Tag Archives: Jacoby Brissett

2016 ACC Football: The Struggle is Real

Last week I took a look at the 2015 year that was in the ACC, some good and bad for each school. This week we’re going to put the past behind us and take a look at what 2016 may hold for ACC football.

Boston College

What needs to get better – The passing game and 3rd down conversions. The two go a bit hand in hand. BC had one of the worst passing games in the nation, ranking 125th in yards per game. None of their quarterbacks threw for more than 464 yards on the season. Yes, you read that correctly. The quarterbacks combined to complete 44.6% of their passes. This all lead to an offense that was 126th out of 127 in 3rd down conversion rate, getting a first down on just 26.7% of their third down attempts. If the offense wants improvement in 2016, it’ll need to start here.

What will go well – The run game. Part of the inability to throw the ball has been due to the dual-threat nature of the quarterbacks that the Eagles trot out there. This obviously helps the ground game. After five games of not getting double digit carries, junior RB Tyler Rouse had 24 for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the final game against Syracuse. Hopefully that leads to a big senior year for him. Helping will be the offensive line, which returns three starters that were only underclassmen last year.

What will be a struggle – Passing game. Once again. There really isn’t much hope here. Even if there is moderate improvement it’s hard to see a team jumping from the bottom five in the country to anywhere near average. Last year BC’s leading receiver had 17 catches for 233 yards. If someone approaches 500 yards in 2016 it would be a miracle.

Clemson

What needs to get better – Big plays allowed. Clemson had a great season, but they gave up some big plays in the ACC Championship to North Carolina which allowed the Tar Heels to hang around and stay in the game. Those big plays basically cost them the title, with multiple breakdowns in the secondary resulting in long touchdowns for the Crimson Tide.

What will go well – The offense. I know, I’m a such a genius, but this is about as obvious as it gets. Deshaun Watson was coming off a knee injury and still was a Heisman finalist this season. Now he’ll be further removed from that injury and back with him will play explosive playmakers Wayne Gallman, Artavis Scott, and Mike Williams, who would have been the Tigers’ best WR but was lost for the year in the season opener.

What will be a struggle – The defense. Clemson is going to be in a lot of shootouts in 2016. Brent Venables was able to rebound from losses to the NFL draft going into 2015 to lead one of the nation’s best defenses yet again. It’s hard to overcome that multiple years in a row however, just ask LSU. This time the Tigers lose both starting DEs (who just happened to be numbers 1 and 2 in the country in tackles for loss) as well as 3/4ths of the secondary. They lose seven defensive starters in total, an astonishing five of them early entrants to the NFL draft.

Duke

What needs to get better – The defense. It gave up almost 31 points per game, including 40+ to the explosive offenses that were Virginia and Virginia Tech. They pass defense in particular was a sieve, finishing 73rd in yards allowed, but there is hope. All five secondary starters return in their 4-2-5 alignment.

What will go well – The running game. Duke’s ground attack was pretty versatile in 2015, led by QB Thomas Sirk. Sirk led the team with 803 yards rushing, but they also had three different running backs all rush for over 400. In total the Blue Devils ran for over 2500 yards on the season on almost five yards per rush.

What will be a struggle – The passing game. It’s not all Sirk’s fault, he just doesn’t have much to work with. A measley 6.15 yards per attempt won’t put fear into the hearts of defensive coordinators, and Duke will not see much improvement unless someone steps up and produces some of the play-making that vanished when Jamison Crowder took his talents to the NFL after the 2014 season.

Florida State

What needs to get better – The passing game. You couldn’t expect FSU’s passing to be as good when Jameis Winston left for the NFL. Outside of a couple nice efforts, the it couldn’t be counted on consistently, and certainly not against the better teams on the schedule. Whether Sean Maguire retains the starting job going into 2016 or a younger, more talented signal caller takes the spot, there’s no reason for this area not to improve with the talent the Seminoles have at receiver.

What will go well – Handing the ball off. FSU could probably just do that every play in 2016 and win double digit games. Dalvin Cook averaged 7.4 ypc last year and he’ll be back. He’ll also be running behind an offensive line that returns all five starters. I already feel bad for the rest of the ACC.

What will be a struggle – Kicking game. The Seminoles have been spoiled the last few years with Roberto Aguayo, one of the best college kickers in years. Aguayo never missed an extra point and was almost as automatic on field goals, converting over 90% of them (64-70) from under 50 yards. With Aguayo off to the pros, Seminoles fans will have to hope their kicking situation doesn’t turn into the one present in Gainesville.

Georgia Tech

What needs to get better – Ball security. It might be expected that a team that runs the triple option would have more chances at fumbling. But you’d also think that they’d preach protecting the ball even more. Whatever they do didn’t work in 2015 as the Yellow Jackets lost 14 fumbles (only three teams lost more). Navy, another triple option team, only lost six. Add the Yellow Jackets’ 10 interceptions, another astonishing number considering how little they throw it, and the result is finishing 105th in turnover margin.

What will go well – The run game. Georgia Tech wasn’t able to stay in games with their rush attack like in previous years, but there are plenty of reasons for optimism. The line was extremely young (they had a freshman at center and both tackles spots by the end of the year) so it should improve. Add that to QB Justin Thomas and their stable of running backs returning and the offense should rebound.

What will be a struggle – Pass defense. It wasn’t bad in 2015, ranking 37th in pass yards allowed, but the Yellow Jackets were also 120th in sacks. They now lose all four starters from the secondary. If the front seven can’t find a way to put pressure on the opposing quarterback, the defense could get burnt through the air with a less experienced defensive back corps.

Louisville

What needs to get better – The offense. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Bobby Petrino team but the offense was pretty disappointing. The quarterbacks were average, finishing 61st in QBR. That is a little more understandable with Lamar Jackson getting so much playing time, but with a dual-threat guy like himself, the Cardinals should have been able to finish better than 81st in rushing.

What will go well – Defense. The Cardinals defense could be one of the best in the country in 2016. They were T-10th in sacks last year and return stud Devonte Fields who was T-10th in individual sacks. As if a ferocious pass rush wasn’t enough, the ‘Ville will also get all their secondary starters back, including NFL prospects Shaq Wiggins and Josh Harvey-Clemons.

What will be a struggle – The passing game. Bobby Petrino can work whatever magic and QB voodoo he wants, I just don’t think he’s going to be able to do what he traditionally has with Lamar Jackson. It doesn’t mean Jackson won’t improve, I just don’t think there will be any game to game consistency, which will frustrate the coaching staff as well as Cardinals fans.

