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Florida State Midseason Grades

At the halfway point in the season, it hasn’t always been pretty as Florida State finds themselves sitting at 3-3 (1-2). There has been some good, more bad and a bit of ugly in 2018. Let’s break things down in the three phases of the game so far this season.

Offense: D+

This comes as no surprise to anyone who has watched Florida State through six games so far this season. Largely handicapped by injury and depth concerns up front, this offense has been far from the “lethal simplicity” Willie Taggart sold fans on during the offseason.

The Seminoles currently rank 109th in the country in the adjusted S&P offensive rankings. In ACC play, the offense is averaging less than 15 points per game. Former five star running backs Cam Akers and Jaques Patrick have struggled all season behind this offensive line and show no signs of improvement anytime soon.

Quarterback Deondre Francois continues to struggle making the proper reads which further handcuffs the offense. Week after week, he is hesitant to keep the ball allowing defenses to dismiss the threat of the quarterback run.

The one strength of the offense has been the passing game when Francois has had time to throw the ball. Tamorrion Terry has emerged as a serious weapon as a deep thread hauling in multiple touchdowns of 50+ yards on the season. Tre’ McKitty, Keith Gavin and DJ Matthews have all flashed in the passing game as well and look to provide a bright future for the Seminoles moving forward.

The back end of this schedule will only see tougher defenses and the offense must improve if the Seminoles expect to find three more wins to extend the bowl streak.

Defense: B-

Overall, Harlon Barnett’s defense has been solid in 2018. Ranking 33rd overall in the S&P rankings, this defense has been about what we expected. Pretty good on a down to down basis occasionally giving up a big play here or there.

Florida State has been extremely good against the run so far in 2018 giving up just 2.76 yards per rush. Sophomore tack Marvin Wilson is emerging as an elite run stuffer and has found a way to get to the quarterback on passing downs. He will only continue to get better during his time in Tallahassee.

Against the pass, the defense has been average at best. Too often, opposing wide receivers have been streaking downfield wide open. Some of that is due to the aggressive nature of the defense who looks to attack the quarterback on passing downs. If FSU can find a way to hit opposing quarterbacks more often, this defense has a chance to be special.

Special Teams: D

Considering Florida State has a full-time assistant coach who focuses solely on special teams, this unit has drastically underperformed.

Outside of DJ Matthews touchdown against Miami, the punt return game has been nonexistent. The same can be said for kickoff returns at this point in the season.

Punter Logan Tyler has been hit or miss all season long. He currently ranks 60th in the nation averaging 43.2 yards per punt.

Kick Ricky Aguayo has been much of the same. He has converted on just six of 10 field goal attempts so far this season and missed what could have been a game-clinching field goal in Florida State’s loss to Miami Saturday afternoon.

It’s no surprise this unit ranks 100th overall in the S&P rankings.

Overall, this team has a long way to go. The issues facing this program won’t be fixed this season but over time, everything is correctable.

Willie Taggart struggled early in his previous stops at Western Kentucky and USF but eventually turned things around at both programs. It is fair to expect the same at Florida State. Fans need to remain patient, allow Taggart to recruit his players and continue to change the culture in Tallahassee. All three phases of the game have flashed at times and once it becomes more consistent, FSU will once again be a force in college football.

 


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