5 questions with FSU beat writer Tom D’Angelo

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 06:  Head coach Paul Johnson of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets  and head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles share a laugh before the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game on December 6, 2014 at Bank of America Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson and FSU coach Jimbo Fisher shared a laugh before last year’s ACC Championship game in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

For this week’s Q&A with a beat writer covering Georgia Tech’s opponent, we turn to my Cox Media Group colleague Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post. His comment and insight on Florida State can be found in greater volume here and in the 140-charter format here.

Q: If the 2014 FSU team played the 2015 FSU team, what do you think would happen?

A: Last year’s team was loaded with experience although the defense definitely underachieved and had to be bailed out almost weekly by the offense. This year’s defense has been better than last year’s. FSU has 15 sacks, two fewer than entire 2014 season, and its rushing defense has been outstanding. But that defense has not faced an offense that was as good as FSU’s last year and it would have a tough time covering the deep ball. So I would say they stick to 2014 script: The 2015 team jumps out to about a 10-point lead before the 2014 team rallies and wins 24-13.

Q: What has gone into the Seminoles having just one turnover through six games? How has that happened?

A: Jimbo Fisher gives most of the credit to Everett Golson, although Dalvin Cook deserves some of that, too, considering he has touched the ball 121 times without fumbling. Cook had two costly second-half fumbles against Oregon in the semifinal game in the Rose Bowl. But Golson has steadily progressed and is becoming more and more comfortable in Fisher’s offense to the point where he has opened it up more – going downfield a lot more than early in the season – and still had not thrown a pick. And what makes this stat even more impressive is Golson has been working with a group of receivers who have been ordinary and a young offensive line that has at times looked overwhelmed.

Q: I’m guessing it’s not a group rife with weaknesses, but where are the Seminoles most vulnerable?

A: The biggest weakness has been the offensive line. The group start started the season had a total of five college starts, all by left tackle Rod Johnson. Since, they have used eight different starters in the five positions and appeared to make a lot a lot progress in the Miami game before taking a step back against Louisville last week. The biggest issue has been the pass blocking. Of Golson’s 12 incompletions last week about half of those were because he had to scramble and throw away the ball.

Q: On the other hand, what should Tech be most concerned about?

A: I believe Tech will have to put up a lot of points to beat FSU and that means winning against the Seminoles’ strength. Although Tech had success in the ACCCG running the ball, I believe FSU is much better up front and will be better equipped for the triple option. The defensive front has been very impressive, keying a group that is allowing 113.5 yards per game on the ground.

Q: At least until the Louisville game, I don’t know that there has been a convincing win by the Seminoles. (Correct me if I’m wrong) How convinced are you about this team’s ability to win the ACC?

A: You are right, although the first half of the Miami game was impressive but FSU then allowed the Hurricanes to get back into the game. I have always believed FSU would have a difficult time returning the ACCCG this season and I still do. To me, this is Clemson’s year. The game is in Death Valley and the Tigers have several scores to settle with FSU. Before the season started, I expected the Seminoles would lose two regular season games, although I thought one of those would be at Georgia Tech. But I stick with that pick and I now think road games at Clemson and Florida will be tough to overcome.


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