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Tuesday Thoughts 9/15: GriT Isn’t Just a Buzzword

In which we talk freshmen, winning, and GriT

Florida State v Georgia Tech

(Please excuse the old photo - there don’t appear to be any available ones from the actual recent game and we’re not really sure why)

Hello and welcome to what is currently a winning season! My heart rate chart between 5:30 and 9:00 on Saturday looks like a stonks meme, but it was all worth it in the end.

fine fine fine fine OH GOD OH GOD

Game Recap in Three Sentences

True freshman QB Jeff Sims made an eye-catching debut with a 68% completion rate, 277 passing yards, 1 TD, and 64 rushing yards.

The defense put together a strong effort, holding the Noles to 307 yards and a single early touchdown.

True freshman K Jude Kelley had 3 kicks blocked but pulled it together to make the game winner in crunch time.

#404 Swag Champion of the Game

A FTRS staff favorite, Pressley Harvin III. PH3 got himself a lot of twitter traction on Saturday, introducing a huge new audience to the Jackets. Super rolled up pants? Check. Absurdly long undershirt? Check. Mis-matched cleats? Check. King.

Uniform Rating

1.8/3 stripes. Very meh. I am totally uninspired by the blue pants and it’s a big miss to start the season in them.

ATLeast We Ain’t Them of the Week

The Missouri State Bears.

For some reason these poor souls decided to play Oklahoma and boy did it not go well for them. They went 0-11 on third down while also giving up 608 of offense. It was 41-0 at the half and the Sooners played their second and third string QBs for the second half.

A close second is Austin Peay who were forced to agree to play 10-minute quarters in their second half against Pitt (they would lose to the Panthers 55-0).

Above The Line of the Week

  • Curtis Ryans. Curtis earned ACC DL of the week with 2 sacks, 2 TFL, and 2 forced fumbles. Those two fumbles in particular were hugely pivotal in the outcome of this game.
  • No Context CFB Twitter. This has long been one of my favorite Twitter accounts, but 2020 is going to be a gold mine of content for them. There were some all-star FSU fan shots on Saturday and anyone looking to augment their college football viewing needs to follow them posthaste.
  • Starting off on the right foot. Man it feels good to be 1-0.

Stat of the Week

The Jackets gained 438 total yards of offense, more than any game last year. It may be a little at odds with scoring just 16 points, but I think it’s a good sign for what’s to come. The offense showed that they can move the ball downfield and after cleaning up some unforced errors the points should soon follow.

5 Star (7 Star, 5 Star) Developmental Program Haiku of the Week

Jeff Sims is a star

The kicking game needs some work

1 and 0 feels good

Grit Isn’t Just a Buzzword

Look, that was a gritty win, plain and simple. I know we love to make fun of GRIT and EFFORT and INTENSITY, but this game saw the team actually embodied those amorphous concepts. In particular I want to call out three instances: Jeff Sims, the defense, and Jude Kelley.

At this point everyone knows that Sims is a true freshman; we’ve been shouting that from the rooftops. Normally you don’t expect true freshmen to have too much poise and resolve in their first games, but Saturday threw about a million other adversities at Sims:

  • This was the first game back from a pandemic and all the things that have come with it
  • An away game (sure, the crowd wasn’t a huge factor here, but it’s still uncomfortable to play away from home)
  • An hour-plus thunderstorm delay
  • He was originally committed to Florida State but was pushed out when Norvell took over from Taggart because he didn’t “fit the system”
  • His first college drive ended in an interception and he threw another one in the red zone a few drives later

How did Sims respond to all this? He completed 68% of his passes, threw for 277 yards and a TD, ran for 64 more yards, and led the team on two huge scoring drives in the third quarter. And again, he did this as a true freshman playing in his first ever game. Yeah he made a couple of freshman errors with the picks, but he didn’t let them stop him from balling out for the rest of the game (also credit to the coaching staff for keeping him in and letting him work through it). I don’t think enough can be said about how awesome it is to see a young, super-talented guy have that much poise. He was smart with his decision-making, made big throws, and looked dangerous running the ball. The future is very very bright for him and I am so excited to see what he does next.

Raise your head if you watched FSU score on their first drive and groaned oh no. *raises hand*. After their first two series the Noles had amassed 113 yards. In their subsequent 9 they earned just 194. In the entire second half they gained just 89. And when it counted in the fourth quarter they came up with two forced fumbles on two consecutive drives. This is a flash of the Collins defense we’ve been waiting for: making good adjustments, creating havoc through aggression, and shutting teams down. These guys battled all game and gave the offense the chances they needed.

Jude Kelley: good lord my man. For a while it looked like the football pantheon was playing a cruel revenge game against us for 2015: the true freshman had two field goals and one PAT rudely blocked. The PAT would have put us ahead 14-13 and having it stuffed gave me an instant dread of going into overtime and losing in a silly way. That all set the stage for the high-pressure fourth quarter kick that gave us the win. Stop for a second: can you imagine what was going through this guy’s head when lining that one up? Three of your four attempts have been blocked, it’s late in a low-scoring defensive battle, everything is wet, and your team just got itself into the red zone off of a turnover. And again, like Sims, this was his first ever college game. It’s awesome to see a guy with the mental fortitude to come through in a big moment like that and hopefully this is a new era for our kicking game (and hopefully someone more clever than me can come up with a Hey Jude -based nickname for him).

I dunno y’all, I’m just proud of this team for how they handled this game and it all has to do with grit. Sure it’s goofy when it’s tweeted and talked about, but it’s heartening to see it actually acted out on the field.

Look Ahead

This week we’ve got our first home game of 2020: UCF at 3:30pm (on ABC again!). The Knights will certainly be a bigger test than FSU; they currently sit at 14th in SP+ and would be a 6.9 point favorite on a neutral field. Some of their fans were pretty snippy about some of us here at FTRS merely thinking that we could possibly beat such a lofty and prestigious program so I’m eager to prove some people wrong (and go back and respond to some bookmarked tweets...). Hopefully we can get some defensive talent back from injury and the offense smooths some things over (and we do some kicking drills…); if we can put it together then I think we’ve got a good shot at another upset.

Year 1 baby, let’s get it.