Previewing FSU v Bama

Week one features a fun matchup when FSU takes on Alabama in Atlanta, I previewed the game for SB Nation here.

I’m not as high on this Alabama team as your average CFB writer. I’m sure they’ll be good but they’re losing A TON on defense and unless Shaun Hamilton is healthy come fall I’m not sure they’ll have inside-backer play to their normal standards.

What’s more, their new RPO-heavy offense meets its match in this FSU secondary that can confuse reads by moving Derwin James around and lock down outside WRs with their corners. If FSU can run the ball, I think they’re the favorite.


  1. Cameron

    Sort of off topic, but I think it is interesting how a lot of teams play around with the alignment of the H/TE in their spread attack. Both Florida State and Alabama have taken to aligning their TE off the line of scrimmage quite frequently, but also have slightly different approaches to that tendency.

    FSU seems committed to giving defenses the exact same look, and I’ve only seen their tight align their inside foot behind the outside foot of the tackle.

    And I don’t know whether Kiffin designed the offense that way or OJ Howard just playing to his own tune, but he would vary from directly behind the tackle to completely outside of him, depending on his blocking assignment. E.g., if Howard was behind the tackle, he generally tended to kick out the defensive end or a wham/sift block. Aligned further out from the tackle, you were more likely to see an arc block in either direction or a pass play.

    No idea whether it will play a role in this game, but if I was FSU, I’d be looking to see if the Alabama offense keeps that trend.

    • ianaboyd

      Interesting catch. That and RB alignment can give away too much from spread teams, imo. Especially if you have the extra time you need to sniff those tendencies out in film prep.

      Even further off topic, I think Howard was wildly overrated by this last NFL draft. Dude was an okay blocker that rarely got any action in the passing game. The FSU TE Izzo is a much better blocker and also has a few more routes under his belt that he knows how to run. He may be much less athletic but I think he’s a better college player.

      • Cameron

        1) If I can see those tendencies just watching games from home, then I’d think a competent coaching staff would too during film study.

        2) I agree. I think the NFL has this weird bias where they see great athleticism and very little production and declare “sold!” I’d be more cautious about those types. And I think Jimbo is pretty well set at tight end with Izzo (mobile blocking surface) and Saunders (more receiver type) on the roster. Now that I think about it, who does FSU have at receiver after Murray and Tate? Maybe 12 personnel is the way to go for the Noles. Hey, I think we’re back on topic!

        • ianaboyd

          They don’t even know for sure what they have in Murray and Tate this year so I imagine 12 pers will occur pretty often. They do have this one white guy possession receiver who’s name I don’t recall that looked solid in the spring game. Saunders is at least a decent blocker though so I’d be in 12 a lot, myself.

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