FSU's Problem Is...

Florida Gators v Florida State Seminoles

We fall for it all the time. A team hires a new coach and we all get flooded with the cliches and assumptions. We hear words like culture, commitment, dedication, tempo and energy. We listen to assistant coaches blabber about understanding what we want done. And we get players talking about how the coaches have been great and you can feel everyone getting on board.

So it's easy to forget that the reason for all the new noise is the previous coach was fired because he, his assistants and the players, who are still there, did not perform to the level expected.

And that is the problem at FSU.

Mike Norvell is a good coach. TIme will tell if he will be a great coach in Tallahassee and one game should not draw a conclusion. But he inherited a team flawed and one recruiting class never fixes all the problems.

The Seminoles are not void of talent but they don't have enough and they are average or worse at key positions.

FSU's offensive line played poorly in 2019, where it allowed 48 sacks and the team's ground game averaged less than four yards a carry. 

James Blackman completed 63% of his passes in 2019 and threw 17 touchdowns with 11 picks. He was under pressure every game and struggled to be consistent.

Guess what? FSU's line is still struggling and James Blackman is still under pressure and still inconsistent after the opening game loss to Georgia Tech.

Those are not the only problems the Seminoles have but the point is Mike Norvell may be an offensive magician but a one game wave of a wand will not fix all that ails FSU.

But in a world where the media and fans expect instant gratification and we measure a successful season, not by each game, but basically by each possession. FSU fans went from playing the game of looking at your schedule and projecting wins to the idea they will never win a conference game again.

Forget about comparing your team to Clemson or Notre Dame. You now look around and wonder how North Carolina appears to have flown by the Noles and the middle of the pack in the ACC might be a fair expectation.

But that's not good enough. And that's the problem in the current world of college football. Athletic departments are losing millions because of the virus and asking fans for their money and to give a little more. If you win, fans are with you. If you lose, the last thing you want is a recorded phone message from the AD or head coach asking for anything.

Willie Taggart didn't get a third season at FSU. Of all schools, Florida State is not buying out coaches any time soon. Norvell will recruit well and his offense will look much better in weeks and in years. He may think about a QB change to Jordan Travis but, despite being a runner, he would still play with the same line and likely get the same results.

After one game, no fan wants to hear the word patience. And after the Georgia Tech game, FSU may have six more losses out there. Miami is up next and then there's a brutal three game stretch of Notre Dame, North Carolina and Louisville. Pitt and Clemson are home games down the line but even the Panthers will be a challenge. 

So, in this odd season of college football, FSU lost one game. There's a lot of football left. But change at the pace you expected might take a lot longer...

Weekend thoughts: The Big Ten will vote to return play and needs a start date by mid-October to get an 8-game conference only schedule played over nine weeks with a title game. This allows the Big Ten to play in the college football playoffs. And there is nothing wrong if Big Ten leaders gathered information over these six weeks and believe they are at a better place when it comes to testing and additional medical information to return to play, They botched the PR game plan before and while many will ridicule them when they return and say they caved because of money or player and coach demand but maybe, just maybe, they feel more comfortable on the issues that matter the most. The optics of colleges going to online only classes and playing football is a fair topic to discuss. But trying to play safely is also something I think is acceptable...The Bucs lost to the Saints. The Saints are good. The Bucs will be fine.I think...The calls for Tua are already out there and my guess is he will start in the next 2-3 weeks. Or sooner...Gardner Minshew is just fun to watch...The pass interference at the end of the Bengals loss to the Chargers was ridiculous. It cost Joe Burrow a comeback win in his first game. AJ Green did not get the James Harden push off call he likely has earned...I am convinced Kliff Kingsbury will be the next Bachelor and do the show while coaching games during the season...Orange County Public Schools' decision to spend $2 million of its federal CARES Act money to pay for Covid-19 tests of all high school football players is worthy of a debate. Apparently, OCPS expected $50 million from the Act and, according to its own budget documents, spent $8 million on laptops to help students who are taking classes online. I get the importance of football and have supported the reasons to play at the pro, college and even high school level. But I have no answer to the teacher who lacks the basic supplies they need and is wondering why the county would single out football players for a testing system while not testing teachers or addressing the many issues the education industry faces...

Final thought: Why does baseball have umpires, football and basketball have refs? Yet, there is an umpire in football but basketball sometimes has officials? There are judges on the field in football and an umpire in a chair in tennis. 

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