I'll make this quick. Other than Ashton Lampkin's 3 holding penalties and the one blown coverage, I can't wait to see this defense by mid season. Defensive line is tremendous, Ogbah is a load. Ryan Simmons and the young linebackers were fantastic, especially Jacobs. The secondary was obviously a concern, but availed themselves well. That unit is in good hands.
The offense, however, is a bit more of a concern.
We talk a lot about Walsh's inability to stretch the field, but his release and generally flat nature of his throws are also problematic. He struggles to "drop" balls into space. Chelf, while no more accurate, could handle all those tasks, which is why, in the end, the offense functioned better under his direction. PFB's analysis was spot on here, noting that the playbook shrinks when Walsh is the QB.
The challenge? Coaches have been watching these guys for quite a while now. Walsh's arm hasn't changed, so one can only presume what I've believed all along...that Gundy is full of it when discussing the QB's, and Garman and Rudolph are no where near ready to play.
The other problem I have is the play calling and use of personnel.
I was utterly shocked when the Cowboys came out with three straight runs to open the game. That screamed conservative and "afraid to make a mistake."
After surrendering field position and consequently a FG, special teams (more on this later) whiffed when Desmond Roland couldn't field the kickoff (Hill touched the ball twice to this point, and FSU was already kicking away from him), and Hill couldn't escape coverage, pinning OSU inside their own 5 yard line.
After the first series, I was thinking "ok, if anything, throw deep. Don't take any chances short."
So what happens? First play involves a read that has Walsh throwing about a 15 yd slant to Seales.
See my earlier description of the nature of Walsh's throws. FSU LB Andrews didn't really have to jump much, reaching up and deflecting the ball to himself, then running it in for the pick 6. An additional observation...even if Andrews had not deflected the ball, the throw would have been behind Seales, and the CB in coverage was already jumping the route. Chances are it would have been intercepted either way.
J.W. should have had 3 TO's on the night, as another easy interception was dropped (and could have easily been another pick 6).
If you take away the blown coverage fake that went to Glidden for a 55 yd TD, plus the 22 yd completion to Hill, Walsh was 13-27 for 126 yards. That's 9.7 yds per completion and only 5.0 yds per attempt. That is NOT going to get it done in this offense.
The TD to Glidden was the only successful completion 20 or more yards downfield. Granted, the Seminoles secondary is one of their strengths, but this will have to change for the offense to truly flourish against better opponents.
As for use of personnel, what in the world are we doing giving Hill a zone read handoff over the right side for his first offensive touch of the game? The dude has speed. Run him wide or give him a jet sweep. That will open up the middle of the field quicker than anything. Please get rid of that swing pass (lateral) that takes forever to develop (you remember...THE ON WE HATED FROM LAST SEASON)...
Hill's speed means his ability to get to the corner quickly is the main stress on a defense. This play completely takes that away. Based on what had transpired up to this point, it was clear Florida State was paying attention to him when he was on the field. If they had faked this the way they did on Glidden's TD, there would have been another TD on this play, as the corner let his man go free before Walsh even released the ball.
Seriously, jet and zone read sweeps should be the only thing Hill sees. Get him to the corners with the ball as quickly as possible. Of his 8 carries, at least half were off tackle runs. Leave that stuff to Roland and Childs. Utilize Hill properly and you can minimize his touches and maximize his performance, as well as take advantage of his influence.
Gundy can yap about special teams all he wants. Those units were responsible for 9 points (2 FSU FG's, Grogan's miss). Walsh was responsible for 14, including the dagger at the end when OSU had the Seminoles on the ropes.
Outside of Hill, and Walsh's TD run, the rushing game was absolutely anemic, offering up 33 carries for 2.8 ypa. If Walsh isn't going to air it out, then this part of the game will need to find a heartbeat.
Outside of Hill, and Glidden's TD, the passing game coughed up 104 yards on 13 completions. That's 5.2 ypa and 8.0 ypc. Not good.
Bottom line here? If Hill goes down, this offense is in deep doo.
The silver lining in all of this? Very fixable mistakes cost OSU a win over the defending national champs. I do agree with Kyle at PFB that I don't think I've ever felt better about a loss. The schedule sets up perfectly for the Cowboys, with a nice soft landing next week when we KNOW there will be a letdown. Then they can get there feet back under them for what should be a winnable, but solid challenge from UTSA. Thank heavens OSU isn't playing the Roadrunners next week. Keep this headed the right direction and Gundy will find his team 7-1 heading to Manhattan.
Amazing that the picture got rosier AFTER a loss.