My Take | Syracusefan.com

My Take

sutomcat

No recent Cali or Iggy awards; Mr Irrelevant
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Flew into Orlando Thursday morning. Played golf Friday at OCN. Very nice as always. Drove part way up to Tallahassee Friday night. There was a lot of traffic on I75 and it was slow going on and off. I went with a friend and we got rooms at a Holiday Inn in Alachua, a small town off I75 between Gainesville and Lake City. Dinner at Sonny’s BBQ. Nice.

Made the drIve to Tallahassee in the morning. Not much traffic. Not much to see on I10 either but it was an easy drive to @TexanMark’s tailgate next to the Tucker Center. The parking lot was not in great shape but Mark got the best spot, under the only trees that line the lot and we had a good time talking with old and new friends and eating good food, waiting until it was time to head to the stadium. Special props to Mark for his killer jambalaya. I am not supposed to eat rice but it was too delicious to shun.

The walk to the stadium is mostly uphill. It was of course sunny and humid and we got a good workout getting to Doak Campbell. The big top circus tent is still next to the stadium. Lots of FSU coeds showing off their tans on the way. Lots of frats and sororities seen on the way. The Greek sceme is big there. A frat kid told us 10,000 FSU students tried to join a frat or sorority last spring. The FSU fans left us mostly alone. A couple made remarks to us and a guy in a tent next to the stadium called out to us and asked us to help ourselves to all the food they had there. Lots of nice tailgates. The Seminoles know how to tailgate and do it in style. I rate them second in the conference. Only Clemson does a better job and the gap between those two and the rest of the conference is vast. VT is probably third.

Doak Campbell is a nice stadium. It has a brick exterior. There are a couple of towers on one side and some funky extensions in different places. it looks pretty old but is in good shape. Big queues to get in. They aren’t well organized with their security lines and the devices they use to read bar codes had some issues. But not bad.

There is a big concourse on the ground level with a lot of space. It is a big stadium with only one level, so the one concourse has to be big. There are supports in the middle of the concourse every 20 yards or so to hold up the stands above. The men’s rooms do not have troughs and look like they were built in the 1970s. Kind of dirty but not awful. Food choices seemed pretty standard. Prices close to what we see in the dome. There are entrances to the sides on the ground level or you can walk up some old schools ramps to get to entrances to the stands about half way up. They might continue to go up from there but I don’t think so.

We were sitting in section 111 row 66. We should have walked up the ramps to get to the entrance halfway up but we didn’t know about it (bad signage), come in at the ground level and walk up 66 rows to our seats. Plain aluminum bleachers. My seat was on a seam between aluminum benches so it was even more uncomfortable than these things usually are. After sitting in a chair at UNC, I found the bench prehistoric, uncool and probably unconstitutional. Wait until the dome gets individual seats. I am going to complain about the benches like a spoiled athletic seating elitist. It is already starting.

FSU has replay scoreboards above both end zones. They looked weathered, old and lacked the crisp HDTV quality I have come to expect at the dome.. They were however, better than nothing. We were facing the sun and slowly broiled in the unusually strong rays one finds this far south. Thank God my friend let me borrow some sun block. Like UNC, FSU had a sound system that was turned WAY TOO LOUD. They kept playing CRAPPY RAP SONGS that might me WANT TO BREAK SOMETHING. SU also has its sound system too loud but not as out of control as FSU does.

We sat between the 35 and 40 yard line which is pretty amazing for an away game at a big school. Props to Mark for getting us really good seats and for organizing a very solid tailgate. There were about 5 people at the tailgate who wore Ohio State gear and they made cheers for the Buckeyes, then sometimes participated in FSU tomahawk chants and sometimes cheered for Syracuse. I think there is something toxic in buckeyes but this has yet to be scientifically proven.

The FSU band was very large. 23 sousaphones. They played well. They had nice uniforms. They did not play the SU alma mater. They did not play the SU fight song. They did not jump rope. Hrrrumpfff.

The guy that dominated the game was Keon Coleman. He was IMHO the best player on the field and it seemed like everytime FSU needed a play to be made, he made it. I think the beginning of the end for Syracuse was when Jordan Travis made one of his many wayward throws way over Keon‘s head and he jumped up and pulled it down with one hand. One of the best catches I have ever seen. I think Hatcher had a chance to make a similar catch later in the game but was not able to pull it off.

Didn’t see us try and double Keon. I did see we were using a spy on Travis every play (believe it was Wax 90% of the time). We really wanted to take his ability to run away and this worked well.

