Monday Mailbag: Syracuse blowout, offensive struggles, James Blackman

Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire

Wow. Don’t think any of us saw that coming Saturday afternoon. After another lackluster performance by Florida State, Nole Gameday takes on your questions as we try to figure out what exactly is going on in Tallahassee.

Are we going to score another touchdown this year? – Clay Cantler

Depends. How much confidence do you have in another Levonta Taylor pick six or a DJ Matthews punt return for a touchdown?

Should we give Blackman a chance at starting? Should we add a TE for blocking to help our struggling oline? – William Heinrich Jr.

Coach Taggart was asked about Blackman following the loss to Syracuse which he quickly dismissed. He stopped just short of saying that no quarterback will be able to play behind this offensive line right now which is fair. Francois has definitely struggled to run Taggart’s Gulf Coast Offense so far this season but pulling him after just three games could cause a divide in the locker room.

As for leaving a tight end in to help block, that would mean taking away a playmaker in Tre’ McKitty from Francois. Florida State can’t block a three-man pass rush so leaving an extra player back to help block would provide minimal help at this point.

The better option which FSU likely tries will be moving the pocket and rolling Francois out more and more in the passing game.

What are our options at O-line? Don’t we have some freshman itching to prove themselves? – Chris Doyle.

Slim to none. David Hale of ESPN tweeted out this chart showing the mess inherited by Taggart on the offensive line.

Of the three offensive linemen with double-digit starts in their careers, only one is healthy and currently available. The freshmen simply aren’t physically ready to battle in the trenches just yet so burning a redshirt would be a worst case scenario.

What is Taggert’s buyout? – Bob Hiller.

Taggart would be owed in the neighborhood of $20 million if he were to be fired without cause following this season. Simply put, he will not be fired after this season even if FSU were to finish with a record of 1-11, nor should he be. He really did inherit a complete mess and it will take more than a year to fix.

What was Willie’s philosophy behind score fast and score often? I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen any explosive plays. – Thomas Breadman Jones.

FSU is going to struggle to get anything going on offense this season as long as the offensive line looks as bad as it has through three games. That said, Deondre Francois actually leads all ACC quarterbacks with 14 explosive pass plays (20+ yards) this season so far. Establishing drives has been and will continue to be the biggest issue facing Florida State this season.

Do you think there will come a point where Taggart gives up the reigns of the offense and give Walt Bell more freedom to call the plays in game? – @HcD_NM454

Highly unlikely this season. After the loss to Syracuse, Taggart was asked this and said he has had success calling the plays elsewhere and doesn’t expect that to change at Florida State. Bell will continue to coordinate the offense during the week but Taggart will continue calling plays.

We’re young, we’re injured, we have a new offense installed & lack of O is wearing the defense down. Any honest (not hopeful) thoughts on what game could be the turnaround game?

If the offense couldn’t get going against Syracuse, it’s hard to imagine a game left on the schedule where things finally start to click. Northern Illinois has a much better defense than Syracuse so points will likely once again come at a premium.

The Seminoles need to take advantage of September to combat the very backloaded schedule though that seems unlikely at this point.

Do you see similarities between Urban Meyer’s tenure at UF and Jimbo’s tenure at FSU? Both took struggling teams to the top, then lost control of players and culture and proceeded to jump ship. – @lance_lockhart

Absolutely. Though the circumstances as to why each left are different, it is easy to see similarities between how to two won at the highest level only to leave a dumpster fire once they left. Sustaining success at one place in today’s college football environment is becoming more and more difficult.

What Nick Saban has done and continues to do at Alabama will likely never be duplicated again. His sustained success is one of the most impressive dynasties we have ever seen at this level.


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