Florida States Offensive Line Struggles
What if I told you that the Florida State Seminoles would have a huge week two showdown against the Samford Bulldogs? You would probably think that I meant to say the Stanford Cardinals, but you would be wrong. FSU went down to the wire against FCS opponent Samford in what can be categorized as a flat out embarrassment. Although FSU won 36 – 26, the game should have never been that close. Remember, Samford led deep into the fourth quarter.
Devlin Hodges making it look easy
Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges torched the FSU defense to the tune of 475 passing yards,
two touchdowns, and four interceptions. You can’t discount the interceptions, but a defense
that has the talent FSU’s does should not give up almost 500 passing yards to a QB, whether it’s
an FCS or FBS opponent. I don’t want to focus on the myriad of issues that plagued FSU in this
game; instead I want to focus on the biggest one which is the offensive line.
Florida State Offensive Line Struggles
How does FSU get to a place where their offensive line is as offensive as it has been through
their first two games of the season. It’s a combination of things such as poor evaluation, poor
strength and conditioning, poor development, and poor coaching. The previous coaching staff,
mainly Head Coach Jimbo Fisher and Offensive Line Coach Rick Trickett really left current Head
Coach Willie Taggart and current Offensive Line Coach Greg Frey with a mountain to climb.
There is no reason that a prestigious program like FSU should field an offensive line this bad. The Bulldogs lived in their backfield all night and because of that they recorded one sack, two QB hurries, and six tackles for loss. If it weren’t for Bulldog defender Ahmad Gooden being ejected for targeting in the fourth quarter, FSU may very have lost the game. Before his ejection,
Gooden had six tackles, one sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, one pass deflection, and one QB hurry.
Samford Bulldogs on defense
The Bulldogs routinely split double teams on the offensive line to pressure Francois as soon as
he dropped back to pass. They stifled the Seminoles running game and held them to 134 rushing
yard, one touchdown, 3.8 yards per carry, and a long rush of 14 yards. These numbers are
coming from an offense that is built around a powerful run game, a run game that has been
lethal at Taggart’s previous stops. The high school ranking and recruiting stars by their name no
longer matter. FSU’s offensive line is soft mentally and physically. You have to want to dominate
the man in front of you and have the requisite strength and technique to do it and I’m not sure
if they have either across the board right now. Coach Frey has shown to be an excellent
offensive line coach and he will have his work cut out for him this season and going forward.
Final word about Florida State offensive line
Florida State offensive line has some issues that cannot and will not be fixed this season, no matter how
much time and coaching is invested. The new regime will have to overcome the previous
regime, the major deficiencies they left, and their current options at offensive line. The
Seminoles will only go as far as the offensive line can take them.
By: Nicholas Austin-Holliday; Twitter: @naustinholliday