Coach Q&A: Bowden breaks down UVA, Wake

FLorida State offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden recently discussed his team's play against the University of Virginia and what to expect from Wake Forest this weekend.

Q: Has the offensive line turned a corner of sorts? They didn't allow a sack against UVA.

A: I have felt like their strength has been their pass protection this year. When I weight their run blocking with their pass protection I think that has been their strength. It has been very good depending on the quality of the rush we have seen. We felt like we could pass protect against Virginia. They really were a different type of front in that there is a lot of reading going on and not just an attack front. It allowed for better protection. I thought they did a good job with it Saturday.

Q: How much has it handcuffed you going three- or four-wide without De'Cody Fagg in the lineup?

A: Yeah, because that is half of what we do - that is not all that we do. It's really tough in that you can't stress half a field. You need that threat into the boundary. I am crossing my fingers that Joslin (Shaw) is going to get ready and go. This is his second start for the most part. He played well. Like they always say, it is easy to come in as a backup because there is no pressure and he has played well but now he is the guy. We have to do a little weathering with him but right now other than him you are talking about true freshmen that are potentially down the road going to be very good. But they are not ready to go out and do everything that needs to be done.

Q: Do you gamble and play those freshmen anyway?

A: Well, we have been playing them. We played them more this past game than any game this season.

Q: How much did Virginia's defense present problems for Xavier early in the game in that they were very different from Maryland?

A: There were a couple early passing downs where they - from a coverage standpoint - we had a bad match with their coverage call. One of them was one of the high throws. It just wasn't a good call into the coverage that they showed and he had that happen to him twice and I think both of them were third down situations. Maybe if we go with some different calls in the same situation because Wake will present the same. They will throw the same look at him. It is not a defense that we haven't seen, we have our calls we like to make, and we just didn't anticipate it early in the game. They sprinkled it in and they hit us just right. They had the call on and they might have shown it two or three times a game against everybody and we just saw it early and we didn't see it any later in the game.

Q: Can you talk about Wake's pass defense?

A: If you looked at our game film last year they were very high blitz and you ended up with a lot of one-on-ones on the edge. They still sprinkled in some two-deep zone and some three-deep zone but they blitzed a lot and Drew took a lot of hits last year. He had to stand in there and make some throws with people bearing down on them fixing to kill them and they did but he was able to get the ball out enough times to where we were able to hurt them at times. They are doing the same thing to me this year. They did the same thing to Boston College. They got after them pretty good and Boston College wasn't able to hurt them enough in the game. They will also play their shell. I don't want to anticipate them not mixing but to me they are a lot different than Boston College was.

Q: Do they show multiple defensive fronts?

A: Well, the three-man front, not like they used to. They have been a lot more four down this year, very little three down this year. Now they will put four down and drop two tackles out. They will just rush two guys. Those are things you have to be alert for popping up in front of a quarterback with not expecting a down lineman to drop out of there on them.

Q: You have been OC at FSU about as long as Grobe has been at Wake Forest. What have you seen change there over the years?

A: They are better across the board. Their 11 defensive players, while they may not be as big as everybody else, they are strong and they can fly. They do have very good team speed defensively. You never would question the way they play. They play as hard as they can every snap and with great emotion. I think what we see through these years of recruiting is that they got speed and they have red-shirted players and allowed players to grow up within the system and now they are just stepping in. Then they are very opportunistic. They always do a good job of creating and then getting turnovers.

Q: They are first in the league in red-zone offense and red-zone defense and low in the conference in total offense and defense.

A: That is what it is all about. I wonder what they are in scoring defense.

Q: Third or fourth.

A: That is what you want to be ranked. That is where you want to be ranked. The more I have thought about it, if there is any stat that we would rather to be ranked number one in, it would be scoring. You can throw all other stats out if you are getting points on that board.

Q: What have you done in practice to limited turnovers because you all had none against the Cavs?

A: Well, that has been an emphasis since the spring. That is all you wrote about. We made it to the last scrimmage without any turnovers and then we had one or two in the spring game. We certainly can't emphasize it any more. You just continue to stress ball security to your backs, tight ends, and wide receivers and your quarterback has to be wise with the ball. Well, I sit here and say I want them to be aggressive with the ball, and I do. I think if you throw it 35 or 40 times in a game, which is about what I would like to average at least, I think you are going to likely get one interception a game but you have to limit it. If you can limit it to maybe one a game, then that is probably a little bit more of what you want.

Q: Wake Forest is very opportunistic it seems.

A: You cannot turn the ball over. The last game is the best example. You don't turn the ball over and you are not putting momentum on that other sideline. It just changes when you are comfortable and not turning the ball over, I don't know what else to tell you.

Q: You had four penalties against UVA. In the past when you have had low penalty games you all have had penalty trouble in the game following. Is that on the players or is it sometimes o the different officiating crews?

A: Without pointing the finger at anybody that is probably, I will tell you what happens because I self scout ourselves each year and this is what we find out. It could very much be the crews because they are all different and they all look, no matter how you say it, certain people look for certain things, it is human nature. I don't know how much of that is part of what it is because I don't evaluate who is throwing the flags but I do evaluate who is getting the flags and I would bet you at the end of the year we will find out who our leader is and we will have a guy who is pretty heavy with penalties this year. I already kind of got an idea of who it is this year. I know who led last year and he is up there this year. To answer your question, he got called for a penalty in the game and this sounds just like coach talk but we absolutely could not see it. It was a procedure movement penalty and we absolutely couldn't see it when we looked at the film. I don't know what they saw. We also don't know how to correct the kid because we are going to show him the tape and he is going to ask his coach where he moved.

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