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Florida State Film Review: First Quarter

Louisville played the best quarter of football they have all season.

Florida State v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Louisville came out on fire against FSU on the offensive side of the ball on Saturday. They found success with deep throws, intermediate throws, and some short throws to the tight end. They also stayed with their running game even though it started off slow. The defense had some issues on their second drive but they did a good job of containing a FSU run game that showed some signs of life.


I wanted to include this play because it shows how UofL adjusted after it. Louisville really wanted to run the ball off of the edges and it showed all day. On the first play of the game you can see that DeCalon Brooks (#28) adjusts to the motion of Tutu Atwell and he’s right in the path of the run. From this play on, they didn’t run this play in this way again. They instead just ran a normal sweep play without the motion. It was really good to see them adjust this on the fly because they obviously thought this specific play would work well.


Bobby Petrino definitely saw a weakness in FSU’s coverage in the middle of the field when he prepped for this game. Louisville’s offense went to this well all game long and they started off with a very good throw and catch on this play. Dez Fitzpatrick does a very good job turning this route across the field a bit to work away from the safety in the middle of the field. Little things matter and Dez excels at the little things.


I’m going to try my hardest not to end up with 40 clips and 2,000 words (Ed note: This post ended up being 2,074 words) but I think this play was probably of interest to a lot of people when it happened.

I really like the play design because it has coverage identifiers that also work as outlet options. The outside receivers just run “stop” routes that will tell the quarterback if they’re looking at man coverage or zone. If it’s zone, you have the option to just get it to those guys and get some yards. They’re obviously in man here and Pass looks down field.

It looks like what happens here is that Jaylen Smith should be taking this route outside to the numbers. If you look at Tutu Atwell at the top of the screen, he runs his route outside and Dez is working down the middle of the field. Jaylen running inside doesn’t really make much sense from a design standpoint because he would end up right where Dez is, which is just what happens. This was one of those missed opportunities that didn’t mean too much, but it would have created great momentum.


Two views are needed to show what I saw on this play. First it stands out to me that you don’t see any communication between the offensive linemen. The only player up front that even seems to recognize the odd formation fro FSU is Mekhi Becton and he’s pointing it out to Jawon Pass. Nathan Scheler never even picks his head up. So, it’s fair to wonder if these guys are even communicating with each other. You would normally see more pointing or at least you be able to see guys with their heads up and their heads bobbing because they’re talking. They’re all just in their stance and none of the normal indicators are there.

The lack of communication leads to three guys on the line not blocking anyone. Linwood Foy steps outside even though there is only one defender outside. Cole Bentley runs into Scheler, which is the most obvious sign they weren’t talking before the play started. This is the stuff that flat out shouldn’t happen and it definitely shouldn’t happen this deep into the season.


Hassan Hall had a strong game for Louisville running the football and this play is the full display of what he brings to the table. Lukayus McNeil gets absolutely whipped here (He’s at LT) by former 5-star Marvin Wilson (#21). Wilson gets immediate penetration but Hall is able to use his speed to veer off path to the left and run by him. He then blows by Kyle Meyers (#14) and breaks contain. The refs call him out of bounds here but he isn’t and I think he would have scored if the whistle didn’t blow.

This is the type of play that will likely jump out when the coaches watch film because it shows that he can overcome the deficiencies with the offensive line.


I really loved to see this from Jawon Pass. He threw a really bad interception against Virginia because he didn’t see a huge running lane in front of him. On this play he goes through his options to his right and doesn’t see what he likes. He quickly decides to tuck it and trust what he has seen and take off to his left. He does it without looking, which shows that he is seeing things well. From there it’s just him being an athlete.


This play gives us a good look at something that worries me about the Georgia Tech game. Teams have found success on wide run plays because UofL has some issues with overall team speed. They also have issues with getting off of blocks. Those two things combine here to allow a ten yard run.

As this play gets to the wide side of the formation, you can see that P.J. Blue engages with Cam Akers (#3). That ends up cutting off what looks to be a good angle from Dee Smith. Smith can’t get to the runner because Blue is in that path so he then has to cut his angle up the field and the runner picks up about 10 yards.