Miami

What needs to get better – 3rd downs. I talked about how bad Boston College was on third downs, but that’s a little more understandable considering their quarterback situation and well, because of the fact that they’re Boston College. But Miami was almost as bad, finishing 107th at 35%. Considering the talent at the skill positions and at quarterback, there’s no excuse for that and Miami needs to see drastic improvement in this area if they want any shot at competing for the division in 2016.

What will go well – Pass attack. The offensive line was extremely young last year, with four underclassmen starters at year’s end. With improvement Kaaya should have time to throw. With talent at WR in Stacy Coley and Braxton Berrios and at TE in Standish Dobard and David Njoku, Kaaya will have plenty of options at his disposal.

What will be a struggle – Pass defense. Miami was 70th last year in sacks, and they have had a non-existent pass rush for years. Last year the pass defense was able to survive because of how good the secondary was. That won’t be the case this year. Miami loses both starting safeties as well as CB Artie Burns, who led the ACC with six interceptions. In 2016, no lead will be safe.

NC State

What needs to get better – Explosive passing plays. Jacoby Brissett had a mediocre yards per attempt, and it showed when you look at the receivers. The Wolfpack’s leading WR averaged under 10 ypc (9.2). That’s embarrassing. And their second leading receiver had just 34 catches. Not the ideal way to keep a defense honest.

What will go well – Run game. At least NC State has this going for them. They have their top three running backs return, and all three averaged over six yards per rush in 2015. But the biggest reason will be the return of Matthew Dayes. Dayes was averaging over 100 yards per game on 6.5 ypc and had 12 touchdowns through just 7+ games. He ended up missing the last five games due to a foot injury but will be back next season.

What will be a struggle – Passing attack. NC State might be able to get some plays off play-action thanks to their run game, but a standard passing game will not be forte. They have limited wide receivers and with Jacoby Brissett no longer around, will have a new starting quarterback as well.

North Carolina

What needs to get better – The defense. It was abysmal the second half of the year. They gave up at least 31 points in 4 of 6 games. The two that they didn’t were against Miami and Virginia Tech, not exactly the Marcus Mariota-led Oregon Ducks.

What will go well – Offense. The Tar Heels’ offense was explosive in 2015 and have most of it returning in tact for next year. 4/5 offensive linemen return along with the top two receivers and stud running back Elijah Hood. While starting quarterback Marquise Williams departs, he’ll be replaced by Mitch Trubisky, who fans have been high on.

What will be a struggle – The defense. It’s hard to see much improvement from a unit that allowed over 400 yards per game. It was 110th in run defense, stamped off by their embarrassing showing in the bowl game when the allowed a bowl record 645 rushing yards to Baylor. Now they lose a DT and MLB who were defensive captains.

Pittsburgh

What needs to get better – Their “passing attack”. It wasn’t Boston College level putrid, but it left a lot to be desired. Pitt can run the ball, so mild improvement in the passing game is all they need to have a competitive offense.

What will go well – The run game. James Conner was an ACC player of the year candidate before missing basically the whole season. In his place was Qadree Ollison who ran his way to a nice little 1,100 yard, 11 touchdown season in Conner’s place. Both will be back in 2016 to run behind an offensive line that returns 4/5 starters.

What will be a struggle – The passing game. The Panthers need their passing game to be competent, but I don’t see how it improves from last year. It wasn’t good to begin with and now the Panthers are losing WR Tyler Boyd early to the NFL draft. Boyd accounted for 91 of the team’s 212 receptions in 2015.

Syracuse

What needs to get better – The whole offense. They were 119th in yards per game. Brutal to watch and not able to move the ball consistently as evidenced by their 100 ranking in red zone opportunities. But the Orangemen were actually pretty good once they got there, ranking 8th in red zone scoring percentage. If the offense can move the ball a little more, they can put their red zone efficiency to better use.

What will go well – Defense. It wasn’t exactly good this past year, but it was young. They return seven starters so with the experience they should be better just from that. Additionally, the defense played better at home in 2015, not surprising for a young unit. A year older and they should be able to carry some of that success on the road more frequently.

What will be a struggle – Getting to a bowl game. It’s hard as a fan to go into a year knowing your team probably won’t make a bowl. What’s more difficult is seeing how Syracuse gets to one. Along with divisional home games against FSU and Louisville, they have to go on the road in conference to play BC, Pitt and Clemson. Add in non-conference games at Connecticut and with Notre Dame and this year will be about building for 2017.

Virginia

What needs to get better – Performance in close games. Virginia had their chances last year. They had a halftime lead against Notre Dame and a second half lead against Miami, neither of which they could hold. They were also tied at half with North Carolina and tied in the 4th quarter with Louisville. An ability to finish games and the Cavaliers may have not been looking for a new coach.

What will go well – Off-season. If nothing else there will be positive vibes around the Cavaliers before the season starts. Tiquan Mizzell is a player fans can be excited about watching. There’s always hope when a new head coach comes in, which is what Virginia has in Bronco Mendenhall. Throw that in with a senior quarterback and fans may talk themselves into a sneaky good season.

What will be a struggle – The offense. An experienced quarterback returns, yes, but also a limited one. He’ll be looking for new targets as well since the offenses loses its top two receivers from last year. Just like 2015, it appears 2016 will be the Mizzell show.

Virginia Tech

What needs to get better – The running game. As bad as Virginia Tech’s offense has been, you could usually count on a decent running game if nothing else. Last year the Hokies didn’t even have that, ranking 112th in yards per carry. If you’re going to win games by keeping them close and playing good defense, you need a good running game to take pressure off the quarterback.

What will go well – Pass defense. This is one thing you can count on with the Hokies. They were 17th in passing yards allowed per game and return everyone in the secondary besides Kendall Fuller. He can be adequately replaced by Brandon Facyson, the next in line for NFL-caliber Hokie corners.

What will be a struggle – The passing offense. It’s going to be a shock for new coach Justin Fuente going from possible 1st rounder Paxton Lynch to new Hokies starter Brenden Motley. Motley got his feet wet last year when Michael Brewer got hurt and I don’t think fans liked what they saw. He had success in his first couple starts against against Furman and Purdue (congratulations), but the rest of the way was mostly a disaster.

