September 7, 2018
Game Test

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State’s offensive output against Virginia Tech looked about the same on film as it did live.

“A lot of self-inflicted wounds,” coordinator Walt Bell said. “… Just critical error in really unfortunate times. And I think that’s obvious to everybody that watched the game, that was a part of the game, from a fan to a coach.”

Florida State’s coaches and players agree that the offense needs to improve, and they’ll certainly get no argument from the Seminoles’ fanbase.

But don’t expect wholesale scheme changes when FSU hosts Samford on Saturday.

“I don’t think it was anything we’ve got to change up,” coach Willie Taggart said. “We’ve just got to do it a lot better than what we did.”

By now, Florida State’s offensive trials have been thoroughly dissected.

On their own, five turnovers or a 25-percent conversion rate in the red zone might be enough to sink a team.

Together, they virtually guarantee defeat.

Procedural penalties, missed blocking assignments and a failure to “win” first down – often defined as gaining four or more yards on first-and-10 – don’t help either.

The Seminoles have acknowledged all of those problems in the last day or so.

But as far as Bell is concerned, they can all be pretty much summed up by one word:

“Details,” he said. “Just details.”

And the only way to fix those details is on the practice fields.

It’s probably not a coincidence that Bell then mentioned two specific drills geared toward ball security.

“Everything we do, there’s a reason and purpose,” Bell said. “And we’ve got to make sure that every one of those drills, regardless of how monotonous, that we execute them like our lives are on the line.

“Because we did not do that, and our lives were on the line.”


All that said, Taggart and quarterback Deondre Francois both reminded that the offense did, in fact, show some signs of life.

The Seminoles outgained the Hokies, had 10 “chunk plays” (passes of 15-plus yards, runs of 10-plus yards) and saw their playmakers make a handful of highlight-reel moves – like when Khalan Laborn juked his way past half the Virginia Tech defense on his way to a 37-yard gain.

(And yes, for those wondering, Taggart and Bell both said they plan to get Laborn more touches this week.)

“We did a lot of things well,” Francois said. “… But we missed a lot of little details. We played a good game. We got the ball in the red zone. We just couldn’t capitalize.”

Bell did allow that there’s plenty of room for introspection in the coaches’ meetings, and that they’ll always spend time analyzing what works and what doesn’t.

But there’s not much to be gained by having a pity party.

“The only way to really fail at this whole thing is to not learn anything from Monday night,” he said. “… You don’t learn a lot from the wins. You learn a lot about yourself and what really matters to your football team when you get a butt-whipping.”

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