'Noles looking for a W in the worst way

The impossible has happened: Florida State needs a win against Duke. After three straight losses and the fan base losing patience, Jimbo Fisher will take any win he can get over the Blue Devils.

Imagine this: Florida State in a desperate situation for Saturday's game against Duke.

That's the reality for the Seminoles (2-3, 0-2 in ACC), who have seen their hopeful season crushed by a trio of defeats. The worst defeat came last week against Wake Forest, when this team self-destructed with five turnovers and more than 100 yards in penalties. It's hard to believe that exactly one month ago, FSU was ranked No. 5 in the polls and eyeing one of their biggest games in school history at home against No. 1 Oklahoma.

The fallout has put coach Jimbo Fisher in the crosshairs of fan criticism and concern on whether he is the right choice to take the program back to its former, dominating state.

"Everybody second-guesses you as a coach," Fisher said. "But as a coach, you've got to second-guess your coaches as far as why you're doing things. The key is, tell me why, what we're doing, why we're doing it and how we're doing it. And that's what we've got to get to. And that goes to all positions. That's accountability. We hold the players accountable. Everybody has got to do it."

In his weekly news conference, Fisher said the second-guessing and self-evaluation exists among the coaching staff more than it does among the fans.

"What you guys don't realize is coaches analyze themselves and are more self-critical of themselves than any of y'all ever thought of being," Fisher said. "I mean, the good ones [do]. I do with everything we do. After a game, even if it's successful, could there have been something better? Could there have been something here? You're always criticizing yourself. ... And that's part of coaching. We're problem solvers. Everybody sees the problems. We have to figure out a way to solve them."

But the Seminoles have to reverse course fast in a positive direction. If they play well at Duke, their schedule continues to present a chance for a winning streak the rest of the season and the opportunity to attain a winning season and bowl trip. It's not what this program had hoped for, but it's the best the Seminoles can do at this point.

NOTES AND QUOTES

No more tweeting for the Seminoles.

In what quarterback E.J. Manuel called a "joint decision," the Seminoles' players deleted their Twitter accounts and turned off their Facebook accounts to avoid negative comments and further distractions the rest of the season.

"Everybody understands that we need to focus in and not be up at night worrying about Twitter and not be up at night worrying about Facebook and stuff like that. Twitter and Facebook is just extra stuff that we don't need right now," he said.

Fisher said he did not demand players remove themselves from social media, but he's glad they did.

"The only thing that comes back is negative," Fisher said. "And they read all the stuff that people say. I told them, 'Be careful. Be careful on that stuff. And don't listen to it and don't reply back.' You get mad at somebody for saying something. Because they can say it behind words. And for us, I don't ever ban it. I never have. But I know schools that do. I don't think it's a good thing for college kids at all. Because I think they get exposed to things they have no business being exposed to at that age as they're developing." ...

Another week, another officiating issue. A YouTube video replay of a first-down measurement at last week's game against Wake Forest shows an official inching the ball forward in favor of Wake Forest. The YouTube video has generated a lot of interest and prompted the ACC to look into the situation.

The movement did not result in a first down and Wake Forest picked up the fourth down yardage, but it follows the ACC having to respond to officiating issues that negatively affected the Seminoles the previous week at Clemson. ...

The Seminoles will face Duke trying to avoid their first 0-3 ACC start since joining the league 20 years ago. This is the first time since 1992 that FSU has played three consecutive ACC road games to open conference play. ...

FSU's defense ranks 15th nationally against the run and fifth in tackles for loss. The Seminoles had 10 tackles for loss against Wake Forest.

SERIES HISTORY: Florida State leads 16-0.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Well, one thing is settled: Manuel will start the game at quarterback. It is hoped with his running dimension it may further open up this offense and generate a more balanced attack with a patchwork offensive line. The Seminoles have thrown the ball downfield with some success this season, but the passing attack has been plagued by interceptions and some head-scratching decisions by both Manuel and backup Clint Trickett. Their anemic rushing attack will now likely depend on freshmen Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. for production.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Between the penalties, the blown coverages, the missed tackles and the injuries, it's all added up to one big mess. The Seminoles are a fraction of the defense they displayed against Oklahoma. In the past two weeks, their secondary has been especially torched and a few long runs have popped out of backfield. Fisher insists the scheme and philosophy FSU is using on defense is "sound" and the problems are fixable. But for all the angst and teeth-gnashing in Tallahassee about the quarterback play, the offensive line and the lack of running game, this team and this program will not reach a higher level until FSU begins playing defense well every week. The Seminoles have produced one fumble recovery and zero interceptions in the last two games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I feel good. I mean, I know the answers. I know what to do. I've just got to get it done. I know how to go about it. We have enough talent to do it. We have good players. We have good people. We've got to go coach it and fix it." -- Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher on the state of his team after three consecutive defeats.


Nole Digest Top Stories