Three Things I Did Not Expect To See Against Alabama

Disclaimer*: In an attempt to avoid the taking easy way out, I’ve decided to leave out all the unexpected special teams blunders.

  • 1. Ermon Lane starting and playing well

I have to admit I was pretty surprised to see Ermon Lane on the field for Florida State’s defensive plays.  However, I think I was more surprised to see him excel.  And by excel, I mean make a nice open field tackle on Bo Scarborough for a key third down stop on Alabama’s first drive (below), and not get picked on in coverage.

  • 2. Freshmen in early on defense

I expected to see true freshman Cam Akers and Josh Kaindoh at some point Saturday night. What I did not expect was to see was true freshman defensive backs Stanford Samuels III and Hamsah Nasirildeen playing in the first quarter.  This is both exciting as encouraging as it shows how far ahead of the curve they are, considering Jimbo doesn’t usually play true freshman this early, especially against this type of competition.

Now, less excitingly, here is a clip of freshman corner Stanford Samuels III getting beat deep for a touchdown by Alabama’s Calvin Ridley.

Here, on the other hand, is a clip of freshman safety Hamsah Nasirildeen making a physical stop on 3rd down against Calvin Ridley.

  • 3. FSU’s offense being held to a single score

Last season, Jimbo Fisher’s offense was able to score 33 points against Michigan’s defense (#1 total defense in CFB), 31 points against Florida’s defense (#6 total defense in CFB), 45 points against Boston College’s defense (#8 total defense in CFB), 34 points against Clemson’s defense (#15 total defense in CFB).

Knowing this going into the game, I definitely had confidence in Jimbo Fisher’s offense to at least put two touchdowns on the board.  It was a bit shocking to see how well prepared Alabama was to absolutely shut Florida State down.  Yes, Florida State did have a couple missed opportunities in the first half: a miscommunication between Francois and Gavin on 4th down on the opening drive, missed pass interference call at the end of the first half, and a missed field goal to end the first half.  But still, Alabama’s defense was absolutely suffocating in the second half. Quite frankly, I expected more from Jimbo Fisher.

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