TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With Florida State on a bye this week, coach Willie Taggart did not hold his usual Monday press conference. He did, however, meet with the media before Monday’s practice to recap last week’s loss at Miami and offer some thoughts on how the Seminoles will proceed into the second half of the season. Here are highlights from that conversation:
About that call … The penalty flag that wiped out what would’ve been a momentum-swinging touchdown for Florida State was still a topic of conversation on Monday.
Officials ruled Saturday night that the Seminoles threw two forward passes during a trick play against the Hurricanes, making the play illegal. The penalty nullified a 39-yard touchdown that would have given the Seminoles a two-score lead early in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Taggart said officials told him that the play wasn’t close enough to review, although TV replays seemed to suggest otherwise. On Monday, Taggart said that he had inquired with the ACC office about the call.
“We sent it in to get some clarity, to make sure we’re doing it the way we thought we should do it and the way we executed it,” he said. “We’re waiting to hear back.”
Taggart reiterated that he believes the pass did not move forward, and that the play should have been allowed.
Dickerson update: Redshirt sophomore lineman Landon Dickerson didn’t play against Miami and could remain out of the lineup for a while.
Taggart said last week that Dickerson suffered a setback to his injured ankle at Louisville, and on Monday said that there is no timetable for Dickerson’s return.
Dickerson, who previously played guard but started the season at right tackle, injured his ankle in the season opener against Virginia Tech and missed FSU’s next three games. He returned at Louisville and played left tackle, but then did not practice during the week leading up the Miami game.
Beyond Dickerson, Taggart said that the Seminoles returned from Miami with bumps and bruises but otherwise having avoided any major injuries.
“It was a physical game,” he said. “We’ve got some guys that are a little sore, but they should be that way.”
Eliminating turnovers remains top priority: A review of Saturday’s game showed the obvious – the Seminoles were well on their way to an upset victory before being undone by turnovers in the second half.
The turnovers themselves – a fumble and an interception – were bad enough. Where they occurred made them even worse. Both plays gave Miami the ball deep in FSU territory, and the Hurricanes turned both into touchdowns that quickly erased what had been a 20-point deficit.
Before that rash of giveaways, Florida State’s defense had forced either a punt or a turnover on seven consecutive UM possessions.
“I told our team all last week – if we don’t turn the ball over, we’ll win that ballgame,” Taggart said. “When they (Miami) get turnovers down there, everything changes.”
Back to fundamentals, but with an eye toward Wake: Taggart always wants to work on fundamentals in practice, even more so with two weeks until FSU’s next game.
So expect the Seminoles to get back to basics on the practice fields, while still preparing for their next opponent.
Wake Forest is due to visit Tallahassee on Oct. 20. The ACC announced Monday that the game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and be televised by ESPN2.
“We’re going to spend a lot more time with (fundamentals) than you usually get during a game week,” Taggart said. “But every day, we’re here, we’re going to also prepare for Wake Forest.”
Noles keeping an eye on Michael: Taggart said that he planned to meet with Florida State officials regarding the team’s plans during Hurricane Michael, which is expected to reach the Tallahassee area on Wednesday.
Florida State announced during Monday’s practice that its main campus would close Tuesday through Friday, and the Seminoles announced that they would not hold their practice that was previously scheduled for Wednesday morning.
“I know our administration will look in, and we’ll meet later today to make sure we keep our student-athletes safe and healthy,” Taggart said.
Michael could be the third storm to impact FSU football in as many years. Hurricane Hermine caused power outages at Doak Campbell Stadium and disrupted the team’s preparation for its opener against Mississippi in 2016. A year later, Hurricane Irma caused games against Louisiana-Monroe and Miami to be rescheduled, which gave the Seminoles an unexpected three-week break between games. FSU opened its season against Alabama on Sept. 2, and didn’t play again until Sept. 23.