Wake Forest

What needs to get better – Pass protection. Wake Forest is Wake Forest, so they’re going to be playing from behind a lot. Because of this it would be nice if the quarterback wasn’t running for his life every other play. That’s probably what it felt like for Demon Deacons quarterbacks last year, when they were sacked on 8.94% of drop-backs, 113th in the country.

What will go well – “Offensive fireworks”. OK fireworks might be a strong word. But Wake’s offensive should be vastly improved from a unit that was almost last (125th) in scoring at 17.4 ppg. The offense only loses two seniors, one at WR and one at guard, and 7/11 starters last year were freshmen or sophomores. On top of that, QB John Wolford improved his accuracy from 58.3% to 60.9% while also increasing his yards per attempt by over two full yards (5.55 to 7.69). Why do I feel like I’m talking myself into Wake Forest? I can’t wait to look back on this in November when Wake is eliminated from bowl contention and the offense is still a disaster.

What will be a struggle – Speaking of bowl games, making one will be tough for Wake Forest next year. The first month of the season is manageable but with a road slate that includes games against Florida State, Louisville, NC State, and Duke, it’s going to be a nail-biter for fans the second half of the season.

E-mail Jason at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JLindy87.

Featured image courtesy of Thomson20192

2015 ACC Football: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

2015 was a typical year for the ACC. By typical of course, I mean one team outclassing the rest and trying to remove itself as far as possible from the negative connotations that “ACC football team” brings. The ACC has long been considered the worst of the Power 5 football conferences and did little to dispel that notion this season. Clemson did its best by not only reaching the playoff, but dispatching Oklahoma and going toe-to-toe with Alabama in what may have been one of the three best title games of all time. Florida State and North Carolina each won double-digit games but I think many, myself included, would say that was more a byproduct of the conference’s weakness than the strength of those two football teams.

Today we’ll take a look at the Good, the Bad, and the downright Ugly for each ACC team in 2015. As far as the Atlantic Coast Conference itself? The good could really only come from the aforementioned Clemson. The bad was harder to choose if only because there were so many more options, but we’ll go with defense, something that will be a common theme throughout this piece. Ten of the conference’s fourteen teams ranked 43rd or worse in scoring defense. The ACC misery saved its best (the Ugly) for last. That would be bowl season, where ACC teams not named Clemson went 3-5. Even those wins weren’t a lot to hang their hat on. Duke defeated Indiana who had one of the worst defenses on college football. Virginia Tech beat Tulsa, giving up 52 points in the process. Then there’s Louisville, who scored a 27-21 victory over a Texas A&M team that had just seen its top two quarterbacks transfer.

This article would have been much easier if it was just “The Bad and the Ugly”. Can we find some good from the 2015 season for each team? I gave it my best shot.

Boston College Eagles

Good – I mentioned defense in the intro. Well Boston College was one of the four ACC teams not abysmal on that side of the ball. BC ranked fourth in the country, allowing just 15.3 points per game. This included giving up just 34 to Clemson, 14 to Florida State, and 19 to Notre Dame. Sure they shortened games by running the ball a ton on offense, but only three times all year did they give up more than 20 points in a game.

Bad – As stellar as the defense was, the offense was the complete opposite. After the first two games of the season against non-D1 schools, Boston College didn’t top 17 points even once the rest of the year. Spearheading this vaunted offense was a leading passer that only had 464 yards on the season.

Ugly – We’re staying with the offense here. In a time when offenses are upping the tempo and putting up 40s and 50s left and right, the Eagles would struggle to outscore the Red Sox. BC put up 76 points against Howard the second week of the season. They then proceeded to score just 73 points COMBINED in their eight conference games. The cherry on top of this offensive ineptitude sundae was an October contest where they ran the ball 54 times and didn’t even get to 200 yards, getting shut out at home by Wake Forest.

Clemson Tigers

Good – Does the whole season count? Clemson had its best season in recent memory, finding itself at the top spot every week of the playoff committee’s rankings. After losing most of the starters off college football’s top defense of 2014, the Tigers managed to have one of the best defenses again. DeShaun Watson, coming off a torn ACL, was a Heisman finalist in just his sophomore season and led the Tigers to the national title game. Though falling just short against the Alabama empire, Watson had a scintillating performance against the Tide defense that will propel him to be the Heisman favorite going into 2016.

Bad – It’s hard to find the bad for a team that started the year 14-0. In this spot we have to look at the defense, which might have to do more re-tooling for next year. Brent Venables did an incredible job in 2015 but it may take more next year. That’s because the Tigers may lose DE Shaq Lawson and CB Mackensie Alexander to the NFL draft, both of whom were stars of the Clemson defense. It always hurts to lose players early to the NFL, it hurts even worse when those players are just redshirt sophomores.

Ugly – The Tigers had every opportunity to win the championship on Monday night, but big plays allowed Alabama to stay in the game. They gave up a 50 yard touchdown run to Derrick Henry. Besides that long run, they held the Heisman winner to just 108 yards on 35 carries, barely over three yards per carry. The defense was also smothering QB Jacob Coker, but mental breakdowns allowed him to have a big second half. Blown coverages accounted for two 50+ yard touchdowns to OJ Howard, which also accounted for almost 1/3 of Coker’s passing yards. Then there was the back-breaking kickoff-return touchdown by Kenyan Drake. While Clemson’s offense consistently moved the ball on Alabama throughout the game, it felt the opposite for the Tide’s offense. Clemson shut down Alabama for longer stretches, but the coverage breakdowns allowed the Crimson Tide to not just stay in the game, but ultimately win it.

Duke Blue Devils

Good – While 2015 saw the fewest wins from the Duke football team in the last three years, it’s hard not to consider an 8-5 season a success for a basketball school. To top it off, they had the aforementioned bowl win against Indiana, a 44-41 OT thriller. It just so happened to be the first bowl win in 55 years.

Bad – The Blue Devils were riding high at one point, sitting at a stellar 6-1. Then the Miami game happened. And the last play lateral controversy happened. Duke didn’t handle the outcome of that ending well and it showed. They went on a slide that saw them lose three more games with the defense getting torched in all three.

Ugly – Duke had the unfortunate position of having to face a rival following that Miami game. Normally heading to Chapel Hill for a football game isn’t something you’d worry too much about, but this year happened to be the one wear Larry Fedora had the Tar Heels’ offense humming. The Blue Devils had their worst defensive performance in a year that was full of bad ones, giving up 66 points and over 700 yards in a game that was 38-10 at halftime.

