The Jackets head to Tallahassee this Saturday for their second night game in a row this time against an inconsistent 'Noles squad whose leader is embroiled in retirement controversy. Even with the outside distractions swirling around the FSU program, expect a high scoring affair with plenty of drama. Let's see how they match up:
When we have the ball:
- the 'Noles D-line is the smallest we've faced this year with ends Yarborough & White at 241 lbs & 261 lbs, respectively. Highly-touted true freshman Jacobbi McDaniel (267#) gets his first start at DT & pairs with senior Kendrick Stuart (271#) on the nose. This will be one of the few games this year where the Jackets have a size advantage so expect them to use it. Tech will of course test the dive early & try to establish Dwyer but FSU will be ready for this after the gashing the Diesel gave them last year. Expect CPJ to rely on the midline heavily in this game as both DE's are undersized & we should be able to get some movement up front. It's no secret that we need to run the ball but it will be especially important on Saturday night as our best defense against the 'Noles may be keeping Ponder & Co. on the sideline.
- The FSU secondary is banged up & has been picked on so far this year. Patrick Robinson, their best corner, is questionable with an ankle & even if he plays Tech will have a huge size advantage with BayBay & Hill having at least a 5 inch height advantage on the guys covering them. Mickey Andrews will no doubt role a safety over the top on BayBay's side leaving Hill one-on-one with his man. THIS IS A KEY MATCH-UP FOR THE JACKETS! Hill oozes talent & has become more involved with each passing week this year. Expect Saturday night to be his "entrance to the show"
Tech's Swagger Coordinator would like to welcome Stephen Hill to the "Show"
- Expect the FSU play-side safety to fly to the pitch-man. Andrew's will sell the DE's out on the dive, hope his LB's, led by Dekoda Watson, can handle Nesbitt, & send his safety to the a-back pitch-man. Once Andrew's shows this to be his preferred method of defense look for CPJ to change the blocking assignments, creating confusion on the defense & resulting in a couple of big plays. Watch for BayBay to jump the crashing safety, leaving his corner unblocked & one-on-one with the likes of Anthony Allen. Ummm, sucks to be that corner.
- Misdirection will be key for the Jackets on Saturday. FSU is, as they have always been, fast & athletic. They will sell-out, fly to the ball, & have a tendency to be undisciplined. This is the classic recipe for spread option success. Expect a heavy dose of counter-option & some reverses to take advantage of this....
Which way did he go, which way did he go????
When they have the ball:
- Look out. Christian Ponder has developed into a first-rate quarterback. Always a threat to run, Ponder has added good decision making & ball security to his arsenal this year. Not only does Ponder lead the ACC in total offense, he's only thrown one interception on the year. Miami's Jacory Harris gave us fits & I expect Mr. Ponder to do the same. We have to disguise coverage & hope to get some pressure or we could be in for a long night.
"Oh Shit, that's Morgan Burnett!!"
- Led by hightly regarded assistant Ric Trickett, FSU's offensive line is a solid unit, better at pass protection than the running game. A bit undersized at around 285 per man, the 'Noles have yet to establish a consistent running game but have fared well through the air. With true freshman Izaan Cross starting in place of the sick Anthony Egbuniwe & RS freshman Stephen Sylvester getting his first start at Weak-side linebacker, look for FSU to test these two early.
- Tech's secondary must step up. FSU "head-man-in-waiting/Chuck Amato's bitch/ I really just want my $5 million & then I'll go away" Jimbo Fisher loves drag routes across the middle & tunnel screens. Let's just say Jimbo Fisher loves drag. Really. I saw it on an episode of COPS. Miami absolutely crushed us with drag routes across the middle. This scares me. We've got to cover. And tackle. The tunnel screen or quick-out are all about the wide receiver physically dominating the cornerback. We must tackle. Watch out for #80 Jarmon Fortson. A big play waiting to happen.
- Caz Piurowski. A Polish tight end. If this doesn't scare you nothing will. Polish & tight end go together like bourbon & ginger ale. My sphincter puckers even thinking about Mr. Piurowski in the red zone. Please, Please watch him in the red zone!!!
- Tech's best defense will be their offense. Long-sustained clock eating drives. Think James Joyce. Or Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge. Long, boring oh so sweet drives....
Eat that clock...
- Jerrard Tarrant & Greg Reid are two great return men. One of these guys could well be the difference on Saturday night. I can't stomach talking about our kicking game here. Let's hope the promised kick-coverage changes are in place this Saturday.
The End Game:
- Too much is being made of all the "off-field" stuff at FSU. The 'Noles take a shopping trip to Dillard's, grab a bunch of free stuff, & come out fired up in an attempt to show the world that Bobby Bowden hasn't been put out to pasture. Tech responds with a couple of clock-eating drives that leave the jort wearing, Camaro lovin' faithful quiet & worn out after their week of incestuous battles over Pappy Bowden. (That's JORT, the proper term for the ubiquitous-in-the-Panhandle jean shorts). Stephen Hill emerges as a force with a long TD reception & a reverse for another touchdown. Tech can't pressure Ponder & he continuosly completes drag routes across the middle. As FSU drives in the 4th, Morgan Burnett baits Ponder into his only mistake of the night & snags an interception at the Tech 30. Nesbitt & Co. do the rest going on a 7 minute clock-killing drive to ice the win for the Jackets. Final Score: GT 37- Criminoles-31.
Why sir, is that a victory cigar?