July 22, 2018

Film Preview: Florida State

Clemson has everything to lose and Florida State is a wounded duck with nothing to lose. It’s an odd situation, and perhaps the least likely situation anyone would’ve anticipated in the preseason. Florida State has been straight up terrible, and yes some of that pertains to Francois’ injury, but right now they’re an all around bad team. Yet, the Seminoles still possess as much or even better talent than the Tigers, and are still one of the most talented teams in the nation. It’s baffling, really. However, considering the rivalry of these two in recent years and the chance for FSU to spoil everything for Clemson, you better believe the Noles will come out hungry with something to prove. Anyways, let’s get to it starting with the Florida State offense:


Freshman RB Cam Akers, or Dalvin Cook 2.0(not really…yet), has really emerged onto the scene and will be one of the best RB’s Clemson sees all year. Considering Clemson’s difficulties against the run against both Syracuse and NC State, it’ll be interesting to see how the Tigers hold up against Akers. Clemson’s run defense is clearly worn down at the moment and nursing several critical injuries. If they get pushed around Saturday, Akers could spring some big runs. FSU likes to run the stretch play, just like they did with Dalvin Cook, allowing Akers to hit the hole or cut back against the defensive flow.



Beyond Akers, the Seminoles have very little on offense. I fully anticipate Venables loading the box and bringing an array of run blitzes to force FSU into obvious passing situations. QB James Blackman struggles to progress through his reads and fire accurate passes. That, along with FSU’s offensive line being one of the worst in the country(119th in sacks allowed), truly creates a mismatch against Clemson’s defensive line. They should bring pressure at Blackman early and often, in an attempt to rattle him and the offensive line.

In addition, with a fatigued defense, the last thing Clemson wants to see is an up-tempo team that can wear them down and force them to play downs without rest in between. The good news is Florida State is the 119th slowest team in the nation, averaging only 65.5 plays/game. For reference, the up-tempo Syracuse that Clemson struggled against is 1st in the nation, averaging 90.2 plays/game.

Let’s take a look at FSU’s offensive line and passing game struggles.




Play action doesn’t work well when you can’t block anyone.




Pressure coming on Blackman, forces the ball out of his hand with a quick throw away.


Not the most accurate passer.


Now to the other side of the ball…Florida State possesses TONS of talent defensively, led by S Derwin James, but honestly struggle to do the little things right. That is, tackling, staying in position, not biting on play fakes, etc. Poorly coached defense to say the least, and why Charles Kelly will be gone soon. I anticipate Clemson’s defense will be able to get off the field and hold FSU’s offense for the majority of the game. The key is Clemson’s offense playing smart by not providing opportunities for Nole defenders to create turnovers and to use their aggressive nature against them. To add to that, the Seminoles have really struggled against mobile QB’s this season, so I expect a heavy dose of KB runs. Syracuse’s QB Dungey went for a 22/102/1 TD last week.

Derwin James making a great individual play.



Motion creates confusion in the secondary and Syracuse takes advantage of FSU’s lack of discipline.


Syracuse saw success in 1 on 1 battles against FSU’s DB’s. Opportunities like this should come to Deon Cain, especially with how tight their DB’s play on the line.


NC State uses Florida State’s aggressive nature against them, as they all bite against the outside toss. Could Clemson sell the fake screen or fake QB keeper and then take a shot over the top?


Dungey finding space to run on the keeper.




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