Florida State Seminoles

Good – There are never really lowered expectations at Florida State, but after losing Jameis Winston and a plethora of defensive talent to the NFL, it’s hard not to consider the Seminole’s season a success considering the drop-off in QB play. Winning ten games in a down year tells you your program is in a good place. The brightest spot of the season had to be Dalvin Cook. Cook dazzled every time he was on the field and if not for a hamstring injury may have been a Heisman finalist.

Bad – Injuries. Cook’s injury was the biggest bummer for Seminoles fans. He only had 229 carries on the year (about 5 games for Alabama’s Derrick Henry) and basically missed two full games, robbing him of a shot at 2,000 yards. QB Sean Maguire’s injury in the bowl game was another tough one. While Maguire didn’t take over until the second half of the season and didn’t play all that great once he did, he was a reshirt junior who had waited a while for his chance. After waiting around another half of a season thanks to Everett Golson showing up, he was able to lead the Seminoles to a New Year’s Six bowl game but got hurt early on. He was able to finish the game but his play was clearly impacted by the injury.

Ugly – That bowl game. Maguire may have played injured, but that wasn’t the reason Florida State lost. Other aspects of the team were abysmal and it was clear Florida State was not nearly as amped up to be there as Houston. FSU rushed for just 16 yards and had five turnovers which were only partially to blame for giving up 38 points to an offense that had Greg Ward Jr. and not much else.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Good – Ugh..Umm. Can anybody help here? The Yellow Jackets had a dismal season from the start. One bright spot however was that Paul Johnson’s triple-option attack still resulted in the 7th most rushing yards per game in the country.

Bad – Here’s another team that more than struggled on the defensive side of the ball. The Yellow Jackets couldn’t put pressure on the quarterback (121st in sacks) or create turnovers (T-92nd in interceptions). The defense was at its worst during a five game mid-season stretch that saw them allow over 30 points in each game.

Ugly – This whole year couldn’t get over soon enough. Tech started the year in the Top 25 and after beating two doormats by a combined 134-16 to start the year it was hard to tell anything was wrong. After being ranked 14th heading into Week 3, the Yellow Jackets went 1-9 in their last ten games with their only win coming in improbable fashion, scoring a touchdown off a blocked field goal as time expired.

Louisville Cardinals

Good – The Cardinals began the year on some sleeper lists but that was quickly vanquished after starting 0-3. Though the opening season loss to Auburn isn’t exactly one to put on the resume, looking back the three-point losses to Houston and Clemson don’t look so bad. It would have been easy to fold after that start, but the Cardinals bounced back by finishing strong and winning eight of their last ten games.

Bad – You would expect teams to play worse on the road, but Louisville definitely underwhelmed away from home considering the talent level on the team. A couple of single-digit wins over NC State and Wake Forest hardly make up for getting crushed at Florida State and losing by 11 against Pitt.

Ugly – For a Bobby Petrino-led team, the offense was awfully hard to watch at times. Petrino couldn’t settle on a quarterback and it seemed like no matter if Lamar Jackson or Kyle Bolin were behind center, the offense could never find consistency. Jackson often dazzled as a runner, but was nowhere near good enough as a passer to provide the type of threat we’ve come accustomed to seeing out of Petrino passing attacks.

Miami Hurricanes

Good – The improvement of young offensive players. The Hurricanes started an incredibly young offensive line in its bowl game. Though the team lost, the line wasn’t a disaster and bodes well heading into next season. Sophomore RB Joe Yearby quietly surpassed 1,000 yards on almost five yards per carry and should grow with the offensive line. The brightest sign however was the improvement of sophomore QB Brad Kaaya. Kaaya improved his completion percentage and threw one less interception on 11 more throws.

Bad – Head Coach Al Golden was fired. While in the long run this was probably needed for the program, it’s a definite sign that things aren’t going well if the coach is getting fired.

Ugly – Part of the reason Golden got fired? How about a 58-0 loss to Clemson. At home. I don’t care who you’re playing, if you are a Power 5 conference team you shouldn’t lose by this much, especially at home. This game was embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing was Miami giving up 59 in a 38 point loss to North Carolina. Those two games put a dark cloud over an otherwise solid 8-4 regular season.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Good – The Tar Heels had one of the best seasons in school history, going 11-3 and not losing a conference game until the ACC Championship against title runner-up Clemson. It was led by a balanced and explosive offense that finished 11th in the country in scoring at 41 points per game.

Bad – Thanks to UNC’s loss to Clemson in the conference championship game, their opening season loss to South Carolina didn’t cost them an undefeated season and shot at the playoff. But man was that a bad loss. South Carolina went on to be a dumpster fire, with Steve Spurrier quitting in the middle of the year. Somehow that high-scoring Tar Heel offense was held to just 13 points by a team that’s only other wins on the year came against UCF and Vandy.

Ugly – UNC managed to one-up its opening season loss with its bowl performance, bookending its season with an equally embarrassing loss to Baylor. As good as the offense had been all year, the defense was just as bad if not worse in the bowl game. Going up against a team that had seemingly every offensive playmakers out and wasn’t a threat to pass, the Tar Heels allowed the Bears to rush for a bowl record 645 yards.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Good – NC State was a mediocre team, just as their 7-6 record would have you believe. But unlike other undermanned squads (ahem, Miami) the Wolfpack didn’t roll over against superior competition. NC State brought their A game when they had to, losing by a respectable 17 at Doak Campbell against Florida State, by 15 to Clemson, and just 11 to North Carolina after giving their rival a scare for much of that game.

Bad – Overall it was a disappointing year, but particularly for Jacoby Brissett. Brissett came out of high school as a somewhat highly regarded prospect and after transferring to NC State following two years at Florida, he put up 23 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions for the Wolfpack in 2014 while adding over 500 yards on the ground. Because of this, he came into 2015 with some deep sleeper Heisman buzz and high hopes for his team. It never came together for either as the senior QB saw a regression in almost every passing category.

Ugly – The kicking game. Teams like Florida have gotten more national attention for their kicking woes, but NC State was right there with them, resulting in the team attempting the 7th most 4th down conversions in the country. Nothing outside of 30 yards was a gimme, as just 6/9 field goals from 30-39 yards were converted and a grand total of zero field goals made from beyond 37 yards.

