Florida State

Florida State rushing attack has a chance to be dominant under Willie Taggart

Florida State RB Cam Akers
Nelson Chenault/USA TODAY Sports

Football isn’t as complicated as those of us who cover it would have you think. To have a consistently good team, you must limit turnovers, control the line of scrimmage, dominate the clock and run the ball well.

Those are simple things that will help you win a lot of games.

FSU wasn’t the best at three of those things because Jimbo Fisher’s offense was quarterback-dependent and neglected the rushing attack for large portions of games.

Willie Taggart’s “lethal simplicity,” based on what is being said by the new staff, goes with what is working, similar to an Urban Meyer, Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney frame of thought. No need to throw it if you have a ground game.

FSU’s deepest position group, and the one I think Taggart will lean on the most, is running back. People hear “spread offense” and immediately think about a lot of passes. But Taggart has shown the ability to have a power spread concept. He developed his concepts while working under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford.

The goal of new offensive line coach Greg Frey’s system is to create holes and gaps by having good-sized splits and creating one-on-one matchups even along the line. We used to call it a “big on big” scheme, which is different from the traditional zone concept. The good thing about running “big on big” with FSU’s running backs is that if someone gives space, it creates an opportunity for the back to make a play. Say the guard gets blown up into the backfield; well, the running back can step to the side, and now instead of a blown play there’s a hole.

I believe you will see two-back sets frequently. FSU has talented backs with common components yet different skills. Each is adept at doing the main thing he was recruited for – produce yards on the ground.

My position coach was Billy Sexton, and he taught me that you can’t really teach someone how to run; you must recruit that. You either can or you cannot, but you also must have two other things to be successful at the college level – especially in this offense – and that is block and run routes/catch. In a way, because of the size and length of FSU’s running backs, it’s as if the Seminoles have slot receivers with vision. All the running backs are at least 5 feet 11 with great speed, and Jacques Patrick is the size of some tight ends. I believe the old fullback position will be absorbed by the tight ends, with the fullbacks on the roster having H-Back size.

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