Sept. 14, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The opportunity to play the next football game can’t come quickly enough for the Florida State football team, which has spent the past three days in self-analysis.
The search for answers following the loss at Oklahoma began in the Moore Athletic Center coaching suite and the minds of each player.
Saturday’s home game against Brigham Young (ESPNU, 3:30 p.m.) will provide first-year coach Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles their first opportunity to author a public response to defeat. That response is being crafted on the FSU practice field this week, where the Seminoles wrapped up Tuesday’s practice with an effort that pleased Fisher.
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“I thought we got better,” Fisher said. “There were very minimal mistakes in the new things we put in for the (BYU) game and the game plan that we’re doing. I like the direction we’re heading and how they’ve handled this.”
In addition to game plan installation the Seminoles worked individually and collectively on cleaning up mistakes, especially in the area of tackling and execution on both sides of the football.
Fisher estimated that the Seminoles missed somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 tackles against the Sooners.
“It was so glaring because some of them were in space so much … they end up being big plays,” he said. “They did a good job [in Tuesday’s practice] of stepping on their toes and hitting on the rise.”
Few players were more anxious to take the field this week than sophomore cornerback Greg Reid, who admittedly labored in his first big-stage performance as a starter.
“It was the fastest offense I’ve ever played in my whole life,” Reid said, when asked what he learned from studying the Oklahoma game film. “The kind of mistakes I messed up on and the team messed up on, we can fix.”
Reid, who had a career-high 10 tackles against the Sooners, was especially self-critical of his missed tackles and coverage breakdowns.
“We lost the game and everybody knows the weakness,” Reid said. “My weakness was tackling and lining up a little bit. … I feel like I needed it. I’m glad I got it out of the way before it’s too late. They tried me; they tried me the whole game. That’s what I needed.”
Fisher appreciated Reid’s self-analysis, but more importantly, the corrective measures he has taken through the first two practices of the week.
“That’s a way to look at it sometimes, because he’s taking it in a positive way,” Fisher said of Reid. “Sometimes you have to take a step back before you take a step forward. When you’re young, you’ve got to understand that. That’s part of maturing. I respect him for at least saying, `OK, I didn’t play well, but I’m going to fix it.’ … What’s important is he comes out in practice that way, which he did.”
Reid, whose confidence is never in question, made only one prediction: “I’m going to get better every week.”
Junior wide receiver Bert Reed said the FSU offense was uncharacteristically undone by a multitude of small mistakes which weren’t limited to any one position or player.
“We couldn’t get our game going because we were too busy making mistakes,” Reed said. “They did a good job of confusing us. That’s something we don’t usually have in our offense – confusion.
“We know we can move the ball and we know that the only way we can be stopped is if we hurt ourselves. I’ve felt that way for a long time in this offense.”
Eliminating those self-inflicted wounds will go a long way toward creating the offensive rhythm that Reed said he has come to expect from the Seminoles.
“There were a lot of little things that created the mayhem that was going on out there,” he added. “That’s what it kind of felt like. We weren’t in our rhythm.”
Saturday’s date against the Cougars provides a stage – in front of the home crowd – to perform at a level that will quiet critics, help restore order and allow for a measure of redemption.
“It is important, not because of our opponent, but because we have to respond,” Reed said. “It’s just going out there and doing what we do. If we go back to our basics of what we do, everything’s going to be fine.”