A Look at BYU
BYU is coming off an 11-2 season that saw wins over Utah(26-23), Oklahoma(14-13), and Oregon State(44-20). The Cougar's were pounded by the 'Noles 54-28 and TCU 38-7. Surprisingly both losses were at home.
The Cougar loss to Air Force was somewhat shocking particularly because the offense bogged down for most of the game. BYU's first three drives were solid: 12 play, 74 yard TD, 5 play, 70 yards (fumbled), 5 play, 49 yard TD. On the next eight possessions they punted six times, lost a fumble, and had an interception. They totaled 64 yards on those eight possessions. We expect that the FSU defense is better than Air Force's.
Riley Nelson is going to start at QB for BYU, but we should see plenty of freshmen Jake Heaps who likely represents their future. Running back J.J. Di Luigi is off to a fast start. Production at the wide receiver position is lacking and this is not considered a great offensive line.
Having played the Huskie's already, many consider Christian Ponder and Jake Locker to be somewhat similar signal callers. Locker had a quality game(again in a loss) where he went 20-37 for 266 yards and a TD. They did a nice job of keeping him in check on the ground however, Locker only had 29 yards on 11 carries.
The Falcon's, of course, are known for their running attack and they racked up big, consistent yardage on Saturday. Six different players rushed for more than 28 yards. It is safe to say that FSU should have success running the ball.
Florida State Game Plan
Coach Fisher has stated that the starters are not changing so we know the personnel that will be out there. This game represents an excellent opportunity to get the offense back on track and to continue building the defense. Ponder should bounce back with a big one, at least he thinks so, ""I will never have a game like this again," said Ponder. "I'm going to use it as motivation. It hurts. You want something so bad and you lose a game like this. It's definitely not the way you wanted it to go. But I know it's going to motivate me to work harder and never let this happen again."
Coach Jimbo Fisher was happy with practice, "It was a quiet, professional, go to work day and that's kind of how I thought it would be. We came out and worked, got better on technique and threw and caught the ball pretty well." The tone seems to be the right one and again this is a very experienced, "professional" staff...they know how to rebound.
We will be more than a little concerned if we are not able to move the ball and dictate the pace of the game. One concern we have is that BECAUSE FSU pasted them last year that this might be a difficult game for the players to prepare for and "get up" for. Only time will tell, but we hope the approach is to make a statement.
Defensively our biggest concern thus far is the Safety play. It has been very inconsistent and this is a position that values the opposite. Most of the talent on the defensive side of the ball is young and inexperienced, this results in missed assignments which equals points being put on the board. However there is a sizable athleticism edge in this one and we look for the defense to rebound overall with a solid performance.
What is on the Line
The Seminole's are entering...as a golfer would put it.......the scoring holes. Only "at Miami" stands out as a tough opponent(and even that is questionable as they look like a high school team coaching wise) over the next six games (BYU, WF, at UVA, BC, at NCSU). While this one is the only non-conference game, it will also set the tone for this stretch. A loss is unthinkable right now, it would have the potential to send the program reeling (again). We don't think that is a likely scenario.
We should enjoy a lot of success and make some big plays on Saturday. It will be difficult for our staff not to want to run the ball down their throat after watching the Air Force film, but we think they try to get Ponder off to a fast start in this one.
Defensively this should be more "Samford" than "Oklahoma".......and it is important that we tackle better. If nothing else, let's make the plays that we are supposed to make. We would like to see more pressure created by the front four on the young QB's and force some mistakes.
In the end FSU should walk out of Doak Campbell with a 40-17 type win.