TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The film session after Florida State’s 63-20 loss at Louisville last week did not go down easily. “We were disgusted,” senior defensive end DeMarcus Walker said. By now, the breakdowns that occurred on Saturday have been well documented. Coach Jimbo Fisher said that the Seminoles failed in all three phases of the game, and several players were left fuming after missing opportunities that turned what was a close game midway through the second quarter into a stunning blowout in the second half. The good news, though, is the Seminoles don’t have to wait long to get back at it. FSU travels to South Florida on Saturday, where it will play its third game away from home to start the season.
Fisher has said his players must choose whether to let the Louisville game either define the season or drive them to improve.
“One game isn’t going to define you unless you let it,” Fisher said.
Through a few days of practice, Fisher said he’s pleased with how the Seminoles have responded to that challenge.
He called Monday a “solid” day of work and said that Tuesday was even better.
And, after addressing the team on Sunday, Walker saw what he feels is the necessary attitude and energy once the Seminoles put their pads and helmets back on Monday afternoon.
“I loved it. Very good,” Walker said. “It’s just one step. We have to keep getting better, worry about ourselves. But I saw a different attitude (on Monday), a different energy.”
The Seminoles are in for no small task when they visit USF, which figures to continue FSU’s string of difficult games to start the year.
Although the Bulls don’t have a Lamar Jackson or a Chad Kelly, they do have a 3-0 record and an offense that’s averaging nearly 50 points per game.
And in quarterback Quinton Flowers and running back Marlon Mack, the Bulls have a pair of offensive players who can put up plenty of yards and points if opposing defenses aren’t sharp.
“These guys (USF) do a lot of the same things in the running game with the quarterback (as Louisville),” Fisher said.
“It’s like having an extra running back in the backfield, and they have to be accounted for at all times,” senior cornerback Marquez White said. “You’ve got to be able to defend the pass and the run. That’s something that we struggle with at times, but we’re definitely improving.”
The formula for that improvement, Fisher said, is a blend of passion and technique.
FSU’s slow starts over the first few games of the season have led to questions about the Seminoles’ intensity, and Fisher allowed they need to dial things up a bit.
But simply handling assignments and playing well has a way of solving problems, too.
“Emotion and heart and all that stuff is good,” Fisher said. “But what is going to win now is heart and emotion (mixed) with a lot of technique and sound fundamentals.”
And while they wish the lesson hadn’t been so necessary – or so painful – the Seminoles at least say that losing the way they did last week can serve them well as they move forward.
“I told my teammates, ‘This is the best thing that could have happened to us,’” Walker said. “We got hit the mouth. (Now) we know that talent can’t take us to the promised land.
“The small things, the details, the preparation, the communication, that’s what it’s going to take to get us where we want to go.”