Gator Country’s Mark McLeod interviewed Renegade Report’s Brandon Mellor about what to expect from FSU and their offensive woes.
Mark McLeod: Despite not getting the job done and resigning does offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden still coordinate the offense or does the offensive staff collectively produce the gameplan? How much influence do the other offensive coaches have at this time?
“There has been many questions surrounding the program since Jeff Bowden stepped down early last week in regards to who is going to call plays. Saturday against Western Michigan, the Seminoles uncharacteristically ran the ball more times than they threw thus fueling the fire even more that the younger Bowden was no longer in charge of calling the plays. Monday night at practice, quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey, who sits in the coach’s box next to Jeff Bowden each game was posed the question regarding who is calling plays. His response: “No comment.”
“At Tuesday’s practice, Bobby Bowden, who has not spoken extensively regarding the offensive coordinator position, said that both Dickey and his son are calling plays together. Offensive line coach Mark McHale and running backs coach Billy Sexton both have input on the gameplan leading into each game but in the end it comes down to Dickey and Jeff Bowden. These two coaches relay their call down to tight ends coach John Lily, who then signals in to the quarterback.”
What areas of the Florida State offense have improved since the beginning of the season?
“While the receiver spot has been a sore one for FSU this season because of the group’s inability to consistently catch the football, redshirt senior Chris Davis has been a bright spot. The St. Petersburg native has become the go-to-guy on the FSU offense as he leads the team with 40 receptions for 566 yards and four scores. He started his final season slowly but has been the one constant on a struggling offense.”
“You can’t really point to too much else in a 6-5 year. Sophomore tailback Antone Smith seemed to get better and better as the year progressed – especially when he was given a significant amount of carries and allowed to find a rhythm. The Pahokee native started the first game of his career last weekend therefore allowing senior Lorenzo Booker to move in to the slot as a wide receiver but Smith was injured on the second offensive play of the game. He will miss this Saturday’s game against te Gators.”
The Florida State offensive line has struggled opening holes for some very talented backs. They have also allowed 23 sacks. How much of this problem is lack of talent/poor recruiting and how much can be attributed to the offensive staff’s inability to coordinate the Seminoles offense?
“It’s no secret that offensive line recruiting has hindered the FSU offense in recent years. With an offensive line coach in his second year, the Seminoles are still trying to find the right set of big bodies to utilize in the zone blocking scheme that Coach Mark McHale has implemented. The struggles in regards to protecting the quarterback and blocking for the rush can certainly be attributed to the lack of talent across the board on the line but much of the blame falls on the offensive coaches for not utilizing the offensive talent in the most suitable way.”
“FSU has a foundation building with true freshmen Matt Hardrick and Daron Rose, who have both played sparingly this season but have performed well. Only time will tell if a new offensive coaching staff can continue to build that area of the team.”
Would it be fair to say that Chris Davis, DeCody Fagg, and Greg Carr are a very talented group of receivers who have suffered due to ineffective gameplans?
“As mentioned, Davis has a been a constant for the Seminoles. Ironically – or sadly depending on how you look at it – Davis may have benefited the past two seasons from the ’Noles inability to run the football. Instead of using the rush to pick up five yards, FSU oftentimes throws quick slants to Davis with the hope of picking up that yardage. Davis’ playmaking ability then takes over and several of his best plays this season have occurred when he makes people miss after those quick catches.”
“Carr is a wide receiver that, when he gets thrown the ball, makes plays. Critics of the FSU offense often question why Carr doesn’t get thrown to more often. After all, he is on pace to shatter many FSU receiving records. But what the average football fan doesn’t see is that Carr struggles with blocking. Coaches have seen him as a liability in many cases because of that and he was even benched for one game early in the season. His backup, Joslin Shaw, is superior blocker but lacks the receiving skills that Carr does.”
How are Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford dealing with the distractions?
“The Lee-Weatherford quarterback battle is one of the more interesting situations that I have ever been witness to. More often than not, a quarterback battle doesn’t end nicely for a team with two high profile athletes vying for one spot on the depth chart. This battle sometimes leads to dissention on the team (see the Chris Rix-Adrian McPherson battle from not too long ago for an example) but that’s the case with FSU this year.
Both Weatherford and Lee are well liked by their teammates and both lead in different ways. But perhaps the most interesting thing about this situation is that both are very close and very good friends. Both genuinely want to see the other do well. It’s not strange to hear either one of them talk about how they both should get the opportunity to make an impact.
Obviously, from what I have written you can infer that these two quarterbacks haven’t let distractions become a problem. Right now, I think both are too wrapped up in trying to get better and show the coaches that they can be the program’s rock for their remaining two years of eligibility.“