Scouting Report: FSU Offense

To say the Seminoles have struggled with consistency on offense would be a gross understatement. Florida State has, at times, looked very good with two big outside receivers and speed in the backfield. At other times they look like eleven guys who just met in the parking lot. They have used three quarterbacks, but Drew Weatherford has seen by far the most action.

Overall, FSU is running for just 123 yards a game and passing for another 244. They have run for just ten touchdowns all season, which is exactly half as many as Tim Tebow. That's not all that impressive, considering they spent about $2 million to restructure their offensive coaching staff. FSU averages 23.9 points a game and has only once scored more than 30 points in a game. Amazingly enough in the last nine games they have scored at least 21 points every time, but no more than 29.

Their biggest problem has been on third down where they convert just 32 percent of the time, one of the worst numbers in the country. It's the same problem that plagued the offense under Jeff Bowden in recent years.

Quarterback --- Weatherford has played about twice as much as Xavier Lee, but the two have similar efficiency ratings. Weatherford completes just under 60 percent of his passes for 1,585 yards. He has thrown for eight touchdowns with just one interception. He's a decent enough athlete to avoid the rush and pick up some yards. Lee has passed for 972 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions.

Running back --- Antone Smith is their best runner, but has been dogged by injuries and mediocre blocking. For the year he's rushed for 657 yards but just three touchdowns. Last week with Smith out their top receiver Preston Parker moved to tailback and ran for over 100 yards. They may try to use him like the Gators use Percy Harvin this week, although Smith is expected back. Fullback Seddrick Holloway carries it about twice a game.

Receivers --- Parker (48, 13.1, 3) leads the team, but the keys to the passing game are two big targets in De'Cody Fagg (44, 14.9, 5) and Greg Carr (38, 18.1, 3). Fagg is an excellent route runner and really their "go to" guy while Carr at 6'6" specializes in the jump ball. Smith (21, 9.1) is a good receiver out of the backfield, while TE Charlie Graham (10, 7.5, 1) gets the ball occasionally.

Offensive Line --- This unit has been a key component of Florida State's inconsistency. When they open holes for the running game and protect the quarterback FSU is very capable. But when they struggle the offense falls apart. Jacky Claude at right guard is probably their best player while youngsters Daron Rose at left tackle and Ryan McMahon offer potential for the future.

The greatest threat the FSU offense offers is in the match up between their receivers and Florida's beat up, undersized and inexperienced secondary. The Gators should consider spending the entire game in nickel and dime packages and dare the Seminoles to prove they can run it on them, which I don't think they can. Weatherford is a streaky passer so keeping him from getting in a comfort zone is critical.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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