Pittsburgh Panthers

Good – The run game for the Panthers showed that it isn’t just a one-man show. Lead back James Conner went down in the first game after running for 1,700 yards and 26 touchdowns last year. With an iffy passing attack, it was fare to wonder how Pitt would score. But Qadre Ollison stepped in and was a nice surprise, leading the Panthers ground attack finishing with a more than respectable 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns on 5.3 ypc.

Bad – Pitt had a good regular season, going 8-4 and hovering around the fringe of the Top 25 for much of the year. That’s what made the team’s bowl performance so disappointing. Even with extra weeks to prepare for Navy’s triple option offense, the Panthers defense was trampled, giving up four touchdowns to Keenan Reynolds.

Ugly – As nice of a surprise as the running game was post-Conner, the passing “attack” was not a surprise. It was awful. Pitt finished 95th in passing yards per game, a number you’d expect to see from a team like Georgia Tech or Navy. Further illustrating how ineffective the passing game was, the Panthers threw for less than 200 yards in 8 of the team’s 13 games.

Syracuse Orangemen

Good – They say you need to defend home turf. Well as limited as Syracuse was talent wise, they did everything they could to give the hometown faithful something to cheer about. ‘Cuse went 4-3 at home with those three losses coming to Pittsburgh by just three, Clemson by just ten and LSU by just ten as well. That’s how you keep the Carrier Dome rockin’.

Bad – Ok maybe “rockin” wasn’t the right term for Syracuse home games. Though the Orangemen kept things close against good teams, it certainly wasn’t keeping the fans awake with an exciting offense. They struggled to score points and even though they ran the ball 139 more times than they passed it, they still only finished 76th in rushing yards per game.

Ugly – They must have spent all of their energy during home games, because Syracuse road games usually weren’t close. They lost all five contests away from home by an average of 18 points.

Virginia Cavaliers

Good – There wasn’t much to cheer about for Cavaliers fans in a season that resulted in the team hiring a new coach, but Taquan Mizzell was a lone bright spot. Mizzell showed play-making abilities that at least gave fans hopes of a big play when the ball was in his hands. A running back, Mizzell actually had more yards receiving (721) than rushing (671) but scored four times each via both methods.

Bad – Like most bad teams, they can usual salvage something at the end of a bad season by beating a rival. Virginia had that opportunity in the season finale against Virginia Tech in a game they had control of in the fourth quarter. A defensive meltdown and turnovers allowed the Hokies to take it to over time and get the comeback win. On top of it, it gave Frank Beamer the opportunity to do this.

Ugly – Usually for bad Power 5 teams, the offense or defense is at least average. This was not the case for Virginia, where there was little hope no matter what side of the ball was on the field. Their scoring offense finished 93rd in the nation. Not to be outdone, the defense was 96th.

Virginia Tech Hokies

Good – Virginia Tech has slid from ACC powerhouse to mediocrity for the last few years and 2015 was no different. Considering Frank Beamer basically built the program, it was nice for the Hokies to not only get that comeback win against rival Virginia, but also send Beamer into retirement with a win, notching a 55-52 victory in their bowl game.

Bad – Even though the Hokies haven’t been relevant on the national scene in a while, folks in Blacksburg could still always rely on the defense to be nasty and make difficult for even the best of the opponents. But even that slipped in Beamer’s final year where the Hokies had just the 47th best scoring defense.

UglyBeamer dabbing, again. And I’m not just one of those people who hates what “the kids are doing these days” but I can’t stand the Dab to begin with and Beamer’s rendition frankly makes me cringe.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Good – Wake Forest was probably the toughest team to find something good for. I think QB John Wolford did enough to give Demon Deacon fans some hope for the future. Given that he was just a sophomore, he did about as reasonably well as you could expect in a five-game stretch that included games at North Carolina, home to Louisville, at Notre Dame, and at Clemson.

Bad – Believe it or not, Wake was actually 3-3 at one point with their eyes on a potential bowl bid. Their wins weren’t anything to write home about but they also played tough against Indiana and Florida State. And then reality hit and the team lost their last six, most in ugly fashion.

Ugly – 120th in scoring, as a Power 5 team, is unacceptable. Oh and 33 PLAYERS had more rushing yards than Wake Forest had as a team all season.

 

 

Featured Image courtesy of Lauren Nelson

FSU vs Houston; ACC Wrap Up

The #8 Florida State Seminoles have landed in the Chic-Fil-A Peach bowl, and will face the #18 Houston Cougars at noon on December 31st. At 10-2, the Seminoles have had a great season if you take into account the type of year that was expected, and the questions they have faced at a couple key positions. The Seminoles are still coming off their biggest win of the season, and head into late December playing the best football they’ve played all year.

Some Seminole fans were a bit disappointed that they didn’t end up playing a more glamorous opponent, but once you look at this Houston team it becomes apparent that they will give the Seminoles a few problems in the game.

The first and most obvious is Houston’s rush defense. With the Seminoles, the buck stops with Dalvin Cook and their running attack. Behind Cook, the Seminoles offense averaged 5.4 yards per carry, which ranks them at 14th in the country in yards per carry. Houston’s defense, ranks 8th in defending that same category, allowing only 3.3 yards per carry to opponents. If Houston wants to win this game they will need to win this matchup, and by win I don’t necessarily mean completely shut down Cook, but Houston will need to bottle him up and limit his effectiveness if they want to be in the game by the end. Fortunately for Houston they have a defense capable of doing this, as they held the #2 rushing offense in the nation, Navy, to only 147 yards on the ground when they averaged 330 yards per game for the season.

Houston’s QB Greg Ward Jr. will also give the Seminole defense their own fair share of problems. Ward at quarterback has completed 68% of his passes this season for 16 TD’s and only 5 INT’s, these are pretty good stats, but when you add in the fact that he is also their leading rusher with 1,041 yards on the season, you start to see why this guy is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country. These are the exact kind of quarterbacks that have given Seminole defenses problems in the past. If you look at just this season, the two games the Seminoles lost have come by the hands of Justin Thomas and Deshaun Watson, but additionally in the past we’ve seen Marcus Mariota, Jacoby Brissett, and even Everett Golson give the ‘Noles problems.

Maguire will be the difference maker against Houston's 111th ranked pass defense
Maguire will be the difference maker against Houston’s 111th-ranked pass defense

With these things in mind, I think it will be a much closer game than many people anticipate. My bold prediction for this game, is that quarterback Sean Maguire for the Seminoles will have a break out game and be the reason why the Seminoles beat Houston. Maguire has been steady in the second half of the season, but he hasn’t put together a performance that has completely erased doubts about who should start at quarterback. I think the Seminoles will be put in a few third and long situations during the game, and Maguire’s play will help table the effectiveness of Houston’s rush defense. Maguire will prove to Seminole fans that he should have been the starter all season long.

