The Florida State offense has really struggled to convert third downs through the first three games of the 2015 season. The Seminoles have converted on just 15 of their 38 attempts. That number drops to just 7 of 26 against South Florida and Boston College. The 39.5 conversion percentage puts the Florida State offense at 72nd in the country.
So what is causing the issue for the Seminoles? Some of it is on the players. Florida State has struggled to block properly, to catch the ball, and to get the ball out on time quite a bit this season. With that being said, a lot of the blame has to lie at the feet of head coach Jimbo Fisher.
Of the 38 third down attempts Florida State has had they have ran the ball 18 times. Of those 18 rushes, 11 have come when the Seminoles have needed 7 or more yards. Those 11 rushes combined to gain 17 yards and 1 first down.
Of the 20 times that Florida State has thrown the ball on third down, 14 came when the Seminoles needed 6 yards or less. Those passes have gone for 124 yards and 9 first downs. The also found the endzone 4 times on those passes.
What that means is that coach Fisher is refusing to take chances on third and long so far this season. He clearly doesn't trust quarterback Everett Golson, and essentially gives up the down unless a running back can make a play.
While Golson hasn't looked great this season, he has been at his best on third down. Golson has completed 13 of the 20 passes that he has thrown on third down for 174 yards and 4 touchdowns. His 183.78 passer rating on third down is 50 points higher than his first down passer rating and 20 points higher than his second down passer rating. He has thrown 6 times when the Seminoles needed 7 yards or more, and he's completed 4 of them for 50 yards and 3 first downs.
Fisher doesn't need to throw the ball on every third and long. He just needs to avoid being predictable. There are some situations where running it is the right choice, but if he doesn't start taking chances the offense will look similar to how it did against Boston College where the Seminoles converted just 4 of 13 third downs.