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Five Plays: Florida State Seminoles

Florida State v Louisville Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

For the last few years I’ve done film breakdowns after Louisville games to give an idea of how I feel Louisville played on some specific plays throughout the game. While I still plan on trying to continue that series, one thing I think I can commit to is a new series where I highlight five plays that factor into the outcome of the game.

If this were a week ago, I’d be posting Malik’s long touchdown run and four defensive plays that led to ten straight stops from the second quarter on. But, that didn’t happen this past week. This past week, Louisville blew a lead after FSU lost their best player on both sides of the ball.

So, below are Five Plays (trademark pending) that led to a Louisville loss.

This was one of the few plays last week that I felt was a bad call on the defensive side of the ball. The alignment makes this play DOA before the ball is even snapped. FSU has trips to the field side of the play and UofL ends up with 5 on 3 because they have KJ Cloyd walk up to the edge to the field side and Kenderick Duncan is playing over top as the deep safety and he rotates to the field. This leaves six defenders to defend......six blockers. They block it up well and their running back is off to the races.

This has been an issue for four years now as teams that line up in trips tend to have a lot of success running the ball. Miami put up nearly 100 points in two years by exploiting this issue. This play is on coaching and they can’t allow teams to just identify glaring issues on film and then take advantage.

UofL turned the ball over on this possession but this is the play that put them in a position to even turn it over in the first place. Malik has to throw this ball right off the play fake and put it in the back of the end zone. Francis Sherman is open and he’s also in a position where you will likely get a pass interference call if the defense recovers. Instead, Malik pumps and then gets chased down by the defender who is spying him.

This is “hero ball” from Malik and while he was let down by his receivers at times in this game, he had no reason to not trust the call and the execution here. Sherman gets off the line clean and he is open on the first read. Instead, Malik pulls it down and looks to make a play with his legs. This puts them 2nd in 16 or 17 and you’re not likely getting a touchdown in that situation. The turnover is what looks like the issue but they could have scored before the turnover even happened.

UofL’s biggest issue is the inability to extend a lead and this play is a perfect example. They’re a couple of first downs away from a field goal attempt and they have enough time to score a touchdown. Instead, they turn the ball over again and end their threat to score.

I have been harping on this program’s inability to value the football for years but it seemed like they had moved past this issue last season. Unfortunately, they’re on pace to turn the ball over more than any year in recent history. This is how you lose games you should win.

UofL forced a 3rd and 14 on this drive but Yasir Abdullah jumped offsides and then they allowed a first down run to the quarterback because they didn’t contain. But this play served as a good example of how they gave up two of their touchdowns in the second half.

This is just poor tackling because of timid play. Duncan is an extra defender in the box and he ends up being the unblocked player as UofL has 8 on 7. Instead of setting the edge here and forcing the runner inside or just making the tackle, he just shuffles his feet until he ends up being the deepest defender in the box. Then he just doesn’t fire when it’s time to get downhill and meet the runner. He ends up just letting the running back run past him.

The call here is perfectly fine as the defense has an unblocked player to the play side. They just don’t execute. And keep in mind that any of the other seven players in the box could beat a block here and make a play as well.

This play starts with Kenderick Duncan running to the edge to stop the running back and seconds later he is not moving at all. I watched every App State game available at the time of the Scott Satterfield hire and, at the time, I posted clips of their secondary players flying up the field and cutting down runners on the edge. It was a feature of the defense that excited me because that’s how good defenses defend the run. It’s all in throughout the defense and guys play fast and trust that they can go for the tackle in space.

We just have not seen that from this defense this year or really any year and I’m losing the hope that it will change. They haven’t always had the guys but Duncan is a very veteran player with NFL potential and he just doesn’t run through this tackle as he should. Go full speed at the runner and at the very worst you make him stop and either change direction or avoid the tackle. Then your teammates can come in and clean up. To not even put a hand on him isn’t acceptable. Hopefully the film session this week will get these guys to step their game up.