Florida’s offense was ticking vs. FSU so this game should be fun to breakdown, at least in the first half. So let’s start.
The first drive of the game featured the same formation on the first three plays, an empty formation with three receivers to one side. This third-down call is a two-receiver route, you have Perine on the bubble screen out wide with three receivers blocking and a slant by Jefferson, which is where the ball goes here.
I can’t tell who exactly this slot WR is here but I want to say it’s Swain? It doesn’t matter, Trask went to the bottom to Grimes, and it fell incomplete, thankfully this miss by Trask did not bite Florida in terms of missed points.
Florida runs a lot of screens, it is their substitution for having no reliable run game. Here Mullen dials up a jailbreak screen to Swain that goes for an easy score. You get two offensive linemen on smaller defenders to make the blocking scheme easier.
This next play I wanted to feature was great from Emory Jones. This is veteran like in terms of him going through his progression and moving the defense with his eyes.
His progression is left to right, and he moves three defenders to the left once he looks that way.
Not Emory comes back to his right and looks at Pitts to see what his matchup is like, but Pitts is completely blanketed here so there is no option here and right now the offensive line is holding up well. And all three defenders from the first screen move to their right with Emorys eyes.
Now he comes back to the left, the deepest defender, right near the yellow circle, moves a bit too far to his right to give help on Pitts, my guess is he thought Emory would throw there, but he makes a mistake with how aggressive he is going to Pitts and it opens up the middle of the field and Emory fires one into Cleveland.
Now we see it in action.
If Trask will hold off Emory this offseason, he will have to work on going through his progressions. I’m not in the headset, so I will not pretend to know whether the staff told Trask to take this shot into the end zone regardless of coverage, but Hammond is wide open in the middle of the field and a properly played ball over the middle of the field defender nets in an easy completion, even the corner on Hammond (off screen) is five yards behind Hammond, so he’s open. But again, this is minor because Florida went on to score a touchdown on this drive so Trask missing Hammond here didn’t hurt the offense.
This is just awful tackling from FSU. They have Toney stopped on two different occasions but failed to wrap him up. I’m not taking anything away from Toney, because he is a gadget RB (he’s not used as a traditional WR at all) that if you miss tackles on, will do this to you, but if FSU just tackles him, this is a three or four-yard gain at the most.
Florida scores quickly on this drive and I would like to thank FSU for deciding to take this drive off from showing basic tackling fundamentals. I wanted to point out on this GIF a couple of things, first, Forsythe is in at RT, Gouraige is in at LT, White is in at RG, Krull is matched up on a pass rusher, Perine does a good job staying in to help Krull, if Perine released into a passing route, I’m not sure if Trask can get this throw off. Swain has enough speed to where he makes that 2nd missed tackle a bit more understandable, but this play doesn’t succeed if that first tackle is made.
The more I watch Trask, the more I’m coming off my prediction that he will easily be the starter in week 1 of 2020. I’m not knocking him at all, but he gets locked onto guys and doesn’t go through his progressions very well. This is the third play I spotted so far that he took a deep shot with someone else open. The receiver I circled has no defender near him and no defender over him off-screen. If Trask moves off his initial read and throws to his outside shoulder then this results in a big gain.
This touchdown pass from Trask is odd for me. Here is the play, then I will explain.
I’m not exactly sure what route Jefferson is running. He puts his hands up early in the route, then Trask throws it into the back of the end zone. The ball placement looks fine but I can’t tell if this is a hail mary or of Van’s route was supposed to take him to that spot. I feel like this is a bit of backyard ball, not exactly how Mullen drew it up. But it worked, so I’m not complaining, just trying to figure what I’m looking at.
The second half is one I was looking forward to because I wanted to see if Mullen actually took his foot off the gas, as many people assumed he did (why didn’t Florida beat FSU by 40 is a common question I see online). This first play stretches FSU thin on defense, but Trask locks in on Jefferson (drag route from the solo WR at the bottom of the screen) and never once takes his eyes off of Van.
