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What To Watch For: Florida State

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Florida State at Virginia Photo by Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

FLORIDA STATE’S INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE IS THE BEST LOUISVILLE HAS SEEN SO FAR

I talked at length before the Notre Dame game that their interior line had to replace a lot of talent and could be an area for UofL to exploit. The opposite is true this weekend. Marvin Wilson is probably the best defensive tackle Louisville will see this year and Corey Durden is a great compliment to him. Louisville’s new blocking scheme might actually handle larger players better but these guys don’t move like your typical 300-pounders.

Wilson is super quick and does such a great job getting off the ball. That could be a real issue for Louisville’s line because he has the ability to beat them to the spot. WKU had a few instances in the game last week where they were able to push a linemen back into the running back’s lane. This is more than just a test for the offensive line. It’ll be the opportunity to show that they’ve truly improved.

COULD JIM LEAVITT CHANGE THINGS FOR FSU’S DEFENSE

On Monday, Scott Satterfield was asked if he felt that the addition of Jim Leavitt to the FSU staff would have an impact. He responded by pointing out that he felt that they had been more “odd” up front than they were in their other two games. The fact that there was a noticeable change shows that Leavitt is at least helping with the game plan. That could cause some issues for Louisville’s offense because they won’t really know just how much say Leavitt will have on the plan.

One positive for Louisville is that their offense pretty much just does what it wants against any defense. They’re going to run outside zone and inside zone but maybe Leavitt’s changes lead to uncertainty and Jawon Pass or Malik Cunningham then might look to change plays. I also can’t help but think that the personnel changes that are rumored to be taking place have to be due to Leavitt coming on staff.

LOUISVILLE’S QUARTERBACK SITUATION WILL SHOW WHY IT’S A POSITIVE

Jawon Pass practicing on Tuesday leads me to believe that he will be available to play on Saturday. If Pass is back I think that we will finally get to see the quarterback situation that Scott Satterfield alluded to over the summer. Pass will be the starter with Malik Cunningham being a “package” player who comes in with specific plays to utilize his athleticism. To me, it seems like we haven’t seen this so far because both guys haven’t been completely healthy yet.

Louisville’s offense has played well this season but as the competition ramps up I think UofL will have to find different ways to create big plays. Honestly, even if they don’t need the help, it’s never a bad thing to have more big plays. This offense isn’t completely reliant on exceptional quarterback play so it’s not really as important who the starter is but I think that Pass being the guy allows for a more flexible offense with Malik coming in as a change of pace type of player.

FLORIDA STATE’S PENALTIES WILL FACTOR INTO THE FINAL SCORE

FSU is one of the most penalized teams in the country and it’s a fair argument that they lost the game to Virginia because of penalties alone. I’ve never seen a team play as undisciplined as they do and it doesn’t help that they don’t always play hard on either side of the ball. To me, it shows a lack of discipline that likely won’t get fixed any time soon.

Louisville opponents are only averaging 5.3 penalties per game so something has to give. We all know what it’s like to watch a highly penalized team and we all know that penalties don’t just go away. I also fully expect some trash talking in this game due to the Florida connections. I fully expect this game to have a handful of really dumb penalties by FSU that lead to a score or two for Louisville.

WILL FSU SLOW DOWN ON OFFENSE?

There’s been a lot of talk this week about Florida State being last in time of possession. That has led to a discussion of whether or not their offense is going to fast and wearing out the defense. The folks over at Tomahawk Nation took a deep look into the TOP discussion and had an interesting summation. I tend to agree mostly, but I do wonder if the defense has issues for a different reason.

The defense definitely allows too many plays to be run by the opposition but they also don’t really seem to play a lot of guys. For a team that has the talent they do you would expect to see more backups rotating in during these longer drives. FSU has been playing guys that continually get beat in coverage. They keep playing guys that pick up selfish penalties. It makes no sense for a team that has talent throughout their two-deep. My theory is that the defense is too complicated for younger guys to pick up but how do you not spend the summer simplifying things?

Long story short, FSU’s offense needs to keep scoring because their defense hasn’t shown the ability to actually stop anyone.