CLOSE

The FSU offensive coordinator talked about what he needs to do better and finding the plays that work for his offense.

Tallahassee Democrat

Florida State’s offense has left plenty to be desired from its first two games.

The Seminoles have been outscored, 68-23, in season-opening defeats against Georgia Tech and Miami last Saturday.

It’s clear FSU must go back to the drawing board before Saturday’s home game against Jacksonville State. Kickoff is 4 p.m. 

The Seminoles could also rely more on scripted plays.

On two scripted drives this season, FSU has scored 10 points. However, it also means the offense has scored 13 points on non-scripted drives out of the remainder of the play calls.

“Those scripted drives, we rep over and over again so our guys feel really comfortable with them. I think those are the plays that we get repped the most in practice so they’re the plays we execute the best. That sounds simple, but that is the answer,” offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham said.

RELATED

More: Henry: Hang in there. FSU football will improve under Norvell, but will take time

More: Florida State football updates depth chart ahead of Jacksonville State game

More: Florida State enters ‘critical week’ with Mike Norvell returning to in-person coaching

Dillingham further explained the offense has been plagued by too many long-yardage situations.

FSU’s numbers haven’t been good. FSU has converted only 12 of 31 (39 percent) third-down conversions. The Seminoles rank 14th in the ACC in total offense per game (318.5 yards) and 15th in points per game (11.5). 

“I think that’s where we’ve just got to continue to improve is if we want to have those continued drives like we had on the first drives, we can’t put ourselves in first-and-15 and second-and-25,” Dillingham said.

“We have to continue to keep ourselves in good down and distances.”

Coach Mike Norvell, who expects to return to practice Tuesday after missing the UM game while being quarantined with COVID-19, is looking for an improved mindset from players. He said leadership skills are built in practice.

 “It’s also who’s bringing that passion and purpose through the course of a work week in practice. You don’t flip the switch and say, ‘Now I’m going to play really good,’ ” Norvell said.

“The challenge is for everybody and it’s not just come Saturday. It’s what we’re willing to do through the course of the week and that’s got to show up. If we want to be consistent not only when things are going well for us, but when things are challenging.”

The situation that the Seminoles are in is new to some players, but most notably to Norvell. This is the first time in 15 years where Norvell’s team has started 0-2.

Norvell said FSU must improve across the board.

“It’s for me to coach all aspects of our program, you have to pick the standard of how we play and how we conduct ourselves,” Norvell said. “And that’s never going to change. Everybody has a choice, and you have a choice of how you’re going to respond.”

UM’s linebacker Zach McCloud (53) celebrates a second quarter tackle on FSU quarterback James Blackman (1) as the University of Miami host Florida State University Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Saturday, September 26, 2020. (Photo: AL DIAZ, [email protected])

All eyes turn to the quarterback position.

FSU quarterbacks James Blackman, Tate Rodemaker and Jordan Travis each threw an interception against UM.

For Redemaker, the game represented the freshman’s collegiate debut. He completed 5 of 9 passes for 47 yards, and Dillingham focused on the positives from the player’s performance.

“He went out there and, yeah, he made a mistake, but that’s part of being a freshman going out there. But he played with confidence and that’s the one thing, when you’re a freshman, is you either play with confidence or you play scared, Dillingham said.

“That’s what I was pleased with, he went out there and played with confidence and that’s something we can work with.”

Blackman struggled throughout the game, going 16 of 26 for 120 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

Travis was used more as a mobile quarterback and only had two passing attempts. Travis rushed for 52 yard on seven carries, and he had the second highest rushing yards in the game.

Dillingham said it’s important FSU’s quarterbacks learn from their mistakes. 

 “Just got to be able to, when bad things happen, you’ve got to be able to handle those situations better. That’s not just with James. We had three quarterbacks play and all three of them turned the football over in a variety of ways,” Dillingham said.

“It’s when bad things happen, how do we respond? I’ve said that all along is that’s what makes a good quarterback is how do you handle the bad situations?”

No one covers the ‘Noles like the Tallahassee Democrat. Subscribe now so you never miss a moment.