Florida State beat South Florida 34-14.
The Noles put together a putrid half of offensive football. Everett Golson failed to complete a pass in his first six attempts. The offensive line looked overwhelmed particularly in pass protection. Our third down conversion rate rivaled John Starks from the field in game seven. The only points and moment of enjoyment came when Dalvin Cook’s brilliantly weaved, bounced and ran past the Bull’s defense for a 74 yard touchdown. The defense was solid, but gave up a score for a 7-7 tie at the break.
FSU rebounded nicely in the second half scoring on every possession, and even completing a few passes. South Florida’s only points came on a defensive breakdown that led to a long touchdown pass, but the game was firmly in hand at that point.
Two games into his sophomore season, Cook is a star and staking a claim among the great backs in Florida State history. His 30 carry, 266 yard, 3 touchdown game was the second best yardage total in school history, and he has a way of almost making it look easy. He simply does not run into traffic when he doesn’t have to, and his combination of speed and power confounds downfield tacklers.
After the game, Fisher was asked about Cook’s heavy workload, and he responded “that’s why you recruit great players so they can carry the load”. I agree it is a joy to watch a great player take over a game as Cook did yesterday, and it is a great service to this young team. In a larger context though, I am concerned for the team and for Cook.
This team will not contend for a title or major bowl without a balanced offensive attack. Defenses are too good, and someone will load the box enough to minimize Cook’s effectiveness. At that moment, Golson and the passing game must respond.
Per NCAA rules, Cook must spend three years on campus before becoming eligible for the draft. Running backs, even great ones, have an odometer, and it’s best when that thing is not used up before the money starts to come in. I cannot help, but think of Marcus Lattimore.
Stay healthy Dalvin!
EVERETT GOLSON AND THE REST OF THE OFFENSE
Golson struggled to get anything done in the first half, and I see three contributing factors. One, the line play in pass protection is subpar. The line’s inexperience is highlighted in pass protection where they must read blitzes and adjust protections. Golson was under considerable pressure most of the first half, and it impacted his footwork, decision-making and accuracy.
Two, the receivers dropped six balls in only 26 pass attempts, some more egregious than others, but way too many as a whole. Each of these drops adversely impacts the score, possession, down and distance. There is a benefit to spreading the ball among different receivers, but at this point, one or more of these guys need to step up as preferred targets.
Three, Golson’s over-compensation for turnovers past. Golson has played turnover free football through his first two games which is a pleasant trend away from his biggest perceived weakness coming into the season, but it has come at a cost. I sense Golson, perhaps with a complicit coaching staff, is playing conservatively, and that is fine, but there will come a moment this season where he has to be willing to throw into the shark’s mouth and do it again even after he gets bitten for this team to pull a game out.
The kick return game continued to show signs of improvement with Kermit Whitfield jump-starting the second half with a 50 yard return. Aguayo is death and taxes rolled into that shape of a right foot.
Jimbo had high praise for the unit acknowledging the one blown coverage touchdown. I am a bit more moderated in my praise as I do not see the level of disruption up front that I so closely associate with dominant defense. The line seems to get penetration, and force the quarterback to move, but we are not finishing those plays with sacks and interceptions.
BOSTON COLLEGE WILL BE A BITCH
FSU is on the road at Boston College next week and this game will be difficult. In 2013, BC jumped out to a big lead before Jameis brought us back, and last season the game was decided by a late field goal. BC plays a physical brand of football that eats up the clock and puts a premium on each possession. Steve Addazio is a good coach and has made steady progress with this program during his tenure. Expect a war!
SERENA STUMBLES AT THE FOOT OF HISTORY
Serena is one of my favorite female athletes of all-time, and her legacy as such has long been secure, but this was a crushing failure. There is no doubt the weight of history was felt throughout this tournament, but for it to all come undone to a largely unremarkable player with more facial wrinkles than my beloved mother, who went on to lose the final to a slightly less unremarkable player who promptly retired, is a skid mark in her Wimbledon whites.
Several notable games this weekend featured one team dominating a half or more of the game, and losing control thereafter. Tennessee dominated Oklahoma for 3.5 quarters before losing in overtime at home. LSU and Kentucky both dominated the first half of their games, but struggled down the stretch to bring home wins.
Save the narrative about conference strength or lack thereof. The reality is that games are long, and good teams will adjust and evolve thoughout the contest gaining and losing advantage as they do so. Coaching is important in making adjustments and managing the late stages of a game. The decisons and disciplines that win games late often bear little resemblance to those that impacted earlier segments of the game, and this should be welcomed and accepted. Culture also manifests itself in these situations when a team stays together and competes to the end of the game even in the face of poor performance or adversity through most of the game.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER AND “RETIREMENT”
Floyd Mayweather won his 49th utterly boring fight against no defeats, and pocketed an absurd amount of money for hand-picking Andre Berto as his stooge.
He then “retired” as the supreme master of a dying art.
49 is an odd number. Floyd has the spending habits of a third world dictator and no endoresement money. Floyd is insecure and craves attention.
Floyd will fight again…against an opponent he will easily beat…and I will continue to not give a shit.