at running back would be an understatement. Since switching sides of the ball following the Pittsburgh game Karlos has scored three touchdowns and gained 193 yards on just 17 carries. On Monday Jimbo Fisher admitted he was testing his new back to make sure that he knew what he was doing. But if this week is any indication the training wheels are about to come off and Williams is about to get a bigger share of the carries.

That's not going to bother Devonta Freeman much, he's become the de facto number one back and will still get his share of carries. It could be bad news for James Wilder though. Both backs employ a very physical brand of running, but Williams has looked more explosive early and could start stealing Wilder's carries.

3.) Jalen Ramsey at Safety

Jalen Ramsey has already had a year of firsts. He made his first start of the season in the Seminoles' season opener - marking the first time a true freshman had started at corner since 1985 and in a season opener since '77. On Saturday - with Tyler Hunter out this week following a neck injury in the second half of the win over Bethune-Cookman - Ramsey will be starting the first game of his career at safety.

"He’s done it all week. He’s practiced there since two-a-days and cross-trains there all the time," said Jimbo Fisher on Thursday. "It’s like our receivers – one guy’s an X, a split end, a flanker or a slot. You learn to play all the positions you move around in, and they understand the total concepts of what’s back there in the secondary. He’s done a great job. He’s very intelligent.

4.) Jameis on the road, part deux

Last time Jameis Winston played on the road he was 25/27 for 356 yards and four touchdowns. I doubt he emulates that today but he has said that he almost prefers road games because of the 'us vs. the world' mentality they evoke. Winston has been solid through the first quarter of the season, throwing for 718 yards, 8 TD's and just one pick so far this year. BC's defense is talented but was also hurt through the air two weeks ago by USC. That means Winston should see plenty of opportunities to stretch the field given the speed of some of his receivers.

5.) Kermit on Kickoffs

Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield will now be the Seminoles' kick returner, replacing senior Lamarcus Joyner. Joyner didn't lose the job, he's just too valuable to risk injuring on a kickoff. That opens the doors for Whitfield who - according to many - is the fastest player on the Seminole roster.

"You’ve got all those guys doing so much that it’s good to give them a break and I think Kermit is very natural at it," said Fisher last Monday. "He’s very good at it and I think he’s mature enough and been around long enough to understand what we want. I’ve been very pleased with his progress; he made a very nice catch in the game. I think he’s progressing nicely and he’s very explosive and has a chance to make big plays.” 


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September 27, 2013

Previewing the Opponent: Boston College Eagles


Boston College Eagles
Record: 2-1 (1-0 ACC)
Head Coach: Steve Addazio
All-Time: FSU Leads 7-4

Overview: Once again Florida State is set to play a team that will attempt to control the clock and run the ball. As Telvin Smith joked on Monday, this seems to be all the Seminoles see nowadays. Boston College's head coach, Steve Addazio, is new this year but plenty familiar with Florida State. As a coach at UF he recruited a good number of FSU's players and his current scheme is right out of the SEC.

"They’ve changed defensively and they’ve changed on offense," said Jimbo Fisher on Monday. "It’s not like playing them a year ago. You can go back and evaluate the players, but not the scheme." 

BC has a big offensive line and a giant running back and they will attempt to pound the ball at FSU all afternoon. 

"They had a week off to prepare well,' said Fisher. "Steve [Addazio] does a great job coaching, offense [and] defense. They’re very physical on offense – very good offensive line. Probably one of the best ones we’ve seen. Their [RB] Andre Williams is averaging over 100 yards a game, is very physical, big, 230-pound guy that breaks tackles – strong.

"[Receiver] Alex Amidon is doing a great job making explosive plays for them – [he’s] very quick. A very good change of direction and [Chase] Rettig is a very good quarterback, so they have a nice team."

Defensively the Eagles are giving up less than 20 points per game and should try to bring plenty of unique ways to attack the Seminole offense. 

"They are very complicated," said Jameis Winston. "So it’s going to be a real fun game with a lot of different schemes and packages that they bring to the table, so it’s going to be fun.”

How FSU Stacks Up: Florida State shouldn't have issues with Boston College in terms of the talent on the field. The Seminoles won't face a team with comparable talent until Clemson. But that doesn't mean BC can't agitate Florida State by running the clock and trying to power the run up inside. Florida State's defensive line is still a work in progress and have - at time, early in games - been susceptible to giving up yardage on the ground. Two weeks ago Nevada held the ball for most of the first half and averaged over four yards per carry before FSU got going. 

Fortunately FSU should be able to put up points. BC surrendered 35 to USC in a blowout loss two weeks ago and could be in trouble if the Seminoles can stretch the field vertically. Look for Rashad Greene and Kelvin Benjamin to try to work early on to loosen up the box and then expect a heavy does of Devonta Freeman and Karlos Williams in the second half.

