Grading the Noles
Drew Weatherford played his best game of the year by making a lot of plays with very few mistakes and no turnovers. The redshirt freshman from Land O' Lakes (Fla.) took a beating from the Wake Forest defense, which blitzed most of the game. Despite the heavy pressure, Weatherford stood in there and toughed it out. He was 20 of 31 for 351 yards and three touchdowns. Classmate Xavier Lee also had a good showing in limited snaps.
The offensive line has struggled with consistency all season long and Saturday was no different. The loss of senior Matt Meinrod due to a knee injury didn't help matters. The line struggled with the zone-blocking scheme. On two occasions we observed guard Matt Meinrod and Tackle David Overmyer let a defender go between them without laying a finger on him. Despite having poor pass-protection, the line did a good job of opening holes for the running game which netted 192-yards.
Greg Carr's return to the spotlight after a one-week hiatus paid dividends in the clutch. Three catches, one touchdown and a critical 63-yard gain early in the fourth, Carr was walking away after a pretty good 20th birthday performance. Good to see Fred Rouse get into the endzone....negative points for a fumble and personal foul penalty against Richard Goodman and a few uncharacteristic drops by Willie Reid.
Things are finally starting to click for Booker, Washington and the running game. Lo-Book's 52-yard scamper late in the game was a thing of beauty. He is really running a lot harder and getting up the field this season instead falling back on the dancing and hesitation that used to be his trademark in the past. Leon wowed with a 61-yard touch on a screen. Kudos to both for their patience.
Wake Forest did a great job of using FSU's quickness and aggressiveness against them for the first three quarters. Play fakes, reverse orbitals and a couple of different option looks all contributed to the Deacs running up 247 rushing yards against a previously impenetrable unit. However, these guys got it down when it counted, limiting Wake to only garbage score in the final second in the fourth.
I'm not sure if I even need to add anything here. Not only does Florida State have one of the best LB trios in the nation, but the Seminoles backups are probably deeper than any other school, too. Ernie Sims still has his best game ahead of him, and Sam McGrew and Marcello Church are about as sound as reserves come. They're well coached, full of talent, and to quote Nicholson they play, "with their balls out." (He really did say that)
Coming into the season, this was one area that looked like it might be another Achilles heel for Florida State. But five games along and the Seminoles are ranked 24 in the nation in passing yards per game (178.8), top five in yards per completion (9.82) and have allowed just three passing touchdowns. Tony Carter and Kyler Hall have both played beyond expectations, solidifying spots that where questions in Florida State's secondary. Sometimes the coverage is still a little soft, or players get beat like in the first game of the season. Missed tackles, and players being out of position caused shorts gains against Wake Forest to explode from what should've been only 10 or 15 yards, to footraces down the field.
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