Game 12: Consistent Mistakes and Mental Midgets

 
 
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(Editor’s note: We decided to take a little bit to decompress from the UF game and gather our thoughts on what has been an historically atrocious year for our beloved football team. We are both fans of this team first, and we wanted to make sure we gave the most fair and even-keeled review of this game. – CT)

For the first time in my 26 years on Earth, I will not witness a bowl-bound Florida State team. For the first time in 26 years, I will not see an FSU team with a winning record. I understand the lack of offensive line talent, and the rash of injuries that plagued the position. I also understand the physical and mental mess left for Coach Taggart on both sides of the ball.

What I don’t understand is how the same mistakes can be made from Game 1 all the way to Game 12. I want Taggart as our head coach, and want him to have a long, successful run. Today, I am not concerned that we lost seven games, but I am concerned about things that do not lend themselves to long-term success. I have faith that Taggart can fix these mistakes, but this is something that should be fixed by August 31st against Boise State. Don’t worry about talking about the offensive line or schemes today. The mistakes and the inability to handle adversity bothers me the most about this 2018 FSU squad.

Coach Taggart understands what needs to be fixed.

 

Mental Midgets

This was very disheartening and honestly makes me miss the “social media ban”. Almost one hour after the game, we see a starting defender tweeting at a former player, and, while deleted, shows an inability to cope. It’s imperative that our players  learn to cope with their frustrations in a different manner.

 

As Taggart stated above, we are not tough enough to just simply walk away. Florida is going to settle for a field goal on this drive, but Stanford Samuels bailed them out. On a 3rd and 7, he gets a personal foul after the play, giving them new life on the drive.

We have been a highly undisciplined team all season long. When you aren’t a good football team, with actual football-related issues, you cannot add discipline issues on top. This combination is the ultimate recipe for a losing season. The 2017 squad may have had the same discipline issues, but without some of the football-related issues, and a resurgence under Odell Haggins, they managed to pull out another year. This squad didn’t have the football ability to overcome the discipline issues, and didn’t have enough discipline to overcome the football issues. While this was not a deciding factor in this game, it’s likely that FSU’s mental fortitude will be tested in 2019. When opponents know that you’re soft, they go after you and try to get under your skin. These stupid mistakes and mental softness must be fixed now.

Repeated Mistakes

 

How many times in the game did you hear the head referee say “illegal formation” or “only four men in the backfield”? The video above is the play of the ill-fated Cam Akers touchdown catch. We had a wide receiver (Noonie Murray) not set at the top of the screen as well as the bottom (can’t make it out), and Francois put another receiver in motion simultaneously.

Like I said, this wouldn’t have decided today’s game, but it might in 2019. Putting yourself behind the sticks with mental errors keeps this offense from running efficiently, as it dictates what kind of plays you can run. We’ve struggled with these penalties each and every game this season – how is “Lethal Simplicity” this complicated?

Special Teams

 

There are things on this team that have been constants. Offensive linemen missing blocks. Linebackers not filling holes. Special Teams being a cesspool of incompetence. There has been only marginal improvement on special teams since the start of the Virginia Tech game. The only improvement on special teams was Logan Tyler’s production and using Tamorrion Terry to track down punts.

As you can see in the picture above, we only have ten on the field. We burned a timeout in the first half because there were only ten men on the field for a punt sequence. It’s mind-boggling to me how we can’t figure out how to get the correct number of players on the field in Special Teams situations. This comes down to coaching, and I believe that a change is necessary in this area – you cannot have a coordinator for a segment of your team that looks this, well, uncoordinated.

 

Closing Thoughts

  • The mental midgets need to corrected or weeded out of the program. As Florida State legend Cory Simon tweeted earlier today, the standard is the standard.
  • The existence of a mess doesn’t mean that Willie doesn’t bear some of the blame. 2019 is a clean slate, but discipline issues must be taken care of.
  • Leading the nation in penalties is unacceptable and we cannot be near that mark in 2019.
  • With missing out on a bowl game opportunity this gives Taggart plenty of time to evaluate his coaching staff, roster, and to hit the recruiting trail.

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