With Miami ready to face FSU tomorrow, I took some time to communicate with Jon Marchant from our sister site Tomahawk Nation about our thoughts on the teams, the staff, and the game itself. Jon will have a piece on our discussion posted on Tomahawk Nation later today.
What follows here is a transcript of the topics we covered for Sate of The U.
Hey Jon, Miami and FSU are both 4-4 through the first two-thirds of the season. What do you think has gone right for both teams, and what has gone wrong?
What a loaded question haha. For FSU, the offense has been a mixed bag, but the results are still better than last year. They have talent everywhere except quarterback and offensive line. On defense, I think the coaching staff made some huge mistakes, but it looks like the unit has found their footing, even if it’s not great. They have talent everywhere and yet they also have tons of holes, just like the offense.
For Miami, I’m not really sure. The ‘Canes have lost multiple games this season in which they’ve dominated and also won multiple games in which they were dominated and had no business winning. I don’t think their offensive tackles are very good either. Their defense is very good and talented, but with a carousel at quarterback and uncertain OL play, well, it’s like looking in a mirror.
I don’t know about domination, but the rest sounds about right...
Let’s turn to our Quarterback situations... both teams have played 2 QBs, and each has had their positives and negatives this season. If you only had one option for each team, who would you start and why?
For FSU, I would start Cam Akers. Not even a joke. I think he’s probably their best quarterback. He played it in high school and he’s got a fun arm. He gives the offense a dual threat from the position, and he has the arm to make the deep shot plays, whereas Alex Hornibrook does not and James Blackman has been a disappointment. I hope Akers gets a shot at it this weekend, so we can really see what he can do.
For Miami, I would probably start Jarren Williams. He’s the future of that team, and I think we’ve seen enough from N’Kosi Perry. Let Williams grow and learn. Putting in a young player and yanking him out can destroy his confidence. I think the Hurricanes should have confidence in him, and work together to build toward something.
Wow, I’m surprised you have that much confidence in Cam Akers... How are you feeling about the way the Canes and Noles matchup? What do you see as the best mismatch either way?
Excited but not confident. On paper, the less evenly matched side is Miami’s defense vs. FSU’s offense. The ‘Nole offense is a work in progress, and they just introduced some new things last week that Miami will have to prepare for, and that’s the WildCam with Akers at quarterback. It’s hard to say how well that will work against a stout Hurricanes defense with good linebacker play. FSU will need to be able to throw down the field on the shot plays offensive coordinator Kendal Briles designs. If FSU can’t hit them the Seminoles will probably struggle to score. Miami’s defense is well regarded by SP+. What seems more evenly matched to me is FSU’s defense vs Miami’s offense. Williams can be risky with the ball, and FSU has some talent in Marvin Wilson and safety Hamsah Nasirildeen. As often happens in this rivalry, it may come down to turnover luck. It should be exciting either way.
Yeah, and it’s often said that “luck” is improved when you’re prepared well, so if you could give Manny and Willie one piece of advice that they would accept, what would it be?
My first thought was that they shouldn’t be listening to anyone like me. But then I thought that they could probably both benefit by getting their crap together. Get organized, get a plan, settle it down, and go out and get it done. Quit with the panicking and the desperation moves. I’m sure they’ll appreciate that kind of vague word salad. I’d probably say that though because they both look like they’re reeling. I think FSU is getting better, but the progress is just painfully slow and I’m worried Taggart is getting desperate. This might be the most important game of his FSU coaching career. Is Manny over his head? It’s too early to tell. But sometimes (from the outside looking in) it just feels like he is.
I don't think Manny’s in over his head, but time will tell... I can sense some uncertainty in your answers, so what about the Miami Hurricanes makes you think the Canes will beat FSU?
Their defense. It’s good. FSU’s offensive line is bad. If FSU can’t block even a little up front, it’ll be a long night. I wouldn’t be surprised if Miami dares FSU to throw on them by loading the box to stop Akers and this running game. That’s why I think it’s so important for FSU to hit some shot plays over the top. Plus, Miami always seems to get the turnovers, like they did vs. Pitt. A couple against the ‘Noles could put FSU in a hole it can’t climb out of.
Ok, so in your opinion, who needs to step up for Miami to win?
Jarren Williams and Miami’s linebackers... If Williams plays lights out, well, why wouldn’t he? Miami always gets up for the ‘Noles and vice versa. If he makes good quick decisions into the intermediate area of the field, he should put up some numbers. FSU’s backers are pretty bad in coverage and space. And I’ve heaped a lot of praise on Miami’s defense, and deservedly so, but for as talented as their linebackers are they probably should be playing better than they have recently. Of course, I’m expecting them to play lights out as well. It’s just how it goes. If they can fit their gaps and shut down FSU’s running game and also be effective in coverage they could really do some damage to FSU’s chances.
Sadly, I have to agree with you on our linebacker play... With that said, which Miami player(s) are you concerned about heading into Saturday’s game?
As mentioned, Shaq Quarterman. Also, Jeff Thomas. Dude is explosive. Honestly, in this rivalry and with this Seminoles team, really any Miami player is capable of ruining FSU’s night haha.
That’s the plan... lol. So how do you see the game playing out? Got a Prediction on the final score?
I have no idea. I really don’t. I think it’s going to be close, contested, a bunch of turnovers, some missed field goals, and who knows what else. Shenanigans and chaos and punts and big plays and trash talking. In other words, awesome. Miami is probably the slightly better team but FSU is somehow favored and at home. I’m going to be a homer then and go FSU 24 Miami 23.
I see it ending more like 24-20 Miami, but that's a good hearted guess. Jon, before we wrap it up, tell our readers something they don’t know about the 2019 Seminoles.
If they win this game they’ll make a bowl! You know, because they’re not gonna lose to Alabama State. What a fun way to re-start FSU’s bowl streak that would be.
Thanks Jon, I appreciate the collaboration, and I look forward to the game!
In a lighthearted spirit, we exchanged “visuals” of how we saw the game playing out Saturday. Here is Jon’s Mona Lisa.
Drop your comments below.