Opposing coach's take: Sizing up Florida State before the Rose Bowl
A coach whose team played Florida State this year assesses the Seminoles' strengths and weaknesses.
The biggest thing is, you have to get to Jameis Winston. Try to disrupt him. If you do that, he might try to force soem things and make a bad decision. If he can stand back and read the coverage, he'll pick you apart. They start slow. He may be pressing early. But I think they do a really good job of critiquing themselves and making adjustments.
Dalvin Cook has gotten better every game. He's a good one-cut runner, putting his foot in the ground, getting through the tackle. He has had some turnover issues, putting the ball on the ground a little bit, but that's what freshmen do. In two or three years he'll be even more dynamic than he has been this year.
The best thing is to put them on a long field. You have to force them to drive 80 and 90 yards when you don't score a touchdown. You can't be three and out. You can't go for a kill shot. Because if you try to shoot it out with them, they've shown that they can outshoot anybody. You have to keep Winston off the field at the end of the game with a chance to win it. Because he has shown that time and again he's gonna do that.
The deal for defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. is to keep him guessing. Don't let him get comfortable. We tried to cut him, to read him, to double-team him. You can't let him get in the flow of a game. And [6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive tackle] Eddie Goldman, you can't move him. He's as stout as they come. You can't run right at him because he's gonna stuff up the middle.
You have to give their defense a lot of different looks -- mess with them formationally. With any defense, even a really good one with good players, you've got to unsettle them. You can get over the top of those guys with some play-action. Vertical routes and seam shots -- they can be vulnerable up the middle. We had a couple of play-actions where we got the safeties out of the mix and put the corners on islands.
They just find ways to win. They're comfortable being uncomfortable. And once they withstand the first onslaught, they get back into their groove and just handle their business.