18 September 2011
After a weekend full of spirit and excitement in Tallahassee, we take a step back and look at some of the more impressive individual performances from Saturday night's game. Despite the painful loss, there were certainly a few positives to take away from the Seminoles' performance against the #1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. The bulk of the immediate credit will go to the defensive side of the ball and rightfully so, as they were able to stifle the powerful OU offense for the majority of the night with the exception of two drives. The performance was big time and did wonders for the perception of the unit on a national stage. With that being said, Florida State did have a bright spot or two on the offensive side of the ball that need not be overlooked.
WR Kenny Shaw: Most people watching Saturday night's game will remember the horrendous hit Shaw suffered in the second quarter, which is certainly understandable. Fortunately, Shaw is doing fine and is day-to-day despite lying motionless on the field for several minutes following the collision. Prior to that play, Shaw was poised to have the breakout game of his career. Throughout the first and second quarter, Kenny Shaw was finding his way open on nearly every passing play. He is often praised as being the best route runner on the roster and that was on full display early Saturday night. He recorded just two receptions for 22 yards on the night, but those numbers do not include a TD catch that was called back due to holding in the first quarter or what could have very well been a second TD catch had he not suffered the sandwich helmet to helmet hit referenced earlier. Altogether, Kenny Shaw proved why people believe his future at FSU is a bright one. Hopefully he will be ready to go again very soon.
WR Rashad Greene: The true freshman continues to deliver, despite the considerable hike in competition level we saw in week three. Greene caught his team leading fourth touchdown reception this weekend, this time for 56 yards. The play came on 3rd and 28 in the fourth quarter against what is still considered to be the best team in the nation. Greene's play is quite literally a small sample of what he should be able to accomplish in his college career, as he is still getting his feet wet and adjusting to the speed and nuances of the college game. Rashad Greene finished the night with three receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown. Through his three week career, he has accumulated 6 receptions for 196 yards and four touchdowns.
QB Clint Trickett: A lot has been made of the horrors that would befall FSU football in 2011 if starting QB EJ Manuel were to go down. To the credit of Clint Trickett, he has come in and proven that he can at least be a game manager. In the future, it would certainly be a lot better if Florida State is able to establish a running game to help, but much kudos have to be given to Trickett for coming into the game in a crucial situation and not flinching under pressure. There was a daunting task at hand and Coach Jimbo Fisher did not bother to go conservative once Trickett entered the game. He would finish the night with 134 yards passing on 7/15 completions and one interception. For perspective, his final two drives were most difficult because every down was an obvious passing down and Florida State had not established anything on the ground to threaten OU with regardless. For the most part, Trickett displayed solid command of the offense and understanding of what the defense presented to him. Not bad at all for a redshirt freshman QB.
S Lamarcus Joyner: If there was any doubt as to whether or not Lamarcus Joyner was up to the task of being the eraser that Jimbo Fisher deemed him during Fall Camp, they were--for lack of better words, erased on Saturday night. Joyner showed tremendous range and versatility against the Sooners, making plays against the pass in both man and zone coverage as well as playing well in run support and blitzing. Joyner created the first big defensive play of the game in the first quarter when he successfully reached QB Landry Jones on a blitz, which led to an interception by Nigel Bradham. Later in the game he would bait Jones into throwing his second interception of the day on a deep ball, going back deep to catch this one on his own. He also contributed 8 tackles with his performance.
DE Bjoern Werner: It is difficult to classify the sophomore's performance on Saturday night as anything less than an official coming out party. If the rest of the country was unaware of Florida State's German secret, that is no longer the case after 9/17. Werner piled up six total tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. What is most impressive about Bjoern is his play against the run. He simply understands and executes extremely well in that regard, which is often difficult to find in a college defensive end. His prowess here was on display big time in a goal line stand in the second quarter that would hold the Sooners to three instead of seven. In addition to that, he is far from a slouch in the pass rush department. Werner's continued high level of play will cause absolute nightmares for opposing offenses as they attempt to defend against both he and All-American Brandon Jenkins on the other end.
LB Christian Jones: Another sophomore from the 2010 class, Jones is quickly establishing himself as one of the best players on the field in achievement, after being heralded as such talent wise. Christian Jones notched 8 tackles, including one for loss on Saturday night. He was also influential on several QB pressures and played well in coverage, which is becoming more of a strong suit as he gains experience. As Jones continues to come into his own, the Seminoles will have a very valuable and complete player on their hands.
CB Mike Harris: This kid continues to deliver. Harris made numerous critical open field tackles and played wonderfully in coverage as usual. It is not often that Harris ends up on the bad end of a play due to his own mistakes. Typically, if there is success found on his side of the field it is seemingly only earned by way of borderline great or spectacular play by opposing offenses. Harris registered what would tie him for a team high 9 tackles (Nigel Bradham), to go along with a crucial 3rd down pass breakup. As is noted regularly, the presence of Harris to go along with Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes continue to make for one of, if not the best cornerback trios in all of college football.
This section is dedicated two other big players in Florida State's game on Saturday. The first of which is 2nd year defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. The struggles of year one, against Oklahoma especially, had many in wait for how things would look in 2011. There was justifiable reluctance and fear on the part of many that Florida State could even slow down the OU offense and due to excellent coaching and development the Seminoles proved that they could. The powerful OU offense was stifled for much of the night, despite an 80 yard touchdown drive to start the game. After giving up 484 yards to the Sooners in 2010, the Noles took the field at home and shaved that total down to 310 yards one year later. Landry Jones was held to just 199 yards passing, including two interceptions, which is a noticeable contrast to the 380 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions he put up in Norman. Stoops deserves much credit for his overall gameplan and ability to adjust on the fly throughout the night.
With as much credit that should be given to the Florida State staff and players, it would be foolish not to give just due to the crowd of 84,000+ fans that packed Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday night. An atmosphere that many described as the absolute loudest they have ever heard was provided by a rambunctious bunch of screaming Seminole faithful that made their presence and support known throughout the game. It was crystal clear that crowd noise played a significant role in causing communication problems for the Sooner offense and rattling the cages of a very talented and veteran team. That type of atmosphere is something I'm sure Coach Fisher and the team wouldn't mind seeing for every home game.
(Photo provided by accblitz.com)
Anyone you feel we left out? If you were giving out gameballs, who would you give them to and why? We invite you to share your thoughts with us in the comment section!
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