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Florida State Film Review: Second Quarter

Louisville’s defense held serve and the offense started to show some signs of life.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville found a bit of success late in the second quarter. There were still some issues on defense but they kept the scoreboard clean and the offense move the ball enough to keep the defense on the sideline.


This is a nice coverage sack for Louisville. James Blackman looks to get the ball down the field out of a trips formation but Louisville takes away all three levels. Dorian Etheridge is the key guy here as you can see him turn and run with the inside receiver. He takes away what would be the open man on a crossing route. Rodjay Burns plays his underneath zone to take away the outside receiver. And you can see that Russ Yeast and Chandler Jones get depth to take away the middle receiver. That leaves Blackman with nowwhere to go with the ball.

C.J. Avery plays this very well as the guy responsible for the running back. When Cam Akers stays in to block, Avery takes his time to find a spot to get to the quarterback. It was nice to see him be patient because if he just takes off, you can see that there is a huge hole for Blackman to run through. His patience pays off and he gets a huge hit on the QB.


I wrote about this defensive call before the season in the “run fits” section of this post. The line slants left and then the two middle linebackers loop over to fill the void they leave. This play makes it kind of obvious that things aren’t as crisp as they were at App State. That’s to be expected but it’s worth noting.

Nick Okeke should be further up the field so that he doesn’t get turned inside like he does here. If Avery either doesn’t get to Cam Akers or if Akers bounces this left before Avery gets to him, he is easily breaking contain. At App, you’d see the contain guy get way up field to pull that pulling guard with him and force the runner directly into the two middle linebackers. You can see how it should look with Malik Clark on the opposite side of the play. This was a good opportunity to see how the execution can be better.


I just loved everything about this play and wanted to post it. Bryan Brown has this dime package that he’s using in obvious passing situations and the players love it. G.G. Robinson and Jared Goldwire lit up last week when they were asked about during media availability. I’m also a fan because you can see how he brings pressure from different angles here and causes some havoc.

It’s really great to see G.G. sniff this out and make the effort to disrupt the receiver even though he doesn’t make the tackle. Even better, Yasir Abdullah comes flying down the field after being at the point of the throw to bring the runner down. This is the type of effort that we didn’t see and you get this effort when guys are rotating and staying fresh.


This is another blown coverage but this was the first one that seemed to be very obvious. Everyone is in man coverage here with Isaiah Hayes playing as a single high safety. Abdullah is lined up over the slot receiver to the top of the screen but then he blitzes. Just from a pure numbers standpoint, he’s the guy that blew the coverage. I don’t think that Bryan Brown is beyong playing “zero” coverage and Hayes being in man coverage in the slot here but that seems a little suspect with Abdullah blitzing from so far away.

I do believe that Adbuallah was looking over at the sideline right before the snap and Hayes headed to the bench after this. So, it’s a bit hard to know just who was in the wrong but I think they would have more guys up at the line to try to make Blackman uncomfortable and you can see that he is the opposite of that.


I think that Louisville’s defense is still playing a bit timid. You see it outside with the corners mostly but right here you see Khane Pass kind of tip-toe towards the play. He starts walking up to the line and then he picks up speed. Then he kind of shuffles his feet once he gets to his gap. He needs to hit that gap as hard as a running back would. Akers just side steps him and gets outside.

As for him being able to get outside, Nick Okeke needs to get up the field and contain the play. On the snap he takes a step inside when he should be outside and he doesn’t attack the play. That allows him to be blocked and Akers has a large amount of space to get the first down.


I really liked to see this play for two specific reasons. First, the defense forces a throw into a tight window. Russ Yeast bails on the snap and gets down the middle of the field. That makes this throw much harder because you can’t miss inside because of Yeast and you can’t miss outside because Cornelius Sturghill is coming over from his outside zone. A big part of playing defense is just making things harder on the offense. We saw a defense last year (And in the first quarter of this game) that made it very easy on the offense. Good to see them make it tough.

The second thing I liked on this play is Sturghill reading the routes and the quarterback to close on this and separate the man from the ball. This is a touchdown if he tries to play the ball or if he decides to make a business decision and not make the hit here. Instead, he plays through the man and forces him to make a very tough catch which he can’t do.


Louisville just couldn’t run the ball in the first half and this play is a good example why. Tyler Haycraft isn’t able to turn his guy outside and he ends up directly in the hole Javian Hawkins tries to run through. Robbie Bell doesn’t really help much on his double team with T.J. McCoy and he then misses his block off of the scrape to the second level. McCoy gets stoned by Marvin Wilson and can’t move him anywhere. Caleb Chandler gets tossed by Robert Cooper in the middle of the play.

This offensive line has played well this year but they hadn’t gone up against a group of guys like FSU has. The key with this running scheme is firing off the ball and these guys did that from the first play of the game. The issue was that FSU did the same thing on defense and these bigger players who also happen to be more athletic took it to them.


It took Scott Satterfield less than four games to call his first fake punt and he and Stu Holt absolutely killed it. Louisville has been lining up in all kinds of different formations on punts with multiple guys on one side of the formation, guys spread out, and even guys in motion. Because of that, FSU can’t expect anything out of the ordinary because everything is out of the ordinary.

Kudos to Avery for burying his block and to Tobias Little for running his guy all the way past the first down line. You can’t execute this much better.


Louisville goes after a big play on first down again and they inserted Justin Marshall for the play. The play action as well as the crossing route by Tutu Atwell help to keep the safety in the middle of the field. Malik Cunningham gets a nice pocket to throw from, also.

Scott Satterfield was asked about Marshall two weeks ago after he made two very nice catches against EKU. One thing he pointed out is that they’re still working with him on how to line up. That might have been an issue here. Marshall is on the numbers but he should maybe be inside the numbers so that he has more space to run his route. He won’t likely be able to stack this route and get ahead of the faster corner so he has to find a way to create more space for Malik to deliver the ball. A tighter split may have helped that.

Malik also could have maybe put some more loft on this ball to allow Marshall the chance to create a true jump ball situation.


A nice play design here where they fake outside zone to the left but sneak Jordan Davis through the defense on a throwback wheel. The entire defense bites on this outside of Kyle Meyers at safety. Malik puts this ball up to give his bigger target a chance to make a play for him and Davis delivers.


I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is what a perfect play looks like. The line gives Malik a completely clean pocket. Justin Marshall runs his route perfectly so that the corner covering him can’t sink back and take away this throw. Tutu drives his route slightly inside and then uses his fake inside to gain speed into his break. And then you have an absolutely perfect throw from Malik.

I rewatch the game up until this point wondering when someone would make a play for this team. When they needed just one play, the entire offense came through to create this. Getting something positive going into halftime was huge but it also helped this team know that they could get things going in the second half.