Reckless Abandon

by Danielle Kelley
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Image Credit The News Star

Patience is a virtue, no doubt about it.  That has proven true with Florida State football for decades. I’ve only witnessed three head coaches in my lifetime.  That is something that sets us apart from most other programs. Last year, after the first bowl-less and sub-.500 season in decades, Florida State made changes. They hired a new offensive coordinator, new offensive line coach, new wide receivers coach, and they have a new quarterback.

They recruited well enough to plug holes on the 2019 class, but did not hit a home run with the class. The Seminoles did move to a 3-4 defense. This move would theoretically establish the pass rush and set the edge with the personnel available. Spoiler alert: that’s not what happened.

You need a strong linebacker corps to pull off a 3-4, and right now, Florida State doesn’t have it. The issues start with upperclassman leadership. Senior Dontavious Jackson is setting a horrible standard, with unnecessary personal fouls and poor play. On the first play from scrimmage against Boise, the Broncos lined up in a seven-man front – a clear sign of a run. Instead of run fitting, the linebacker cuts to the outside and Boise State busts through. This sight was repeated even in the game against ULM.

So what do we do?

Prior to 2018, 1976 was Florida State’s last losing season. That year, Coach Bowden benched poor-performing players in favor of freshmen when things got bad. That became a turning point in the season and set a standard of competition that would last well into the 2000’s. Most of us knew all about our cultural issues last year, but the Noles lacked the depth to bench those who needed to ride the pine. This year we do – Kalen Deloach and Jaleel McRae to name a few.  

Excuses for defense have run out. Hydration issues and second-half penalties are an issue are beyond the scope of the problem. You either buy in or not, be coachable or not; else, the coaches will pay for it with their jobs. As any coach will tell you, “You’re either allowing it or you’re coaching it.”

During a recent talk with Mickey Andrews, he talked about his practices with Bear Bryant – he didn’t get breaks, much less water.  This is obviously not ethical, but when he coached at Florida State players did mat drills, which taught accountability and team spirit. When we spoke to Coach Andrews, we talked to him about playing with “Reckless Abandon” and “Total Disregard for Personal Safety.” James told Coach, “If you’re going to play a violent sport, you probably need to play it that way.” Coach Andrews said in response, “Well, you do have pads on.” If the Noles cannot play with the “Reckless Abandon” of the dynasty years,  we as fans hav some long years ahead.  

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