During the 2015 season Florida State struggled in short yardage situations, and it came back to bite them in two of their three losses. With the Seminoles down three at Clemson late in the fourth quarter, Florida State had two chances to get one yard inside Clemson territory, and they failed to do so. Those two plays didn't cost them the game, but it sealed their fate with the loss. Against Georgia Tech the Seminoles had a chance to go up a touchdown early, but failed to find the end zone after first and goal at the two yard line.
On third down and three or less yards Florida State converted just 7 of 19 attempts. They averaged 1.84 yards per rush. That's not going to get it done, and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher knows it. The team has worked on short yardage quite a bit over the first two weeks of practice including Wednesday's practice where Fisher liked what he saw in that area.
“Not bad," Fisher said. "I’m going to go and review the film. Sometimes you get the result, whether it’s good or bad. It seemed to be pretty good today in short yardage. We ran the ball really well. Fought. Again, I’ll have to look at the film.”
Junior left tackle Roderick Johnson told the media that they've seen the emphasis on the short yardage game so far this spring.
“We weren’t the best at short-yardage and goal-line so the emphasis is on that,” Johnson said.
Johnson believes that the reason the Florida State offense was deficient in that area is because the offensive line wasn't relying on their fundamentals.
"Technique and fundamentals," Johnson said. "The first step and hand placement got us on most. It wasn’t because we were out toughed. Going back to the basics.”
With more experience, and time in the strength and conditioning program, the offensive line should be better this year. How much better could make the difference between a national championship caliber team and a team that fails to win the ACC.