Florida State likes tempo: Which can cut both ways

florida stateFlorida State is speeding things under under first-year offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, and that could be an area of concern for #25 UVA heading into their weekend clash.

The only time the ‘Hoos have looked at all vulnerable on defense in its opening two games was the second quarter in the 30-14 Week 1 win at Pitt.

The Panthers, down 10-0 at the end of the first quarter, changed things up with an emphasis on going tempo, and scored touchdowns on two long second-quarter drives to that 10-0 deficit into a 14-13 halftime lead.

UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall has taken note of how FSU has used its own high-tempo offense to rack up 38 points per game in its opening two games, in which the Seminoles are averaging 463.5 yards total offense.

“There is a unique style when you go that fast on offense. There is a complementary toll that that takes on your entire team,” Mendenhall said in his weekly presser on Monday.

And that has been an issue for Florida State, where coach Willie Taggart got in trouble with the fan base for talking up how hydration was a problem for the Seminoles in their second-half collapse in Week 1 against Boise State, in a game FSU led 31-13 midway through the second quarter, only to see Boise State rally in the second half to win, 36-31.

The conditioning issue came to question again in the 45-44 overtime win over Louisiana-Monroe in Week 2. Florida State had a 24-7 halftime lead in that one, before surrendering 31 second-half points, and then needing a missed extra point in the OT to survive.

The flip side of going tempo on offense is that it can have an effect on the defense, Mendenhall noted, and the stats for FSU through two games bear him out on that point.

The ‘Noles are giving up 40 points and 520 yards total offense per game, and their opponents are averaging 93.5 plays per game, 17.5 more plays per game than Florida State has run.

“In terms of time of possession or the effect it might have on your defense, that sometimes works the other way just by volume of plays,” Mendenhall said. “I’m not going to say what’s not working because I think they’re capable and skilled, and, man, really talented defensively.

“But I’ve been in systems that require you play a lot of plays and systems that don’t require you to play a lot of plays. From a defensive coach’s perspective, less is more.”

Story by Chris Graham

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