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Monday Mailbag: Jacksonville State, coaching, and how to respond

We bury our final thoughts on FSU vs Jacksonville State.

There's no getting around it, Saturday night was an embarrassment for the Florida State football program. It's been said many times by this point but the loss to Jacksonville State was the worst defeat in FSU history. 28 point favorites against an FCS team, who got shut out in week one, at home, and you play that uninspired? 

Quite frankly, it was sickening, and it was one of the few times that I've questioned head coach Mike Norvell during his time in Tallahassee thus far. The offense was discombobulated as the 'Noles dropped multiple passes, used both quarterbacks, and went to the wildcat a number of times in strange situations. 

The defense actually showed some positive signs and limited the Gamecocks until the fourth quarter but the final two drives of the game were unacceptable. Penalties and big plays allowed JSU to drive 97-yards to put itself in a position to tie or take the lead on the final possession of the night. You all know what happened next.

Let's hop into the mailbag for this week and move on to Wake Forest.

Why did we not go into the prevent for the last play? - David Laberis

Your guess is as good as mine. Surrendering a long field goal attempt to the Gamecocks instead of what actually happened would've been a better outcome. Worst case scenario you go into overtime with a chance to win. 

Is this team capable of dominating lower competition such as Jax State? - Chris Hudnall

Absolutely, in fact, Florida State beat this same Jacksonville State team 41-24 a year ago. And that was after the Seminoles trailed 21-7 in the first half. I think that's why Saturday's result is even more mind-boggling.

This team simply got outplayed and looked like it didn't even want to be out there on Saturday. That's an indictment on the coaching staff and players. They got too comfortable after Notre Dame and paid the ultimate price. 

How do the recruits feel now? - AJ Hysell

From the guys that I've been able to speak to, the main feeling is one of disappointment. That said, I don't think we're going to see anyone decommit just yet. The recruits that are committed to FSU believe in Norvell's message that they are going to be crucial to turning this thing around.

However, the 'Noles are definitely going to need to present a better product on the field to keep #Tribe22 locked in.

Is this the lowest you’ve seen FSU in your lifetime? - @triggatrey1k

Yes, without a doubt. I'm only 27 but it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of older Florida State fans also agreed that this is the lowest the Seminoles have been in decades. 

Let's be honest, we all got a false sense of optimism after the Notre Dame game. That has officially passed and Norvell and his staff are in danger territory. They need to start flipping the momentum this weekend or this thing could get ugly.

Is there any chance that the defensive play-calling will be assigned to Randy Shannon and the offensive play-calling be assigned to Kenny Dillingham? Both Adam Fuller and Mike Norvell have proven in their time in Tally so far, that they should not be the play-callers. - Elprofetrol Zucked

Why does Fuller still have a job? - Charles Scott

Does Fuller have a job after this season? - @MarkusMitchell7

What would it take for Norvell to make a change at DC? After all Randy Shannon is in house already. - Robert Marski

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Maybe it's an unpopular opinion but I thought defensive coordinator Adam Fuller has done a decent job through two games. He made a few mistakes against Notre Dame, like the screen that set up a touchdown but overall kept the running game in check and made Jack Coan make plays.

This past weekend, the defense did enough to win throughout the first three quarters. In the final frame, it all fell apart after the 97-yard drive. A drive that saw Jarvis Brownlee came down with an interception that was negated following a targeting penalty. 

I absolutely question the final call of the night but once again, you've got two guys in Brownlee and Sidney Williams who are in a position to make the tackle. For whatever reason, they just didn't. The blame certainly goes both ways but players make plays.

It would take a total meltdown from this defense for Fuller to be let go and I don't necessarily see that happening. The run defense and pass-rush have been much improved. It remains a possibility, sure, but I don't see it right now.

As for the offense, Norvell proved himself as an offensive mind at Memphis. I'm not ready to give up on him just yet but they need to alter the strategy some for sure. 

Are we getting our plays from Madden? - Wesley Sullivan

No way. In Madden, you can actually score against bad football teams.

What are the chances FSU makes a bowl game? Can FSU still win the ACC Atlantic? - @johnknee87

The bowl game chances took a major hit with the loss to Jacksonville State. If you can't count on a win against the Gamecocks, where does a for-sure victory come in this schedule? UMass? Yikes.

FSU hasn't started conference play so it can technically win the ACC Atlantic though I wouldn't get your hopes up. 

If the offensive line is healthy with Scott, Gibbons, Smith, DLT, Washington and the defense is playing well, can FSU be competitive in 9 of the remaining 10 games? - Mike Tee

It depends on what you mean by remain competitive. Can Florida State compete and stay in the game against the teams on the remainder of its schedule? No question. Will it? I have no clue.

If we've learned anything from two weeks in 2021, it's that the Seminoles are an enigma. They can compete with a top-10 team one night and fall to an FCS program on another.

Forrest Gump said it best.

"My mom always said life [replace with: Florida State football] was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

Why should we watch another game this season? - Wesley Sullivan

I think it's obvious that right now Florida State needs support now more than ever. Yeah, it's frustrating and even downright painful, but the only way this program will ever get back to the top is with people behind it.

How does Florida State make up the loss? What should the expectations be for the next couple of weeks? In my opinion, we need to blow Wake Forest out and blow Syracuse out, that needs to be the expectation. - David Bailey

I don't disagree with you, David. It's crucial for the Seminoles to win, and soon. I'm not sure if it happens this week against a well-prepared Wake Forest team but with middling Louisville and Syracuse coming to Tallahassee, you've got to take advantage of it.

Florida State needs something positive to be able to harp on so that the program can begin fighting its way back. It's going to be an uphill climb no matter what.