Ideally, you would like to see Blue work to get outside and “set the edge”. That would have forced the runner back inside and Smith would be there to make the tackle either behind the line of scrimmage or a yard or two past it. Blue has to get off of this block and get outside. Instead he gets into a chicken fight and the runner breaks contain.


This is the type of play from a defensive standpoint that makes me wish I had hair so that I can pull it out. FSU had been running the ball nonstop and hadn’t shown the willingness or the need to pass it. So, on this short yardage play you would expect UofL to balance out the alignment.

What I mean by that is that Louisville should have a second level defender next to P.J. Blue so that there are equal numbers on both sides of the ball. Instead, Dorian Etheridge is lined up two yards behind the first down line and he ends up in either man coverage or a short zone. So, when FSU runs this play up the middle and the defensive line gets blown off the ball (An entirely different issue), there is no one on the back side to fill the gap. The entire play slants to the strong side but Nick Okeke and Rodjay Burns are well outside of the gap Cam Akers runs through.

It would have made much more sense to me to walk Etheridge up and let him play the run and have Burns play in coverage on the outside. There’s a safety deep to help. This is just like the long pass play against Virginia last week. Bad alignment that just gives the successful play to the offense.


This was the only good drive FSU had in the first half so there are some things that I wanted to point out that led to the touchdown.

Watch Khane Pass at the bottom left of the screen and watch Etheridge right across from their left guard/tackle. There’s still confusion when the ball is snapped and this is the fifth game of the season. The motion throws them off and Pass ends up coming up to cover the slot receiver while Etheridge looks like he just freelances because he doesn’t really know what to do. Based on what everyone else does on the play, it looks like Pass should be playing over top as a safety on the left hash with Etheridge taking the slot guy.

I’m coming to that conclusion because Dee Smith turns his hips outside and plays the deep man on his side of the field. This coverage would have left Rodjay Burns by himself and he plays his man as if he should have help inside. He doesn’t.


I call this a “Tecmo Bowl”. Do you remember on the old video game when you called the perfect play against the offense and everyone blitzed and you couldn’t beat it with your offense. That’s pretty much this play in reverse. FSU has a really good play design here because they motion the running back out to identify man coverage. When the linebacker follows the running back, it vacates the middle of the field because they now know it’s a blitz. The one safety high look ensures that. When the play starts, the two linebackers rush and now they have their fast guy in space. Their linemen get down field to make their blocks and it’s an easy touchdown.

Sometimes the other team just catches you in a bad spot. I think we all wanted a more aggressive defense and that’s what we got. Sometimes the counter play that get’s called works for the offense.


I really liked this play call by Bobby Petrino. He has pointed out a few times that he needed to find ways to create explosive passing plays and he decided to move the line for the first time that I can remember this season. I also love that Pass chose the deeper route here when he had the short guy open. That aggression is what they need and he trusted his top receiver to make this play.

Also of note. What a damn throw. He couldn’t have put this in a better spot.


No one has been clamoring more for added creativity with the offense than me. I really liked this play call and it’s been in the playbook for a while. They run a double screen with the slot receiver coming inside on a tunnel. The goal is to draw the front side guys out to the running back while walling off the pursuit on the back side.

You can see the FSU defenders on the bottom of the screen run to the RB screen but if you look at #23 on the far right of the screen, he drops into his zone in the middle of the field. He ends up being the only guy that would have stopped this play if it had gone to plan.

Brian Burns (#99) gets blocked a little too well by Mekhi Becton (Lined up at LT to start the play). So, when the ball is thrown, Burns happens to be right in the path of the play. You can see that if he wasn’t there that Tutu would have the ball in space with just the safety to beat. Plays don’t always work out the way you want, but it’s always good when you can see how they would work.

UOFL BALL, 2nd and 10

This is a very well blocked play by the right side of the line. They end up getting a triple team on the defensive tackle here and their push ends up working out well because they push the tackle back into Dontavious Jackson (#5). He gets tripped up a bit and it’s just as good as one of the guys climbing and getting a block on him. Trey Smith does well here to angle towards the pylon and gain a few more yards.

Also, if you scroll back up to the first play of the game,this is the adjustment they made. They wanted to work the edges but they needed some extra blocking to kick out the edge defender. It’s really nice to see this adjustment on the fly.