The FSU head coach talked about Wake WR Greg Dortch and gave a team health update ahead of this weekend’s game.
Curt Weiler, Tallahassee Democrat
It was hardly a normal bye week for Florida State.
The Seminoles practiced Monday and Tuesday as expected, but were forced to move their Wednesday practice to the weekend with Hurricane Michael looming over the Tallahassee area.
Although most of the team was out of town for a few days to avoid the brunt of the storm while the coaching staff was on the road recruiting, it was still viewed as a productive week off.
“We were able to go back and evaluate what we did well in the first half of the season and what we did wrong and if they want to still continue to try to correct some of those things that we did wrong and make it better and then build off of things that we did right,” FSU head coach Willie Taggart said of the bye week.
“More importantly, we just continued to work on ourselves and trying to make sure that we understand what we’re doing and making sure that we don’t make those mistakes that have been killing us.”
This is a different FSU team than the one that was embarrassed in a 30-7 loss at Syracuse back in mid-September.
There was notable progress on the field over the ensuing three weeks.
However, FSU is only halfway to the six wins it needs to make a 37th consecutive bowl game at the halfway point of the season.
That’s what made a return to the fundamentals so important during the one week of the season where the team doesn’t need to gameplan for that weekend.
“You’ve got to do a great job of still improving the techniques, fundamentals, really getting back to kind of fall camp basics again,” FSU offensive coordinator Walt Bell said of the bye week priorities.
“Not that we don’t do techniques and fundamentals every day, but just going back and reiterating things from the first six weeks that we struggled with.
“Trying to just do self-improvement more than anything else on top of managing health and making sure that we’re prepared to go do what we need to do for the last half of the season.”
Added FSU offensive lineman Cole Minshew, “It helped me a lot. Any time you get a little break and get to go home and go see your family, you just feel rejuvenated. You come back just ready to work.”
The bad side of the timing of FSU’s bye week was that it came immediately after the Seminoles blew a 20-point halftime lead against the Miami Hurricanes.
That didn’t seem to have an impact on FSU’s mindset through the bye week.
“Our guys put it behind them and came to practice with the right attitude, and the attitude was to get better. And I think that all started in meetings, not just in practice,” Taggart said.
“It’s a learning lesson for our football team and a hard way to learn, but we gotta take those things and make sure we practice and prepare and make sure that those things don’t happen again.”
This week presents perhaps the final chance to fix the offensive issues against a less-than-stellar defense.
Wake Forest enters this weekend allowing over seven yards per play against FBS opponents, second-worst among Power-Five programs.
“I thought us throwing the ball down the field, stretching the field has been pretty good for us when we do do it,” Taggart said of the FSU offense.
“We’ve got to make sure we stay true to who we say we’re going to be and just staying consistent with the run game. It hasn’t worked for us like we wanted to, partially because we haven’t really stayed consistent with it.
“I think staying consistent with it opens up a lot of things within our offense, and we gotta continue to do those things and continue building the identity of who we’re going to be.”
With the rest of the difficult schedule looming ahead, the Wake Forest game has also emerged as something of a must-win if FSU is going to extend its NCAA record streak of consecutive bowl appearances to 37 years.
“We’ve got to prepare and make sure we go out and play our very best to have a very good homecoming,” Taggart said.
Added FSU running back Jacques Patrick, “ACC games are always important to win and it’s at Doak so we want to protect home field obviously so it’s a very important game for us.
“Looking to come out victorious. “
Florida State vs. Wake Forest
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium
TV/Radio: ESPN2/103.1 FM