Florida State

Jimbo Fisher again abandons running game in Seminoles’ latest loss

Florida State RB Jacques Patrick
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY Sports

I was a critic of Florida State running back Jacques Patrick before the season and, trust me, I’ve got my reasons. He’s 230 pounds and doesn’t run behind his pads. He hits the hole and more often tries to wear defenders down by leaning on them instead of doing something my old position coach, Billy Sexton, called “AFOC” — accelerate feet on contact.

When it came time to make a block, Sexton would tell me, “Step on toes and — boom – AFOC.”

When it came to run game, “Don’t run out of bounds. Make them think you are and then — boom — AFOC!”

I used it when I was training high school running backs, and now I do it in any evaluation of a running back.

Devonta Freeman had it. Davin Cook had it. Now it seems Patrick has found it. He and teammate Cam Akers were giving AFOC to Miami all afternoon Saturday to the tune of a combined 31 carries for 212 yards. The run game was physical and imposing. It was fun to watch as a running backs guy; I played fullback at FSU from 2002-05.

But the most frustrating thing to a running back is lack of consistency in getting the ball.

This is nothing new for the Seminoles.

Jimbo Fisher has to be the most stubborn play-caller in the nation. Saturday’s loss was a case study in insanity – doing the same thing, the same way, over and over, expecting a different result.

FSU started the game out of the gate with a big running play; then came a random assortment of play calls that left you scratching your head. That sums up the entire game.

Miami still doesn’t have an answer for FSU’s run game. I’m sure Mark Richt and UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz are wondering why Fisher just willingly stopped what he was doing in the ground game, which was having success.

Well, the answer is simple: That’s just what he does. He has a reputation as a “quarterback whisperer” and rightfully so; look at how many quarterbacks he has had drafted high by the NFL. But at some point you’ve got to adapt; that’s the key to survival. FSU doesn’t pay him to get high draft grades for his quarterbacks. It pays him to win.

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Think for a second about his colleagues, those who have won a national championship recently. “WWSD” — What Would Saban Do? What would Dabo Swinney do? What would Urban Meyer do? They would roll with what works and that’s a 7.2 yards-per-carry average.

That’s getting AFOC done.

It also wears down a defense and eats up time. If you watch the Miami game film, Akers and Patrick were finishing runs with physicality that I haven’t seen since Greg Jones was at FSU.

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