OSU-Florida State: Mix Bag Of Thoughts

Gene Deckerhoff is in his 36th season of calling the Florida State games as the play-by-play voice, and he is coming off his third national championship season with the Seminoles BCS win over Auburn last January. Deckerhoff also calls the action on the dial for the NFL's Tamp Bay Buccaneers, so he knows the difference between good football and bad football.

He has seen more of the good over the years with Florida State on the college level, where he works with a former Seminoles fullback that he once called in action as a player in William Floyd, who provides analysis for the broadcasts. However, with the Bucs he has seen good and bad in nearly equal proportions at the NFL level.

Deckerhoff told some great stories in our conversation last week on Robert Allen & Friends, but he also gave some sobering opinions on how good he thinks the Seminoles will be.

Like the Cowboys radio crew and their relationship with Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy and being allowed to attend practice, Deckerhoff and Floyd get access to attend FSU practices from head coach Jimbo Fisher. When we spoke to Deckerhoff he had just witnessed a full scrimmage two days earlier.

"What I see and the reload thing is that Florida State is a team now that strictly reloads," Deckerhoff started. "The running back core at Florida State this year is better than the running back crew that won a national championship a year ago.

"The linebackers may not be as experienced as last year, but they're faster and they came in with extremely highly thought of stars next to their names as high school prospects for the next level," Deckerhoff continued.

"The secondary right now, I honestly don't think there is a secondary that I've seen at Florida State, and we go back to the Deion Sanders and Terrell Buckley era, I don't think there is a secondary as talented and I know they are not as deep as the secondary Florida State has.

"If you can't get beat on the back side then you have a chance at winning a lot of football games. That means coverages and covering passing attacks particularly oriented toward spread offenses. You see an awful lot more of those right now. You have to have big corners that can hit and cover and Florida State has that this year."

It's funny that Deckerhoff picked out those position groups to talk about, and never even touched on returning Heisman Trophy Award winning quarterback Jameis Winston or the Seminoles all-senior offensive line with four starters returning that are all listed on NFL Draft boards around the league.

Floyd, on the other hand, was complimentary of the Seminoles, particularly of the defensive line and 6-3, 300-pound defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. He is a defensive end with defensive tackle size and end athleticism. In other words, he is a freak.

"There is a reason that he was the number-one recruited player when he came out of high school," Floyd said. "The kid is an amazing talent and his dad has been teaching him football since he came out of the womb.

"His dad is a Florida State alumni as well, Mario Edwards Sr., so he has been around football his whole life and was blessed with the talent, the size, and the speed in order to go out there and get it done at a high level."

He also touched on that offensive line, which is natural for a fullback that works so closely with the big guys up front.

"I think it is going to be fun to watch the offensive line this year," Floyd added. "I think they will be able to get some of those running backs like Karlos Williams through the hole and downfield where they can really pick up some yardage."

Florida State is very much a mixed bag offensively as they are based in variations of pro formation with equal parts of Winston under center and in the shotgun. They love to run their double twins bunch formation and they aren't too terribly complex as powers, iso, leads, and tosses are staples to their running game. Screens and slants dominate their passing attack.

Floyd, who played for an FSU national championship team in 1993 before going on to play in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers, finished by saying it is an opening game and while the Seminoles are a two touchdown-plus favorite that opening games are often full of surprises.

"That is one thing that is great about football and I always loved it," Floyd said in conclusion. "All the calls, we can say who has the best team, and who we think will win because they have the best talent, but nothing really matters until after that fourth quarter and that clock says zero-zero-zero.

"So you've got to get on the field and go play no matter whether you're the number-one team and you are ranked one or 25 or not ranked at all. All of that stuff is window dressing and you still have to get it done on the field. Whoever gets it done that night will be happy the next day."

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