SB Nation's Tomahawak Nation was gracious enough to answer a few questions I threw their way about the upcoming game with BYU. Here is a set of questions they gave me to answer, so go check out that set.
1. What quarterback would Florida State rather see more of, the passing quarterback Jake Heaps who is a true freshman, or the veteran quarterback who likes to run in Riley Nelson?
FSU would rather see the strong-armed Heaps because it takes away the possibility of the option threat. While FSU can defend the option, the plan is simpler if it doesn't need to think about option football.
2. Were there any lineup changes on the defense following last weeks loss to Oklahoma?
The lineup will remain the same, though starting strong-safety Nick Moody might get more snaps as he works back from his groin injury.
3. What is the attitude of the fan base, because they were beaten pretty good last week by Oklahoma, but on the other hand last year they easily beat BYU?
I think the fan base expects a blowout and doesn't respect BYU after last year's beatdown in which the Noles led 44-14. I think most don't realize that while FSU outplayed BYU last year, it was lucky (fumble luck) to beat BYU by the margin it did. Fans definitely look at this as a chance to get back on track.
4. Everyone knows about Christian Ponder, but who are some other offensive players that BYU should focus on?
FSU has a very good offensive line, as BYU's coach Mendenhall knows:
I was impressed through the week with their line's athleticism. I was impressed today that they were more physical than I anticipated. They were very athletic in the first two football games in terms of getting downfield on their screen passes, and cutting. Their size is more like defensive linemen, as you watch them. So they are very athletic. I didn't think they would be able to move us off the line of scrimmage. And not only did they do that, they did it consistently, beginning to end. And that was the biggest surprise to me of the game. And I have to give them credit."
[On the difference between FSU and BYU's front, and why Bronco expected to have success against FSU]: "Because I believe Oklahoma's offensive line was a very good front, and I think that we were capable of more. Yet, they, from beginning to end, ran the football and it wasn't a lot of elaborate schemes. It was basically zone blocking which was their men against our men."
[On Halftime Adjustments]: "Really, when it comes down to the adjustments made -- and this will sound maybe less than what you hoped to hear, it really comes down to gap integrity, and each player doing exactly what they are supposed to do. And when you run zone schemes, someone is losing at the point of attack, or someone is getting cut off, and losing their gap. And that is where seams develop."
"Basically, man for man, Florida State's run offense was better than our run defense this evening. And when you start taking chances and bringing pressure -- and we brought more today than probably in any of the previous two games, maybe all of last year, in trying to help them make plays, but even then Florida State handled that well. Everything we had planned and prepared, we used. And none of which was very effective. Our zone pressures weren't working in terms of getting to the quarterback. We had some man pressures that also weren't effective. And base zone and even dropping eight [wasn't effective]. So execution ultimately was their execution was better than ours."
FSU has two proven receivers in Reed and Easterling, but is looking for a #3 receiver or its tight end Reliford to step up.
5. What does Florida State need to do to beat BYU?
Florida State needs to not let Oklahoma beat it twice, mentally. It needs to force BYU to execute with precision on multiple-play drives and limit big plays. FSU must tackle well on the edges, something it did not do last week. On offense, FSU must be patient early and not try to force things downfield. When BYU creeps up to stop the FSU run game, it must hit its deep shots off of play-action. If FSU is mentally ready to play the game, doesn't beat itself, and doesn't allow big plays, it won't lose to BYU on Saturday.
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