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Previewing The Florida State Offensive Attack

Its hard to get a good read on the complete potential of the Florida State offense after their thrashing of the Samford Bulldogs on Saturday because the level of competition was very skeptical. However in passing the "eye test" we do see an offensive attack that is precise, accurate and fast. They will no doubt be capable of exploiting the weaknesses uncovered by Utah State Saturday night. 

Willie Haulstead

2 receptions/ 40 Yards

               Andrew Datko Rodney Hudson Ryan McMahon David Spurlock Zebrie Sanders Beau Reliford (TE)          

Taiwan Easterling

4 receptions/56  yards/1 TD

Christian Ponder

12/14/167 yards/4 TDs/1 INT




Lonnie Pryor

3 rec/ 23 yards/ 2 TDs

Jermaine Thomas

8 carries/ 31 yards/ 1 TD

1 rec/21 yards


After leading 7-0 following the first quarter of play last week the Seminoles exploded for 35 second quarter points behind four Christian Ponder touchdown passes and a 73 yard punt return by Greg Reid. This allowed for the first team offense to take the rest of the afternoon off but didn't give us much in the way of scouting. Ponder is mature (5th year senior), fairly mobile and accurate. He did have one pick (that came on a tipped ball) but his passing performance, while outstanding, left a couple of questions to be answered.

1) How much did the FSU receivers get tested? Granted, I didn't see the game but it appears from the stats that Ponder and his receivers were going up against air. Ponder only had two incomplete passes and only needed twelve completions to throw for 167 yards and four touchdowns. That's nearly a 14 yards per completion average and a touchdown every four passes. Oklahoma's secondary played like junk last Saturday night but they didn't give up that kind of completion percentage or touchdowns.

2) How much did Christian Ponder get pressured? It wasn't just Ponder, it was also the backup EJ Manuel. FSU quarterbacks went a combined 22-27 with no sacks. That's 27 drop backs without placing a quarterback on the turf. No pressure with over-matched defensive backs usually leads to a solid day for a quarterbacks. 

Here's what we did learn about the FSU passing game on Saturday though. Christian Ponder has a nice touch on the ball and his receivers have the speed to get separation. Unlike what we saw from the Sooners on Saturday night, there seems to be chemistry between Ponder and his receivers. 

Florida State's offensive line averages 6-4/297 in size and is not just good at protecting the quarterback. They sprung Seminole running backs for an average yard per carry mark of 5.8 yards. Junior running back Tye Jones is listed as second on the depth chart but led the way for FSU rushers on Saturday. He got the same amount of carries (8) as the starter but where Jermaine Thomas ran for 31 yards, Jones averaged 13.4 yards per carry on his way to a 107 yard afternoon. The Seminoles also like to throw the ball to their backs out of the backfield and found success there last weekend as well.

We'll also see multiple sets from FSU that look nothing like the base set listed above. They'll switch from that to a double tight to a four receiver set.