At this point, Pitts comes open there is no one near him that can make a play on a pass as the closest defender to him has his momentum taking him towards Jefferson.
Florida scores a touchdown on their first possession out of halftime, so far I’m not seeing any difference in the aggression or play-calling from Mullen. On this play Emory takes a little step forward to show run, comes off his initial read and moves to the right and targets Jefferson on the slant. Either that run fake or Emory’s eyes moved the linebacker over just enough to really open up the passing lane to Jefferson.
Mullen calls a double pass here that works, further providing more evidence that Mullen didn’t come out of halftime with the idea of taking it easy on FSU, this is close to being a touchdown pass for Toney, and frankly, Lang should have caught this ball.
Florida has run this tunnel screen for a TD on one or two other occasions this season, but they just don’t execute it well here. The red is the blocking scheme that occurs; the yellow is what I think should have happened. And maybe this play fails regardless of what I think because it’s two wide receivers blocking three defensive backs, but I’ve never seen this play fail this badly this season.
Florida’s offense did nothing of significance outside of this next play I show you, so this will be the end of the highlights. ANd I wouldn’t call this highlight significant, only regarding how impressed I am with Ethan White again. This play doesn’t result in a first down, but look at how quickly White gets upfield looking for a block. He is the largest man on the roster and he beat Forsythe downfield. If he continues to progress, he will be fantastic.
This game had a different development than the last month of games for Florida, which usually resulted in a slow first half start and the offense finding itself in the 3rd quarter. But I never got the sense that Florida pulled back in the second half, instead of going up 40-17, a catch on the double pass from Toney to Lang makes it a 44-17 game. On 4th and 5 from deep inside their own territory, Florida then tried to sneak a fake punt on FSU, not exactly what I would call conservative coaching.
The only two areas I could see being called differently in a closer game would be Florida going for it on 4th and goal from the 3-yard line at the start of the 4th quarter and going for it on 4th and 2 from Florida’s own 35-yard line with 5:42 left in the 4th quarter. But that’s it. Otherwise, a better executed 2nd half and Florida definitely gets to 44 points, other than that, you’re playing a wild “what if” game, but FSU played better defense in the second half and it took Florida longer to get into the red zone, so in final on this topic? I don’t think Florida would have hit 50 points without a much better executed half.
The offensive line had a clean game in pass protection, giving up zero sacks and very few QB hurries. The staff also moved Gouraige and Forsythe around while giving Delance the least amount of snaps he had received on the year. I’m not sure why exactly, but I imagine with more bodies available next year at OL (guys coming off redshirt) they want to see who can play where. Forsythe was comfortable at RT and Delance once again was the worst linemen in pass protection when he played. Gouraige looked comfortable at LT, so it will be interesting to watch this development in the off-season because it looks like the staff is finally comfortable with the idea of Delance just not being the guy at RT any longer.
In terms of run blocking, once again the line was terrible. The best run of the day was the first run by Perine that went for 10 yards. Florida only ran for 69 yards on 24 carries but running backs ran the ball 11 times for 24 yards, Emory Jones led all rushers with 33 yards on 7 carries. So there was no progress in the run game vs. the 64th ranked rushing defense. To dig a little deeper into this, the yards before contact average for each runner?
Finishing up with the QB spot, I thought Trask played ok. I highlighted three plays that I thought he made the wrong read on. 16 of his 30 completions came behind the line of scrimmage (14.87% air yards, which is extremely low), 11 completions came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and 3 for 9 (1 TD) on passes 11 yards or longer. Per SecStatCat Trask threw 12 inaccurate balls, 5 of which were uncatchable, which is a bit of a concern when so many passes were short. Florida totaled 128 yards through screens, the next closest concept in terms of yards that Florida totaled was 48 yards through slants, mostly to Van Jefferson.
I’m focusing on these numbers because coming into this game I’ve been of the opinion that Trask easily has the starting spot locked down next year, and while I will dig a lot deeper into his season sometime after the bowl game, the more I look into his numbers, and seeing some of the baby steps that Jones has made? The more I think this is going to be one hell of a race between Trask and Emory in camp.