The fanbase is noticeably skeptical heading into this one and for good reason. However Oklahoma fans are a little gun-shy as well, they are coming off their worst season in 10 years. Florida State's worries stem from the defensive side of the ball, especially against the 'explosive' Oklahoma offense.
Addressing that issue is not an easy one, but several things are known today that were not known in the middle of summer--and they are positive for FSU. First the cornerback's are better than we thought. Xavier Rhodes and Greg Reid have stepped up; they are an intriguing pair of starters. Mike Harris was admitted and immediately showed that he could contribute right away. Both Lamarcus Joyner and Terrence Brooks are "better than expected".
Second, Landry Jones was very underwhelming in his opener and this is coming off a season that was--to a certain degree--the same thing. He is still a young QB and the tools are there, but that is sorta the point, this is a big one for HIM to win as well. Finally, there were signs of life on the defensive side vs. Samford overall. The players seemed to be on the same page as DC Mark Stoops and that usually goes a long way.
This, of course, does not mean we are going to "shut down" the Oklahoma offense. We won't do that because they have too many players who can hurt us. Demarco Murray can be scary good. A solid performance from the defense would mean giving up 20-30 points.
FSU can do so many different things offensively; this one will be about pulling the right strings in the right situations. With an athlete like Christian Ponder , the playbook is large and we expect to see some new wrinkles this week.
It certainly looks like Ponder is going to put the wide receivers in position to succeed, this week will go a long to answering if they can do it. Willie Haulstead and Rodney Smith will have their work cut out for them against some quality Sooner cornerbacks. At least one will need to step up with a 5-6 catch afternoon.
Can we run the ball on Oklahoma? We think so and it will be interesting to watch how we go about doing it. Do we try to establish it early or do we use Ponder's accuracy in the short to intermediate passing game to set it up? Only three more days to find out.
In the end, a "solid performance" offensively is 20-30 points, about what we expect the defense to yield. Being a road game at a bloodthirsty crowd tilts the edge to OU. The Noles will need four quarters of their best effort to win this one.