It was a frustrating game for a Syracuse fan to watch. We never were able to get the offense working, which is weird because Allen was effective running most of the game. That should have opened up the passing game but it did not. I think part of the problem was that we were extremely concerned about the FSU pass rush. Lots of max protect blocking schemes on passing plays. On a lot of the passing plays, we sent one or two WRs out (working against 4 or 5 DBs). They aren’t great getting open under the best of circumstances but asking them to get open against really good athletes while badly outnumbered was a big ask.

So Garrett often was forced to dump it to Allen with a little pass to the flat or watch his receivers fail to get open, and then get sacked. Usually by Brown, who we never seemed to bother to try and block when he blitzed. Garrett missed some easy throws too. And struggled to beat FSU defenders in the open field. He was not himself and I have no idea why. Maybe Dino was telling the truth about GS being sick. I just know he didn’t look like he usually does.

Thought the play selection was not great. We clearly wanted to establish the run, just like against UNC. We had a little more success against FSU but it wasn’t a dominant performance, and Allen got stopped cold enough to stop many drives. They tried to roll Garrett outside the pocket but FSU was quick enough to keep him bottled up and keep our WRs covered. Wish we tried to throw to Villari more often.

We tried to use 2 back sets quite a bit and that was a complete disaster. Just resulted in us playing 10 on 11 as the second back didn’t do anything helpful. Enrique Cruz had a tough day and just got dominated all game long. The rest of the OL didn’t do a lot better. Our OL guys got pushed 5 yards into the backfield pass play after pass play and it resulted in GS getting many passes get knocked down almost as soon as they left his hand.

I want to give props to the defense. The offense was horrible almost the entire game but the defense never gave up and limited the damage the Seminoles were able to make a number of times. Respect for Barron playing again with whatever is wrong with him. Broken hand? Broken wrist? Whatever it is, it has to hurt like hell when he makes contact. And he makes contact a lot. Yes, he missed some tackles but that is going to happen playing with one arm.

Thought Darton did a lot of nice things. Thought Lockett was good. Thompson seems to get a little better each game. Lowery made plays. McDonald had good moments. Bellamy got picked on some before he got hurt. Hope he is going to be okay. Johnson got burned long. That has happened a couple of times in the last couple of games and it isn’t good considering how few throws come his way. Wax was a man and made some terrific plays too. Seems odd to give them props after giving up so many points but some came late in garbage time and the offense and the troubled special teams units put the defense in bad situations a number of times.

What happened to Ingraham? Is he hurt? We missed Jaquez a lot.

Stonehouse had some good punts and some bad ones. Props to him for trying to make a tackle to save a TD on one of Coleman’s long returns.

Denaberg was great kicking off but he missed another FG he needs to make and he made a questionable decision by Dino look worse doing this. Hope he is going to be accurate enough and clutch enough to be our long term FG kicker.

For a while, it looked like we were going to have a cakewalk for our final five games. That is clearly not going to be the case. Impressed with the improvement some of these wayward ACC schools have made, mostly after changing QBs and going with a more mobile guy. We better get good at containing running QBs and stopping the run or there will be no bowl games for us when the regular season ends.

That VT game is a huge one. It is going to be tough to get a win on the road on a Thursday night in Blacksburg. But it is what is needed to get this season back on track.

I hope the team is ready for the challenge.
 
Great write-up as usual and it was a pleasure talking with you at the tailgate and the game. Thanks for filling me in on your background and telling me about your interest about bands, tubas, etc. I always thought you were a football coach too because of your insights in your write-ups. Incidentally, the FSU band played the SU fight song before the game when they took the field before Chief Osceola. They played it a few minutes before you arrived.
 
Great write-up as usual and it was a pleasure talking with you at the tailgate and the game. Thanks for filling me in on your background and telling me about your interest about bands, tubas, etc. I always thought you were a football coach too because of your insights in your write-ups. Incidentally, the FSU band played the SU fight song before the game when they took the field before Chief Osceola. They played it a few minutes before you arrived.
Thank you. I stand corrected. Good for the FSU band. All should do this for the visiting team….
 
Barron isn't the holder and it's possible that might be an issue with the poor kick. Now Babers decisions to kick it in the first place, that's a whole other discussion.

Also, I'm not sure Shraders arm is 100%. I'm not saying he had a great arm but something just seems off and I wonder if the surgery has something to do with it. Maybe the competition as well but even the open middle passes seem off.
 
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