OL Plagued by Playing from Behind

The deterioration of Florida State's offensive line and its offense as a whole over the past two games have complemented one other.

FSU quarterbacks Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee have had little time to throw and the occasion has not been appropriate to run since the Seminoles have made a habit of playing from behind in consecutive defeats to N.C. State and Clemson.

"We've been putting ourselves in a terrible situation," senior center David Castillo said. "(Opposing fronts) can just pin their ears back. We were passing the ball and we had no choice. They didn't have to respect the run. They didn't have to respect anything.

"It's not very fair for the offensive line when (the pass rushers) know what is going to happen."

The Tigers sacked FSU quarterbacks six times on Saturday. That pressure forced Weatherford into throwing costly interceptions for the second straight week and hurried him into several other poor throws and flawed decisions. A scrambling Lee didn't fare much better, completing just one of seven attempts.

"Our youth showed out there," tackle David Overmyer said. "We never could get into a groove the whole game. We never could do anything right over and over again."

The Seminoles floundered once again in the face of a three-man pass rush. With eight in coverage, decision-making at quarterback has been slowed to the point where the line has been unable to provide adequate protection despite the manpower advantage.

Confusion, it appears, has also been a factor. Differing blitz looks caused FSU backs to miss blocks on plays that culminated in sacks on at least two occasions on Saturday.

"We were under constant pressure, having to throw the ball a lot," tailback Lorenzo Booker said. "It can get tough to execute when you are under that much pressure."

Making matters worse for the Seminoles is the uncertain status of fellow tackle Cory Niblock, who sustained a knee injury on the final play of the game. Medical staffers attended to the fallen lineman as Clemson fans raced onto the field following the win.

Overmyer said that the injury likely isn't serious and that Niblock will undergo an MRI Monday. Team officials will release an injury report Sunday evening.

"We can't afford to lose anymore guys," Overmyer said. "We don't have enough depth as it is. Hopefully it is just a sprain and he'll be alright."


Nole Digest Top Stories