It was windy. It didn’t count. It didn’t even have real scoring.
Still, I have to admit, I was hoping and expecting more from the Florida State offense on Saturday afternoon. Especially the passing offence.
But nothing of note happened. Is that cause for concern? I mean, I guess it depends on how much stock you put into spring games. I don’t put a ton into them, but I also don’t think they’re meaningless.
Especially when you have one part of your offense — passing — that has essentially hamstrung you in recent years and made it very hard to win a whole lot of football games.
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So, I came into Saturday hoping to see those transfer receivers and Jordan Travis, as well as backup Tate Rodemaker, make some plays through the air. Be able to hit big plays without having to depend on the running game or the athleticism of the quarterback.
Well, that didn’t happen.
Not to make excuses, but part of that likely had to do with the wind. It was whipping around Doak Campbell Stadium pretty fiercely.
And part of that had to do with the sack rules in a game like this, in which the refs blow a play dead if a defender is anywhere near the quarterback — even if it’s a pinky on the shoulder pad as he’s sprinting past and has no chance to actually make a tackle. The play is still blown dead.
“It was frustrating at times for Jordan with the quick whistle,” FSU head coach Mike Norvell said.
Travis lost a first-down completion on a play like that, and Rodemaker lost a 5-yard TD pass to Keyshawn Helton a similar play.
So, both of those were factors in the lack of big plays.
But so were some errant throws and drops.
Rodemaker, who I was really hoping would show all of you what he’s shown all of us this spring, instead threw an interception on his very first pass — Sam McCall intercepted him in the end zone during goal-line drills.
Travis and Duffy, as if to not make him feel bad, threw picks as well during the drill. That wasn’t a great way to start the festivities for the offense, with three interceptions by three different quarterbacks in a situational drill. But hey, at least they were throwing them to teammates!
“The pass game was hit and miss,” Norvell said. “All in all it’s been a great spring in our development there. … Tonight wasn’t the best night of what we’ve done this spring, but there’s a lot of factors that go into it.”
Rodemaker did have probably the best pass of the day during the final portion of the spring game (the one with celebrity coaches), where he rolled to his right and found Kentron Poitier on a perfect 11-yard strike in the end zone.
Rodemaker finished 5 of 11 for 64 yards.
As for Travis? He was fine. Nothing spectacular. Completed 7 of 13 passes for 71 yards. And the offense as a whole managed to convert just 4 of 18 attempts on third down. So, you know, not great. Not what you hoped to see.
But it was a spring game. You’re not playing LSU tomorrow. And you had a lot of mixing and matching going on up front and out wide.
As for guys who stood out?
Obviously, defensive end Jared Verse. He was credited with two sacks and another quarterback hurry. He also blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt that would have been returned for a 55-yard touchdown by Greedy Vance in a real game.
On offense, the transfer that opened the most eyes was running back Trey Benson. The former Oregon Duck had 77 yards on seven carries. He showed off his power and his speed in those seven carries, and he also had a really impressive shake of a defender in the backfield to avoid a negative play and turn it into a positive one.
He looked like the real deal.
And then lastly, another transfer from Oregon, Mycah Pittman.
It’s not that he had a big game receiving. Because, frankly, no one did.
But there was a play in the second quarter where he showed a bit of what we’ve been seeing for the last month. He took a sweep around left end from the 4-yard line, cut back inside and then essentially bullied his way — through multiple tacklers — into the end zone for a touchdown.
That competitiveness, that physicality, that mindset, is what’s been missing a lot in that wide receiver room. It was just one play. And it was a run. Not a catch. But man, it was an illustration of a kid that wouldn’t be denied, and who more than anything else wants to go make a play.
Maybe he’ll make a lot of them this year. He certainly believes he will.
All in all, I thought the defense won the day. I think this defense has a chance to be much improved. Truly. It might end up being a good unit.
As for the offence? After essentially a whole spring and a Garnet & Gold game? I’m still not sure.
Contact senior writer Corey Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @Corey_Clark on Twitter.
Talk about this story with other Florida State football fans in the Tribal Council