Here’s what’s happening in the ACC:

CLEMSON DEFEATS UNC: PLAYOFF BERTH

Clemson defeated North Carolina 45-37 in the ACC Championship Game, to win the ACC and clinch a berth into the 2015 College Playoffs. The game ended with a terrible offside call that eliminated an onside kick recovery by UNC that would have allowed the Tarheels a chance to tie the game. Nonetheless the referees called an invisible offside, and the Tigers were able to wind the clock down. #1 Clemson now will face #4 Oklahoma in the Capital One Orange Bowl December 31st at 4pm. This game will put two of the best quarterbacks in the country against each other between potential Heisman winner Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield.

MIAMI HIRES MARK RICHT

After firing Al Golden, Miami had been looking for the best successor, and found exactly that in Mark Richt. Georgia fired Richt after a couple down seasons, and basically by the time the news broke he was hired by Miami. This is a great fit for a couple reasons; Richt played at Miami, and Miami had been looking for a high-profile name to lead their team. It seems as if this is the hire all Miami fans have been waiting for, and they seem poised to return to former glory with a coach like Mark Richt at the helm.

ACC HAS NINE BOWL TEAMS

The ACC has enjoyed a pretty successful season as a whole, culminating in nine teams playing in bowl games this year. Among the teams in bowl games are Miami, Duke, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, NC State, Louisville, Florida State and Clemson. The ACC as a whole is a top-heavy conference, with only three top-25 teams, however all three of them are in the top ten. These three teams, #1 Clemson, #9 Florida State, and #10 UNC will play against #4 Oklahoma, #18 Houston and #17 Baylor, respectively in their bowl games.

Legacy Lines – 10/9/15: Old Series, New Conference Rivalry

Editors note: Hollis Oliver McLain, III (@HollisOliverIII) will be publishing a series of articles throughout the season on some of college football’s most storied programs. This year, we’ve selected Alabama, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA and Virginia Tech. On Tuesday’s you’ll get important links about each program (Legacy Links) and on Friday’s you’ll get important story lines and a game preview of one team (Legacy Lines). Follow each of these stories here , and get your latest news when you need it.

Let’s all take a moment to recognize that the college football season is already five games in, and most teams are playing their sixth game this weekend. After all the waiting we all did over the spring and summer, the sport we love most is about half way over, and that sucks. However, as the air starts to turn cold and dry, football is just heating up. Our Legacy programs continue to hit their conference schedules running, and there is still a ton of football left to watch.

With rivalries such as Tennessee vs. Georgia and Alabama vs. Arkansas highlighting the SEC weekend and Penn State vs. Indiana, Texas vs. Oklahoma and UCLA vs. Stanford also on the schedule, look for some close, gritty wins out of our Legacy Programs’.

Headlining the Legacy Line game of the week is NC State vs. Virginia Tech. Be careful though, because this game kicks off at 8 p.m. tonight, FRIDAY. At first glance, this ACC battle wouldn’t be on the monitor of most college football fans, mainly because these two teams haven’t played much recently. The Wolfpack and the Hokies’ have only faced each other four times since NC State joined the ACC about a decade ago. However, the series between these two schools goes all the way back to 1900, which was a Hokie road win.

These two teams have squared off 48 times, and the Hokies have the edge by several games. Not only do the Hokies have the upper hand in the series, but Frank Beamer has only lost to the Wolfpack twice in his almost 30 year tenure as the head coach in Blacksburg.

The last time that these two teams played was in 2010, in Raleigh. If this tells you anything about how long ago it was, the starting quarterbacks for VT and NC State were Tyrod Taylor and Russell Wilson, respectively. While I’m sure that the schools would like to have some extra eligibility for those two, now pro quarterbacks, they will have to work with what they have. This game is a big game for both of these teams, and the winner will get to .500 in conference play while the losing team will be struggling at 0-2 in the ACC. Although these two teams haven’t looked especially strong so far, a win here would go a long way for both teams.

Even though each of these teams suffered an ugly loss in conference play last weekend, VT’s loss to Pitt was extremely more painful, as the Hokies could barely get 100 yards of total offense. In this day and age, you have to move the ball better if you hope to win. This game will come down to which offense can exploit the others’ defense. Yes, that may sound a tad obvious, but with Virginia Tech’s depleted secondary, NC State sees an opportunity to take advantage of the deep passing game. If Jacoby Brissett can make it his goal to attack the secondary and make them stay honest, then Matt Dayes will be there to take a HB draw to the house when Virginia Tech’s secondary backs off. On the opposite sideline, Virginia Tech needs their quarterback back, badly. Michael Brewer, after an early season injury, has been cleared to play, but is still questionable for the game Saturday. If the Hokies can get Brewer on the field, they will have a much greater chance at success simply because Brewer is a passing threat. Otherwise, NC State will just load the box and stop the run. The key to victory for Virginia Tech’s defense is to disrupt Jacoby Brissett in the pocket. If they can get in some awkward positions or back foot throws, then VT could end up with a couple short fields.

This game is hard to gauge, but I think Beamer ball ends up with a big win due to solid quarterback play. I’ll take the Hokies 27-24 in a close one.

ACC Weekend Wrap Up 9/22

Coastal

Miami – Miami managed to escape Nebraska this weekend with an interception in overtime that essentially ended the game. Miami looked like they had the game wrapped up with a 23-point lead in the 4th quarter, when Nebraska rallied to force overtime. Losing a 23-point lead is never a good thing, but as QB Brad Kaaya said, “We won the game, that’s all that matters.” Miami heads into their bye week at 3-0.

Georgia Tech – Georgia Tech suffered a tough 30-22 defeat to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Even though they ended up losing by eight points, the score doesn’t really reflect the outcome of the game. Notre Dame and their front-seven controlled Georgia Tech’s triple-option run game for the whole game, and Notre Dame’s new quarterback played a pretty good game against the Yellow Jackets. This game represented something that is the downfall of a run based team, once you get down early it is hard to comeback. Georgia Tech faces Duke on the road this weekend.

