I wanted to write and post something Friday morning after I re-watched the game, but a noon checkout, ride up I-81, and a couple of runs to the train station delayed things. A warning, these are really high level thoughts, and nothing particularly intuitive. I had a 45 minute call with French while I was on the interstate, and to put it mildly, I'm really looking forward to reading his film review.
I thought that was a very entertaining football game that was defined by good football plays more than mistakes. Statistically, FSU is a top-3 team nationally, their roster is stocked with 4- and 5-star talent, and Tech hung with them the entire game. After watching Thursday, then again Friday morning, I couldn't help to think that if we played with that much intensity all season, we would have no more than two losses right now.
I thought Logan Thomas played a gutsy game. Pass protection was an issue, and he took a bunch of hits. However, he never seemed timid in the pocket, and he looked for contact running downfield. He made NFL throws, like the ones leading up to and including the touchdown toss to Corey Fuller. However, some of his decision making left me with my hands up and mouth open. His ceiling is high. This is really subjective, but he looked like more of a leader on the sideline, talking to the offensive players, keeping their heads in the game. We need him to own the team next season.
Even though they weren't super productive, having Coleman and Gregory as the two tailbacks was the right move. If Beamer Co. made that decision against Miami, then maybe it's a different game. For my money, Coleman is the only tailback that can overcome poor line play. He's really good at finding a sliver of space, and squirting through for 5 yards instead of no gain. Tony, like J.C. is a big play threat once he gets into space.
I wasn't in favor of Antone Exum moving to corner because he was such a playmaker at safety. His struggles early in the season reached a high point in FedEx against Cincinnati, Since then, he's been terrific. Teams have tried to pick on him, and for the most part he's held his own. It's fun to see a kid improve over the season.
Was it just me, or did anyone else think every blitz Foster sent hit home?
Again this week, the pressure was on the defensive line to play big. They answered the challenge against one of the better o-lines in the ACC. They neutered FSU's rush attack (14th nationally, 234.56 yards/game) and harassed EJ Manuel. They caused chaos which swung the momentum and put up points. If they did any less, we're not in that game until the end.
I'll put myself on the spot, and give a few reasons why we lost. We forced turnovers, but didn't turn them into touchdowns. The Riley interception, FSU's muffed punt return, and the safety netted just 8 points. FSU got 10 off a pick in the first quarter and Davis' fumble. If we execute in the red zone and get a touchdown following the safety, then a field goal is inconsequential and Bud has less to defend against on the final drive. Between Roberts and Davis, they had 3 drops that you'd expect redshirt seniors to haul in for big gains. FSU's d-line won the battle in the trenches, although it was more lopsided at the beginning of the game.
I'm proud of the team, and how they responded. They could have turtled and quit, but didn't. All the kids coming back next year played like there was something other than pride on the line. That's encouraging.