While Florida State sputters along offensively, one area has seen a big improvement.
Through three weeks, the Seminoles have yet to turn over the ball on offense, its only giveaway coming on a muffed punt. The Seminoles are the only team in the Atlantic Coast Conference without an offensive turnover.
While Everett Golson’s introduction to Jimbo Fisher’s offense has had its bumps, mostly on his reads, he has handled the ball 93 times (75 pass attempts, 18 rushes) without a turnover.
After throwing 14 interceptions and losing eight fumbles last season at Notre Dame, Golson’s ability to protect the football was one of the biggest concerns entering the season.
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Golson, who has thrown six TD passes, is 29th nationally with a passing efficiency rating of 155.8.
But after the offense accounted for just one score — on an 83-yard drive to start the game — and 217 yards of total offense against Boston College, Fisher continued to say the Seminoles are a work in progress.
“We’re going to have to get better all year,” he said. “I knew that.”
The problem in the first half two weeks ago against South Florida was more Golson looking uncomfortable and out of sync while missing open receivers. The biggest issue against Boston College last Friday was an offensive line that was dominated by the Eagles’ front seven.
Golson was on the run all game, rarely having the luxury to sit in the pocket and go through his progressions.
“We’ve got to do a better job in our protection game,” Fisher said. “We turned some guys loose up there. We’ve got to get better up front so we can find our true identity. We’re going to have balance. We’re going to run, we’re going to throw.”
While Golson was sacked twice, he avoided at least two others with his athleticism, including a highlight-reel play in which he spun out of two tackles in the end zone and picked up 14 yards. If he had been sacked for a safety, the entire tone of the game could have been changed.
Fisher seemed most concerned with Golson’s problems running the zone read. Golson did not look comfortable when given the option, often making the wrong decision with the football.
The biggest red flag came on back-to-back plays late in the game when Golson had the option of handing the ball to Dalvin Cook or pulling it back. Both times, he handed off and Cook immediately was smothered for a loss of 4 yards and a loss of 5.
“The quarterback should have pulled it,” Fisher said.
With a week off, Fisher will have Golson looking at plenty of film in the next few days.