Duke – Duke lost 19-10 in their first real test this year against a surprisingly good Northwestern team. This game was decided by a couple long touchdowns for Northwestern that Duke could never overcome as they only scored 10 points in the contest. Now 2-1, Duke has a big test in Georgia Tech coming into town. With a victory Duke is right back in conference contention, a loss could be detrimental to the team’s season outlook.

North Carolina – QB Marquise Williams led the Tarheels to victory behind his 3 touchdown passes and 100 rushing yards, beating Illinois handily 48-14. A lot of the Tarheels success this season will depend on how well Williams plays, and if he plays as well as he did this weekend the future is bright for this team. North Carloina faces Delaware this weekend with a tough matchup against Georgia Tech looming in two weeks.

Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Iowa Hawkeyes. After a game-tying touchdown with 50 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Iowa traveled down the field and scored on a 57-yard field goal as time expired. After going down 10-0 to start the game, Pittsburgh came back to tie the game after a five minute 75-yard drive in the fourth quarter that ended up not being enough for the Panthers. Heading into their bye week 2-1, the team looks to rebound before they travel to Virginia Tech next weekend.

Virginia Tech – Virginia Tech pulled away from Purdue in the second half, ultimately cruising to a 51-24 victory. Brenden Motley played well for the Hokies passing for 220 yards and 2 TD’s while also having a rushing TD and no turnovers. Hokie fans hope Motley can continue his play from this game into the future after replacing the injured Michael Brewer. Virginia Tech plays against East Carolina on the road this Saturday.

Virginia – Virginia won their first game of the season after a brutal schedule to start, defeating William and Mary 35-29. Heading into the fourth leading 35-20, Virginia was unable to score again as William and Mary mounted their comeback. William and Mary got to Virginia’s 30 yard line with a minute left, but turned the ball over on downs to give Virginia their first win. Virginia plays another tough opponent in Boise State this weekend.

Atlantic

Clemson – Clemson managed to hold onto a game that they probably should have lost last Thursday. Louisville failed to score at the end of the fourth after Clemson allowed them a couple of chances to grab the lead. At 3-0, Clemson heads into their bye week getting ready for their tough test against the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a game that features #11 Clemson and #6 Notre Dame.

Florida State – Florida State shutout Boston College 14-0, relying on their defense the whole game. With the Seminoles’ offense sputtering and only scoring seven points, defensive standout Jalen Ramsey picked up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown that ended up sealing the game. Running back Dalvin Cook was injured in the game, but says that he is fine going forward. The Seminoles head into their by week 3-0, with their next game being Wake Forest on the road.

Syracuse – Syracuse defeated Central Michigan in overtime 30-27 with Jordan Frederick’s touchdown to seal it. At 3-0 Syracuse is in control of their destiny in the Atlantic division. Syracuse faces Leonard Fournette and #8 LSU at home this weekend.

NC State – NC State cruised to a 38-14 victory over Old Dominion and are now sitting at 3-0 after a pretty easy schedule to start the season. Jacoby Brissett has started the season without a turnover, and running back Matthew Dayes has had three straight 100-yard rushing games to start the season. NC State faces Southern Alabama before their first real test against Louisville in two weeks.

Boston College – Boston College lost 14-0 to the Seminoles in a game where their starting quarterback Darius Wade broke his ankle, forcing him out for the remainder of the season. This is a tough blow for the Eagles as they had a team that could surprise a few people, centered around their tough defense. It is uncertain who will be the starter for Boston College when they take on a Northern Illinois team that took Ohio State to the finish last weekend.

Wake Forest – Wake Forest defeated Army with a 47-yard field goal as the game expired. Wake Forest scored all of their points in the second half behind quarterback Kendall Hinton’s two rushing touchdowns. It wasn’t a good game for Hinton passing the ball as he threw two interceptions and no touchdowns, but he made up for it with his 101 yards on the ground. Wake Forest takes on Indiana this weekend leading up to their matchup against #10 FSU in two weeks.

Louisville – Louisville lost a tough game against Clemson after having a few chances in the fourth to tie the game. Louisville missed a game-tying field goal with two minutes left and threw an interception with time expiring. At 0-3, it has been a tough start to the season for Louisville, losing all of their games by only one score. They look to get their first victory at home against Samford this weekend.

Florida State Faces a Tougher Challenge Than it Seems

No matter how much people want to knock the University of Florida Gators, whether it be their coach, quarterback or overall record, the Gators, based off of regular season records, are going to be the third best team that the Seminoles have faced this year. Only Louisville and Clemson have fewer losses than Florida, with Florida only having one more loss than the prior two teams. Notre Dame was ranked 5th when the Noles faced them, but have since lost four of their past five games. When you add in the fact that the Gators are in the SEC, and the Noles haven’t convinced anyone that they are world-beaters, this game starts to become a bit scarier for the Seminoles.

This game will be the same kind of challenge that the Seminoles have had all year, containing the run game, and not allowing themselves to get in a hole from the start, a task that has almost become almost impossible for the Noles. In the Gators, the Seminoles will face a team that has pretty poor quarterback play, and relies on their running game and defense to beat teams. As has been the case for most of the year, the run defense for the Seminoles will be crucial to determining the outcome of the game. If the Seminoles allow the Gators backfield of Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor to dictate the pace of the game, the Gators will be in business. Conversely, if the Seminoles can keep these two running backs in check and not allow every first down run attempt to go for six yards (like the Miami game), and can keep Florida’s quarterback Treon Harris from having manageable second and third downs, than it will be very hard for the Gators to move down the field.

Containing QB Treon Harris and the Gator's running attack will be crucial for the Seminoles
Containing QB Treon Harris and the Gator’s running attack will be crucial for the Seminoles

In addition, if the Gators running game doesn’t establish the run, I don’t anticipate Treon Harris having much success against the Seminoles secondary. Harris has been an average quarterback at best, but with Harris, the passing game isn’t exactly what scares you, it’s his legs. The Seminoles have had trouble containing mobile quarterbacks throughout the year, pointing specifically towards Notre Dame’s Everett Golson and NC State’s Jacoby Brissett. If the Seminoles don’t stay disciplined on defense, meaning not allowing receivers to get open when plays break down and can keep Treon Harris from escaping the pocket, the Gators will have to feel pretty good about their chances of beating the Seminoles.

This game is more than just an undefeated team playing a team trying to end their playoff hopes. These two teams know each other, hate each other and each team has much more on the line than just the win-loss column. Almost every player in this game has been recruited by the opposite team, and most of the players on each team are familiar with the other team’s players, as most of these kids have played against each other in high school. Emotions will be riding high, and pride will be on the line in this game. In an intense rivalry game like this you know that each team will be fired up and will bring their A-game, it will be important for the Seminoles not to get caught up in all of this, as this would play right in to Florida’s hand.

