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Florida State vs. Louisiana-Monroe Game Preview

Game Introduction:

So here we are, heading into week 2 quite disappointed again by FSU football, but there’s hope. There are still at least 11 games left to play and the ‘Noles did show a drastic improvement in certain areas of the game this past Saturday. As James Blackman said, “This one game can’t define us.” FSU will have the opportunity to bounce back against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks on Saturday in Doak Campbell. FSU most recently faced the Warhawks in a rescheduled game, due to a Hurricane, in 2017, when Odell Haggins kept the bowl streak alive in his first game as interim head coach. Everyone knows that the Seminoles have much more talent in this affair, but no one knows the character and heart of FSU football right now. This weekend is their time to show it. FSU and ULM will kickoff at 5:00 PM on ACC Network.



Headlines:

FSU 0-1 for 3rd straight year

Florida State is in the same exact spot for the 3rd straight year, 0-1 to begin the year. And the last 2 years have gone miserable if you ask any FSU fan. In 2017, the ‘Noles barely kept the bowl streak alive and Jimbo Fisher ditched Tallahassee for Aggie Town. Then in 2018, FSU’s bowl streak finally came to an end. Now it is FSU’s time to decide which direction it wants to go. FSU can either feel sorry for itself and come out with no energy, like last year when they were almost upset by Samford, or this team could show everyone they are that first half team from the Boise State game. FSU football was back in that first half, for 30 minutes the ‘Noles gave Doak Campbell stadium a peek into what they can be. FSU couldn’t be stopped on offense and even though the defense was getting pushed back, they were only bending not breaking. The only way most FSU fans stick around with Willie Taggart and the players is if they respond in the right way, and play a full 60-minute game against a lowly opponent Saturday evening.

ULM’s rushing attack vs. FSU’s rushing defense

As we head into week 2 of the CFB season, FSU’s rush defense ranks 111th in the nation while ULM’s rushing offense ranks 15th. Obviously, the two teams were playing very different opponents, but ULM’s 315 yards show that they aren’t afraid to run the ball down the throat of their opponent. This past Saturday, FSU seemed like they were giving up big run after big run. Standing in the stadium, you just knew that a run was coming and that Boise would get a chunk play out of it. No matter how good your D-line is, which I believe FSU’s is with big Marv Wilson, Cury Durden, and Robert Cooper on the inside, a run defense starts with the linebackers. The linebackers have to start to step up for FSU to be a formidable defense, filling their gaps and playing sound defense. This week will be a good test of FSU’s rush defense and a good week to get back to the fundamentals.

Burning Questions:

How do Kendall Briles and James Blackman respond to a scoreless 2nd half last Saturday?

Everyone knows by now that FSU’s offense was shut out in the second half and pretty much embarrassed every time it stepped on the field for the last 30 minutes of the game. But let’s also not forget, the ‘Noles thoroughly embarrassed the Broncos’ defense for an entire half. Every time they took the field, you knew they were going to score, and they did, at a lightning-quick pace. To me, I don’t think the problem was the O-line or even really play-calling. In my opinion, the offense got behind in the momentum and just couldn’t get out of the way the train that was Boise State. Two points in that game changed it for the FSU offense, the back-to-back screen passes which led to a 3-and-out before the half and the Cam Akers fumble in the 2nd half. Either of those possessions goes a different way, FSU wins that football game. FSU and James Blackman now have a game under their belt with Briles and things will only get better from here on out. FSU’s skill players are just too good to not be special and James Blackman showed what he can do with time in the first half. This offense will be fine, I promise you that.

Will Harlon Barnett make schematic or personnel changes?

But on this hand, I don’t know if I can promise you this defense will be fine. Almost all the attention this week has gone to DC Harlon Barnett, and a good amount has been warranted. For most of Saturday, FSU’s defense just didn’t look right, obviously, the heat could’ve affected that, but most of it seemed like schematic issues. But the Seminole staff have said it was assignment issues instead and that the scheme won’t be changed, so then tell me, what will be changed? Because whatever we were using Saturday just wasn’t working. I would love to see FSU’s best 11 defensive players on the field for at least 80% of the snaps. Just put the guys on the field that are going to hit someone and make a play, I don’t care if they are a freshman or a 5th-year senior, I don’t care if they were a 5 or a 0-star. And if FSU is going to call itself DBU, how about we let some of our freak CB’s play man-to-man once in a while.

Is FSU hydrated?

Remember when I said “almost all of the attention” went to DC Harlon Barnett this week? Well here’s where the rest of it went. In my opinion, the quote from Willie Taggart was blown out of proportion and he just wants his guys to be ready on Saturday. Did he word it wrong? Maybe. But should this guy be fired or hated on for his quote about drinking water earlier in the week? No. That’s all I have to say on this matter.

Forecast:

Say what you want about Willie Taggart, him “not being up for the task,” or “in over his head,” or “just a recruiter,” I just won’t buy it. Have the on-field results been great so far? No. Does the guy do everything he can for this university? Yes. Does he want to be here and is he committed to this rebuild? Yes. To me, that’s all you can ask of him due to the situation he came into and I think these players are starting to believe in him and his program. Yes FSU lost last week, but when was the last time you saw an FSU team as distraught as those players were on the sideline Saturday afternoon? There’s no longer that we don’t care attitude. Those players were angry and distraught because they know what they’re capable of and they know what WT is capable of and they want to win for that guy. So now FSU has two choices this weekend, the “who cares we’re playing ULM” attitude, or the pissed off attitude. James Blackman is now the leader of this football team, and I can guarantee he won’t let this team go down quietly. FSU 52-21 over ULM Saturday evening. Full 60 minutes, step on the opponent’s throat and finish.


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