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General Comments on FSU Game

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General thoughts from today's game:

  • The wind was nowhere near as big of a factor as the announcers made it out to be. Sure it was a stiff breeze at times, but it wasn't extreme conditions by any stretch of the imagination. Moreover, at times both teams threw the ball well into the breeze. The truth was that both passing attacks struggled greatly early on, and it wasn't wind-related.
  • John Parker Wilson was terrible, end of story. His quarterback play thus far this year has been the worst we've had from any starter since John David Phillips in 1998. Sure, Avalos / Pennington / Guillen were bad, but they were all back-ups forced into the spotlight with injuries. Wilson is the starter, not some scout team scrub. Unfortunately, he's just playing like one.
  • I was really wanting to see McElroy, but I can't blame the coaching staff for not putting him in. To just throw a wholly inexperienced player -- sorry, mop-up duty against Western Carolina doesn't count -- into the fire late in a game just isn't a bright move.
  • That said... Saban and company have to be asking themselves some tough questions right about now about the quarterback position. These god-awful performances from Wilson just aren't acceptable, but by the same token, he may be the best we have. I'd like to think McElroy is the second coming of Namath, but realistically that's unlikely. At this point though, I think you really have no other choice than to increase McElroy's practice snaps and hopefully get him some reps against Houston. I'm not saying that you should bench Wilson -- though his plays legitimately would warrant a benching if solid play from the replacement was assured, which unfortunately it's not -- but they have to do something to give themselves a semi-acceptable alternative if Wilson's poor play continues. Rest assured the coaching staff isn't going to sit around and act like this is okay.
  • We have no downfield passing game, and it's so obvious. For all intents and purposes, I'm not even sure a go route is a part of our route trees. And it's not hard to figure out why. Wilson hasn't even been able to make the short and intermediate throws this year, so why in the world would you throw it downfield when that is obviously the weakest link of his repertoire? It's frustrating, but it's also pretty elementary.
  • Caldwell is a fine blocker, and a fine center. But he cannot accurately snap the ball back to the quarterback in shotgun. For the past three games, almost every time we dropped into the shotgun, opposing defenses have put a defensive tackle directly over Caldwell and had him play a zero technique. The opposing coaches see it. They want someone right over him, breathing down his neck and ready to thrust the chest plate immediately once the ball moves. They know that just makes an already poor snapper that much worse. Unfortunately, until Caldwell improves, that's going to continue.
  • The running game looks pretty decent in a raw numbers perspective, but the more I watch the less I'm sold. They do well, but we're running it so little -- and overall putting such a lack of emphasis on running it -- that opposing defenses are often caught off guard when we run. In other words, I highly doubt we could replicate that success if we lined up and ran it much more often.
  • The Wilson fumble was really the turning point of it all. And it wasn't the offensive line's fault. He had plenty of time to throw, but you have to get rid of the football, and he didn't. He held onto the ball for approximately four seconds, and if you do that, you're likely to go down. And he did.
  • You certainly don't want to take anything away from FSU, because they have a good defense and Andrews is a very good defensive coordinator. However, you can't just blame this all on a great Florida State defense. They are good defensively, and they've had better units. Truth be told, Clemson's Cullen Harper, UAB's Sam Hunt, and Colorado's Cody Hawkins all played better against the 'Noles than Wilson did today. I'd like to believe that FSU has this immovable defense and that is really what happened with the offense today, but I really cannot rationally and logically conclude that.
  • The defense played really well, all in all. They kept us in it time and time again, despite inept play from the offense. What those guys are doing on that side of the ball is really encouraging. Even Marcus Carter looked dang good today.
  • Obviously the weak link of the defense was Marquis Johnson. If you take away his two toastings, we might win. Lionell Mitchell didn't really play, and Johnson took his place. That confused me, and I don't know why. To my knowledge, he wasn't hurt. That said, given Johnson's performance, something tells me Mitchell will be back next week.
  • Special teams play was a major disappointment, and Arenas really struggled. As well as those guys played against Vanderbilt and Arkansas, the Georgia and Florida State contests have been quite poor. Given the hapless offense, we needed a big play in the worst way from those guys, and we just couldn't quite get it.