I’m looking for Jameis Winston to come out swinging, and the Seminoles defense to hold up against Florida’s running attack. I believe this game will come down to the fourth quarter, as almost every Florida State game has, with a couple of momentum swinging plays determining the outcome of the game. I do see Florida State winning this game, but it is definitely a scarier matchup for the Seminoles than it is on paper.

5 Things You Should Know About Florida Football's QB Situation

Reporters and analysts are increasingly critical of current starting QB Jeff Driskel and Coach Will Muschamp’s decision to stand firmly behind him. Social media is buzzing this week about Florida’s quarterback situation. “#FreeTreon” (in reference to freshman QB Treon Harris) and “#BenchDriskel” have been thrown around on Facebook and Twitter. But ultimately, social media doesn’t decide who starts for the Florida Gators next weekend in Tennessee. The reporters and analysts don’t get a say in the decision either. It all comes down to Coach Muschamp. But before you make a decision regarding your opinion on the situation one way or another, I think there are five key things you should know.

All four of the Florida quarterbacks split reps during a practice. (Photo: Tim Casey)
All four of the Florida quarterbacks split reps during a practice. (Photo: Tim Casey)

1) Driskel’s performance

So far this season, Driskel’s performance has been less than impressive. Though the Gators did put up 65 points against Eastern Michigan, there wasn’t too much to be impressed by on his part. Though he had a pretty good completion percentage completing 31 of 45 pass attempts, he only threw for one touchdown and didn’t rush for any. Against Kentucky the next week, he complete 25 of 43 passes, throwing for three TDS. In that game, he did also throw an interception. And though the Gators were victorious in that game, it took a shocking three overtime periods for them to overcome the Kentucky Wildcats, which just about nobody expected. That was followed by a pitiful showing in Tuscaloosa last weekend. Driskel completed only 9 of 28 pass attempts and also threw two ill-advised interceptions. On the bright side, he did have a rushing TD. Those are only three games out of his entire career, though. And because you don’t need to know every number he put up in every game he started, I’ll sum it up with his average stats for 2013 (before he was injured against Tennessee), 2012, and 2011 (when he was Brantley’s backup). In 2013, his completion percentage averaged out to 68.9%, he threw two TDS, threw three INTs (one of which was on the play during which he was injured), and his adjusted QBR was 42.1. In 2012, his completion percentage was 63.7%, he threw 12 TDS, threw 5 INTs, and his adjusted QBR was 56.0. In 2011, his completion percentage was 47.1%, he threw no TDS, threw 2 INTs, and his adjusted QBR was 7.4. He was arguably a decent starting QB in the 2012 season, but is that one season enough to justify still starting him now?

2) Who is Treon Harris?

Who is the backup QB that Gator fans are crying out to see? He’s a 5’11, 178-lb freshman from Miami, FL. Throughout his high school career from 2011-2013 at Booker T. Washington, he completed 375 of 602 passes for 6,323 yards and 78 TDs. He threw 16 INTs but also rushed for a total of 2,266 yards and 44 TDs. He chose Florida over offers from Florida State, Auburn, Miami, and Alabama just to name a few. During the home opener game against Eastern Michigan, he attempted two passes. Both passes were spot-on and led to touchdowns. He clearly has A LOT of potential.

3) Potential downsides to benching Driskel for Harris

There are a few potential downsides to benching Driskel and allowing Harris to play instead. Obviously, Harris is a freshman and is therefore very inexperienced at the college level. This inexperience may show versus SEC opponents. One advantage that Florida does have in playing Harris is the other teams don’t have any film on him to study…YET. But as soon as the Gators start playing him consistently, there will be film and teams will know how to prepare for him. There’s also the size difference between Harris and Driskel that can be seen as a disadvantage. Driskel has about five inches and 50 lbs on him, which comes in handy against hard-hitting SEC defenses. Lastly, there’s Driskel’s confidence to consider. If Muschamp were to bench him and allow Treon Harris to play only to have something happen to Harris or for Harris to be even worse than Driskel, then Driskel wouldn’t be the same player coming back in. That being said, after being criticized by Florida legend Emmitt Smith, Driskel’s confidence probably isn’t that high already.

4) Notable QBs that have left Florida and gone on to be successful elsewhere

Here’s what I find so interesting about the situation. In the past two years, Driskel has been given the vote of confidence over two other talented QBs. Those QBs both eventually transferred to different schools. Jacoby Brissett went to NC State and Tyler Murphy left for Boston College. Tyler Murphy led the Eagles to an upset win over USC a couple weeks ago and currently has a significantly higher adjusted QBR than Driskel ever has averaged in a season here. Jacoby Brissett has led the Wolfpack to a 4-0 start, has a higher adjusted QBR than Driskel has ever averaged, and has already thrown for 10 TDs this season. Granted, they’ve played one more game than Florida has and they’ve also played weaker opponents. The fact still stands that TWO highly-recruited QBs have left Florida because Mushcamp is and has always been set on Driskel and now both of those QBs are performing at a high level, probably at a higher level than Driskel.

5) Mushcamp’s seat is getting hotter

This leads me to the last point in my Florida QB rant. Muschamp’s seat is burning up. He was on the hot seat to start the season but I’m pretty sure by now his seat must be on fire. When questioned last weekend and this week about why he starts Driskel he says that Driskel “gives us the best opportunity to win right now.” But I’m honestly not so sure he really knows who gives ‘us” the best opportunity to win after seeing those last two backup QBs leave Florida and become successful. It is admirable in many ways that he is standing by Driskel, but if Driskel keeps underperforming this season and Muschamp keeps starting him over Treon Harris, Muschamp is as good as gone. In fact, it’ll almost seem like Muschamp wanted to be fired.
To sum it up, it is clear that Florida can survive and be a decent team with Jeff Driskel as the starting QB. But what also seems pretty obvious to me and almost the entire Gator Nation at this point is that Florida will not be GREAT with Jeff Driskel as the starting QB. And if Florida isn’t great, Muschamp’s seat will gradually heat up throughout the season until he eventually loses his job. Then what? So I hope to see Harris receiving more snaps and eventually being a starter because part of me still believes in Florida football and still believes in Will Muschamp.