Building Blocks

Let's talk efficiency: FSU scored on six of its 14 drives against UNC. Let's talk consistency: the 'Noles' six scoring drives averaged 7.3 plays and 65.2 yards. Let's talk balance: FSU totaled 42 rushing attempts (for 236 yards) and 37 passing attempts (for 317 yards). Last season, the Seminoles averaged 40.4 rushing attempts per game (187 yards) and 29.9 passing attempts (211.1).Let's talk improvements: "I thought we played really well, but you can't be satisfied with UNC," Matt Meinrod said.

Let's talk efficiency: Florida State scored on six of its 14 drives against North Carolina last Saturday.

Let's talk consistency: the Seminoles' six scoring drives averaged 7.3 plays and 65.2 yards.

Let's talk balance: FSU totaled 42 rushing attempts (for 236 yards) and 37 passing attempts (for 317 yards). Last season, the Seminoles averaged 40.4 rushing attempts per game (187 yards) and 29.9 passing attempts (211.1).

Let's talk improvements:

"I thought we played really well, but you can't be satisfied with UNC," FSU starting split guard Matt Meinrod said. "We will have more tests as the year goes on. We still have to work on our assignments and the little things."

FSU is expected to face a better test Saturday in its home-opener against Maryland (0-1). While the Terps are coming off a humbling overtime defeat at Northern Illinois last week, the Seminoles are still expecting to face a team determined to right a wrong and challenge for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

Maryland also returns nine of 11 starters from a defensive unit that allowed just 14 touchdowns and an average of 11 points per game. The Terps held Northern Illinois to 59 yards rushing , 141 yards below its 2002 season average.

Maryland middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson finished with a game-high 15 tackles and fellow linebacker Leon Joe added 14.

"I am very impressed with Maryland's defense," Meinrod said.

"They are real fast. Their linebackers are a lot like ours. Their front is big, physical and very strong -- we are going to have our hands full. Plus, they are coming off a loss and, man, you don't want to go 0-2 to start the season. Maybe they were looking ahead to us, I don't know. But I am sure this is one of the games they had circled at the start of the year."

Of course, all eyes were on the Seminoles' young offensive line against the Tar Heels. Meinrod, who made his first career start after seeing action 12 of the Seminoles' 14 games last season, said he graded at 83 percent.

Overall, Meinrod felt the unit made a positive first step. That really shouldn't come as a surprise. FSU entered the 2003 season as the ACC's only team to have at least one offensive lineman earn All-ACC first-team honors in each of the last 11 years.

"I thought it went well," Meinrod said.

"David Castillo (center) made all the line calls and was great. The defense can change at the line but David knows exactly what to do. He's making our calls for us (guards) sometimes. Alex (Barron, who lines up next to Meinrod at tackle) and I communicate well, too. We had some mistakes and missed assignments but I thought we all were on the same page."

Even coach Bobby Bowden was satisfied with the unit's performance -- to a point.

"Better than I expected for the first ballgame," Bowden said. "We still had too many missed assignments, more than we want on both sides of the ball. We have to correct those things to get better. We have to tackle better. Get our assignments better. Blocking wasn't bad once we found out the guy to put your hat on."


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