Three to Watch:

1.) Chase Rettig, QB - If BC wants to have a shot at the upset they will need a big day from their quarterback.

2.) Andre Williams, RB - A big, strong, physical running back who will try to test Florida State between the tackles early and often.

3.) Alex Amidon, WR - 20 receptions for 262 yards so far this season for BC's most talented receiver.

Quote of the Week: "We’re going to bring our ‘A’ game. Boston College will be ready. They’ll be rested and they’ve had two weeks to prepare for us on film. They’ll definitely be ready for us. We’ll be going on the road, handling their hostile environment, momentum swings, all the things that go with being on the road. We’ll get in that hotel and lock them down and get ready to roll. I feel good about where we’re going. We’ve had a good week of practice."

-Jimbo Fisher


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September 26, 2013

FSU Injury Report: Week Five (Boston College)


Tyler Hunter is out for Saturday afternoon's game at Boston College. The junior safety left last weekend's win over Bethune-Cookman with a neck injury and did not return. He missed the week of practice and was ruled out on Thursday. 

Jimbo Fisher still says Hunter is day-to-day, but also reacted a bit sharply when pressed for details, saying that he didn't know how long Hunter would be out and that he couldn't make that determination as he wasn't a doctor.

Jalen Ramsey will replace Hunter at safety. PJ Williams will replace Ramsey at corner. 

“Keelin (Smith) and all the guys will get more playing time [too]," added Fisher. "They’ve been playing well in practice for a while. They’ll all get to play. They’ll all be in there.”



DE      Mario Edwards, Jr. (hand) 

Out for Game

DB      Tyler Hunter (neck)
TE      Jeremy Kerr (knee)
OL      Wilson Bell (knee)
OL      Ira Denson (shoulder) 

Out for Season

TE      Kevin Haplea (knee)
WR     Jarred Haggins (knee)


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September 25, 2013

The Tao of Jaboo (BC Week Edition)


Every Wednesday Jameis Winston speaks and every Wednesday we'll provide you the highlights of his interview in a weekly feature called, "The Tao of Jaboo."

Jameis Winston stopped bu on Wednesday to discuss BC, his performance last Saturday and his relationship with head coach Jimbo Fisher. 

Fisher - as has never been a secret - can be a bit hard on his QB's. As a former quarterback himself, Fisher demands more of his signal-callers than many have been asked to give up to this point in their lives. Fisher demands a near-professional approach (which is a big part of why his past three QB's were taking in the top 20 picks of the NFL draft) and settles for nothing less.

That could be a lot to endure if not for the trust Fisher engenders from his players, Winston in particular:

“It comes from me and his trust. I trust him 100 percent, and the better I trust him, the more comfortable I am with him," said Winston. "He teaches me what to do out there, him and [quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders], they tell me what I need to do, and it comes from me preparing and watching film to know the right decisions, but he basically teaches me out there, so he’s putting me out there on the field in his image so I have to do what he wants to do. That’s why we have to trust each other.”

But Winston was also asked if the pressure of Fisher's expectations could be burdensome. For some QB's it has been. 

“That’s what I would do if I were a coach. He’s competitive. He wants everything to go perfect. He’s a perfectionist, and that’s one thing you want in a coach," said Winston. "You don’t want a coach to allow you to do bad things and let little things go by.”

But is it ever too much? To many fans the only part of the relationship that is visible is the interaction between Fisher and his passers on the sideline. Often time Fisher can be fiery. Sometimes yelling is involved.

“I think when Coach Fisher tries to yell at me and intimidate me, he knows that I’m going to look at him like, ‘Coach, I know you’re trying to get under my skin.’ So it’s not necessarily going to work," joked Winston.

"But when I know he’s serious, I get a different type of attitude. I’ve got to lock in, because I know when he gets mad at a practice, it probably isn’t going to stop if I keep messing up. I can quiet him, but I can’t stop him from yelling the rest of the practice.”

More from Jameis:

##- On his excitement over traveling to Boston:

“I just love away games period.  I think they’re just fun games, and we get to travel, so that’s always fun.  I’ve never been to Boston before, but I’ve heard it’s pretty nice. We’re only there for one day, it’s not like a baseball trip.”

##- On what BC's defense has put on film:

“A lot of different things. They are very complicated, so it’s going to be a real fun game with a lot of different schemes and packages that they bring to the table, so it’s going to be fun.”

##- On his growing comfort with the offense:

“I still feel like I have a long way to go in the offense, but for the rest of the year, I’m going to be comfortable with the players that we have around us, and they actually help me more than I can help them. Like this weekend, I busted a play, but I was able to get out of that and my team backed me up. K.B. [redshirt sophomore Kelvin Benjamin] made a great catch and it was a touchdown. That was my negative, but it was the team’s positive.”


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



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