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Summer Scheming ‘22: Florida State Seminoles, Nov. 5

The struggling ‘Noles will head south to Miami to face the Hurricanes in Mario Cristobal’s first FSU-Miami game as head coach.

Florida State University vs University of Nebraska, 1994 FedEx Orange Bowl Set Number: X45498 TK2 R9 F28

The Miami Hurricanes will host the Florida State Seminoles on November 5th. This will be Mario Cristobal’s first FSU-Miami game since the 2006 season. As a player, Cristobal’s Hurricanes teams were 3-1 against the ‘Noles from 1989-1992. FSU has a one game win streak versus the Hurricanes.

Info: FSU @ Miami (Miami Gardens, FL)

Day/Time/Channel: Nov. 5, 2022 / TBA / TBA

Mike Norvell hasn’t had quite the start to his FSU Era as he would have liked. After posting four straight winning seasons at Memphis, Norvell’s ‘Noles are 8-13 and haven’t qualified for a bowl game in two seasons. Willie Taggert and COVID didn’t help Norvell’s start, but he will be thoroughly on the hot seat in ‘22 if the ‘Noles struggle out of the gate.

2021 Record: 5-7 (4-4 in the ACC)

Bowl Game: N/A

“I remember that guy!”

Fullback William Floyd, a Florida native, played ball at FSU from 1990-1993. Floyd was part of the ‘93 FSU team that won the National Championship. After three years in Tallahassee, Floyd rushed for 20 TD’s as mainly a blocking back for Charlie Ward and the ‘Noles offense.

The 242 pounder was a 1st round NFL Draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers and Floyd won Super Bowl XXIX in his rookie season. Floyd played in San Fran from 1994-1997, and with the Carolina Panthers from 1998-2000.

Data & Personnel

FSU heads into the 2022 season as the SP+ projected 28th best team in FBS football.

SP+ Projection Overall: 28 (Miami 14)

SP+ Proj. Offense: 45 (Miami 21)

SP+ Proj. Defense: 15 (Miami 23)

The Athlon preseason ACC All-Conference team only has one FSU Seminole on the first team. The first team defense’s lone ‘Nole is safety Jammie Robinson. Robinson is a havoc player with seven TFL’s, three PBU’s and two forced fumbles to go with four interceptions last year.

FSU doesn’t have another player on the All-ACC team until the 2nd team defense with defensive lineman Robert Cooper. Cooper logged 4.5 TFL’s in ‘21 but only 12 a sack. 335 pound humans aren’t exactly an every day thing and Cooper can dominate in run support.

The first FSU offensive player is on the third team, with offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons. DL Fabien Lovett and cornerback Omarion Cooper made the third team defense. Cooper had four PBU’s and two INT’s last season. Lovett had 4.5 TFL’s last year.

Two specialists made the 3rd team in punter Alex Mastromanno, and punt returner Mycah Pittman. Mastromanno averaged 42.7 yards per punt in 2021, while Pittman has transferred from Oregon where he averaged 10.1 yards per punt in Eugene

RB Treshaun Ward and OL Robert Scott made the fourth team. Ward split time with Jashaun Corbin last season, where Ward rushed for 515 yards on 6.4 yards per carry with four TD’s.

FSU scheme on O

QB Jordan Travis returns as the clear starting QB behind center. Travis averaged 7.9 yards per attempt while tossing 15 TD’s and six INT’s last season. In ‘21, Travis also rushed for 530 yards on four yards per touch with seven TD’s.

Alex Atkins is the offensive coordinator, but Mike Norvell will be calling plays on Saturdays. Atkins is also the offensive line coach at FSU, and played guard at UT-Martin.

Above- Norvell is mainly an 11 personnel guy like the rest of the world, but you’ll see some pictures worth a thousand words to slow down the defensive OODA Loop. Formations, motions, shifts, etc.

Above- Any time a QB can run, it causes issues. Travis was an ISSUE for Diaz and his players in ‘21.

