Georgia Tech is in year two under Geoff Collins, a rebuild most expected to last years, as the program makes a radical departure from years in Paul Johnson’s option system. The Yellow Jackets were picked to finish last in the ACC this season. Florida State football’s turnaround under new head coach Mike Norvell was expected to be less arduous, even with years of struggles dating back to Jimbo Fisher’s last season as head coach of the Seminoles.
Florida State was a 13.5-point favorite to win today’s season opener against Georgia Tech. Seminoles fans were hoping that a change of leadership at the top, after a pretty disastrous few years under Willie Taggart, would unlock the potential of a talented roster. Just today, David Pollack predicted Norvell to engineer a big turnaround in his first season.
Instead, many of the same problems that have plagued Florida State for years are still present. The most significant is the offensive line, which has been one of the worst in college football for a few years now. Today, the ‘Noles only managed 2.6 yards per carry, and quarterback James Blackman was sacked three times–all in the second half. The final two were back to back sacks by Curtis Ryans, the second of which caused Blackman to fumble with the game tied at 13 in the fourth quarter.
David Curry returned the fumble all the way to the Florida State 11, and while the Yellow Jackets couldn’t punch it into the end zone, Jude Kelley converted what proved to be the game-winning field goal to put Georgia Tech up 16-13.
Can't block Georgia Tech backup defensive linemen. Could be a long year for that offense.
— Bud Elliott (@BudElliott3) September 13, 2020
It is unfair to judge Norvell’s tenure this early. Florida State isn’t going to turn things around if coaches keep getting short leashes. Eventually, they have to trust someone to get things heading in the right direction.
It is glaring that so many of the problems from the late-Fisher and Taggart eras continue today. Florida State has recruited pretty well throughout, and has access to elite in-state talent. There’s no reason that they shouldn’t at least be a competitive ACC team.
After loss to Georgia Tech, Florida State now 10-15 in ACC play last 4 seasons
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 13, 2020
A bad Florida State team is one of the funniest thing in sports. We're blessed once again.
— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) September 13, 2020
Florida State O-line being awful is the first real sense of normalcy we’ve had in a long time in this country.
— 💫🅰️♈️🆔 (@ADavidHaleJoint) September 13, 2020
Hey Jameis Winston, did Florida State beat Georgia Tech? pic.twitter.com/UW2FwAHeER
— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) September 13, 2020
Willie Taggart got paid $18 million to not have to deal with this Florida State mess anymore.
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) September 13, 2020
— no context college football (@nocontextcfb) September 13, 2020
Most college football powers go through down periods. Even mighty Alabama was pretty rough the years before Nick Saban arrived. After decades of consistent success though, it is pretty jarring to see Florida State football in this kind of a rut.