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Opponent Breakdown: Florida State Seminoles Offense

Mike Norvell and his turnover-prone offense have plenty to fix this week.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 05 Notre Dame at Florida State Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Mike Norvell took the Florida State job and the Seminoles fanbase had high hopes for the high-powered offensive system that he won with at Memphis. That hasn’t been the case so far as Florida State has more turnovers than touchdowns in 2021 and the offense still can’t utilize the talent they have at their skilled positions.

FSU has been underwhelming at Quarterback for the better part of a decade now but they may be in the worst position they’ve been in during that stretch. Jordan Travis is still extremely inconsistent while McKenzie Milton doesn’t have the mobility or arm strength he once had. Norvell is stuck in a situation where he has to play the lesser of two evils in a sense and it’s not working out so far.

Milton is a great story with his return from a catastrophic knee injury that I watched live and will never forget. However, he just isn’t the guy he was before the injury. Having a bulky brace on your plant leg makes it pretty hard to throw the football effectively as a Quarterback. Milton had to put everything he had into a throw last week just to throw the ball about 47 yards down the field. To me, it looked like that was the furthest he was going to get it down the field. That leads to limitations from a play-calling standpoint and that seems to be a big part of the issue for the Seminoles when he’s in the game.

The Quarterback that gives them the best chance to win is probably Jordan Travis. He uses his legs well which is necessary with the issues the Offensive Line has with blocking just about anyone. Travis also has the arm strength to push the ball down the field and throw the deep ball to his speedy receivers. The issue of course is that Travis can complete less than half of his passes in one game and then come back and be nearly perfect. You never know what you’re going to get. But he can extend plays and he can break off a big run so he adds a dimension to the offense that all teams like having.

After watching some games and looking over the stats, it’s really surprising to me that FSU doesn’t run the ball with their Running Backs more. Joshua Corbin and Treshuan Ward are averaging 7.2 yards per carry on the season and they also combine for about 150 yards per game. Both backs have good size and speed and FSU’s offense likes to work them on the edges to get them out in the open. I have also been impressed with Corbin’s patience at times. He has let blocks develop for him and then made people miss in the open field. These guys could make a big impact if Norvell sticks with the run.

FSU’s starters at Wide Receiver have been very underwhelming so far this season. The Noles have a veteran group of players but drops and lack of separation have stood out to me. Keyshawn Helton is the top option in the slot while Ontaria Wilson and Andrew Parchment are the starters on the outside. Wilson is coming off a game where he scored on a 60-yard touchdown on a deep go route. Helton has been pretty good in space but hasn’t been able to make a big play yet.

The backups at Wide Receiver have some nice upside. Malik McClain and Darion Williamson have shown some flashes early on and I think they could both be factors in the game this weekend. Cam McDonald and Jordan Wilson are also big targets at Tight End. They split both of them outside pretty regularly. Norvell also puts his Tailbacks out wide a good amount. Ja’Khi Douglass and Lawrance Toafili both see the field a lot. Douglass has a 65-yard touchdown catch while Toafili is the short-yardage back with 18 carries so far.

The oft-talked-about Florida State Offensive Line is still very inconsistent and still a major issue for how FSU’s offense plays as a whole. They have blocked the run very well from what I’ve seen and they do a good job blocking both inside runs and the outside runs with pulling guards and whatnot. This is one of the reasons I’ve been surprised that Norvell hasn’t just become a run-heavy offense. When it comes to pass blocking, I would say the FSU line is about as bad as it’s been for the last handful of years. This is where UofL has to take advantage. I could also see them having some success against those run plays with pullers. UofL could shoot gaps and disrupt things.