Above- Typical Diaz issues with DB comms. CB and S are in different coverage and/or lost in the sauce. CB doesn’t even derail the WR. Just lets him fly by.

Above- My favorite run concept, split zone. FSU uses it to perfection vs a sloppy Miami D that isn’t gap sound and has very lazy eye discipline.

Above- Beautiful toss read play FSU used all day vs. Diaz and he couldn’t figure out how to adjust. Was stopped 2-3 times but not enough.

Above- Once that run game is going, you have to have the PAP off it. I’m a Tecmo Super Bowl play caller (or Wing-T): the run, the counter, the play-action.

Above- Ah, the RB wheel route. An all-timer for me. Especially when tagged with Mesh.

Above- Zig-out with a slot fade. Love anything + slot fade. It’s a hard route to cover because it doesn’t give itself away quite like a corner route. It’s really gradual and casual.

FSU scheme on D

The defensive coordinator duties are split between Adam Fuller and Randy Shannon. Fuller came to FSU from Memphis, while Shannon was promoted from analyst to co-DC this off-season.

Above- you can see FSU’s base against a 2x2 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end) look with Will Mallory down as a true TE and the twin WR’s in a stack look. The ‘Noles did their best to stay with 6 men in the box and a 2-high shell (2 deep safeties pre-snap).

Above- FSU likes aggressive D-Line play. They’re coming up field and causing issues for an O-Line like Miami’s that wasn’t ready physically, psychologically, technically, or tactically. Absolute domination of an alleged “first round talent” in Zion Nelson.

Above- FSU tried to widen out and play with 5 in the box but Miami ripped off one ok and one really good run, and they got 6 back in the box in a hurry. Not the most gap sound defense I’ve ever seen, and after watching four Pitt games going back to FSU was tough.

Above- It wasn’t just the pass rush, FSU’s interior D-Line was also an issue for Miami. Navaughn Donaldson couldn’t handle the ‘Noles big men. Not enough peak power at the strike point and limited leg drive / re-acceleration after contact.

Above- The FSU safeties were taking away the slants against Miami instead of the ILB’s. It essentially led to a situation where the Miami WR’s were getting hands on the ball- they just either dropped it after contact or paid for catching a 4-5 yard pass. Created some alligator arms at times later in the game.

Above- No one has ever been taught to block in pass pro the way Jarid Williams attempts this block. He’s off balance, falling back, then tries to slap the D-End?

And Jaylan Knighton didn’t want any part of helping out. First, the RB should be helping inside-out anyway. Second, yikes.

Above- Another clip of the FSU safeties playing the slant deep to short. How do you avoid letting your WR’s get pounded on every slant?

1- Sluggo (slant and go).

2- Have the TE inside of the slant, and have him run a vert or corner.

3- Zig-Out- WR runs a zig and then breaks out (paired well with the corner route Tyler Van Dyke loves anyway)

4- Shallow Cross with a hunt dig and post (above)

5- Use motion for OODA Loop disrupting eye candy.

Now that you’ve tried a few of those, the slant will be harder to head hunt and more soft coverage will be there for space to settle in.

Above- Aye, if a defense is going to be aggressive- use it against them. Lashlee couldn’t figure out 4th and 1 but the guy sure could draw up a trick play or two.

Canyonero keys to victory

1- Contain Jordan Travis. Travis was deadly with his legs vs. Miami in the ‘21 edition. Mobile QB’s are always a pain for DC’s and Travis is very mobile. He’s going to pick up a few first downs but they can’t come on 3rd and long type of situations.

2- Protect Van Dyke. FSU’s defensive line came away with three sacks and a hurry in ‘21, but one of those sacks was a brutal forced fumble. Van Dyke should be better protected under Mirabal and with Jermaine Johnson II off to the NFL.

3- Stay focused, again. If Miami has a loss or two before this game, they can’t let it tank the season. Obviously the FSU loss in ‘21 cost Diaz his job. Cristobal’s job is safe, 100%, but losing to a bad FSU team at home in Year One wouldn’t be a good start to The New-New Miami.

Way too early prediction: Miami by 8.