FSU offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham talks quarterbacks, ground game, more

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Rivals.com - Florida State 08 September, 2021 - 01:56pm 9 views

What was Mckenzie Milton injury?

While carrying the ball on Nov. 23, 2018, Milton was hit in the knee by the helmet of a diving USF player, suffering a dislocated right knee along with ligament, artery and nerve damage that threatened the amputation of his leg. At this time, he was mere games away from the likely start of his professional career. Tallahassee.comMcKenzie Milton's long-awaited return at Florida State was a moment years in the making

Why is Mckenzie Milton not playing?

He suffered a setback in July 2019 when he got an infection, which required another surgery and prolonged his recovery an additional six months. Milton was finally able to return to play in October 2020; he was listed on UCF's roster, but did not play a game. Sporting NewsWhat happened to McKenzie Milton? Quarterback returns to football after career-threatening knee injury

And it was perhaps a bad snap away from pulling off an epic fourth-quarter comeback on Sunday night vs. Notre Dame.

Still, Kenny Dillingham was far from ecstatic with how the Seminoles played overall against the Fighting Irish.

Like head coach Mike Norvell, the second-year FSU offensive coordinator loved the fight and effort his players showed in the near-win. But there were plenty of things to clean up as well.

*** Don't miss our exclusive FSU football coverage. 30-day Free Trial***

In his interview following Wednesday's practice, Dillingham talked about first-down struggles, the quarterback play, the running game, Notre Dame's surprising early defensive looks and much more.

Here are some highlights from that interview session.

"Horrible on first down, to be brutally honest. Those were the drives we didn't score. On the first drive of the game, defensively, that's a good football coach (Notre Dame's Marcus Freeman). He came out in something he's never done in his years being a coordinator in the past. And we didn't have a good opening drive. It wasn't a good opening script. We didn't put our players in a good position to succeed. ... And then we had two false starts on first down; we had two different (missed assignments) on first downs. So, those killed us within a drive.

"That was kind of the tale of the first half. That first half, we had four or five drives where that play was just catastrophic. ... So, I put a lot of that on me. We've got to improve that on early downs, we've got to be simpler on early downs."

"It's hard. It's just as much on me, if not more on me, than it is a player. Because when you ask a guy to go out there and execute something that he's never prepared for or never seen, that is very, very difficult. Especially when you're doing that against a team that is a good football team. ... That's part of first games. That's part of first quarters in first games.

"I felt like the best thing we did is if you look at the success throughout the game, our guys adapted to what they were doing and we improved upon it. Which was something we could not do last year."

"When you put yourselves in good down-and-distances, you can run the football. ... It all goes together. We're a run, play-action football team. We put ourselves in bad situations, it's going to hurt us in the running game. So, when we put ourselves in good situations, we didn't take TFLs, we didn't have penalties, we moved the ball methodically down the field. Through the air, on a touchdown pass by Jordan Travis. Through a scramble, Jordan scrambled for a gain of 15 on a true drop-back, where they peeled the end and he had the awareness to replace the peeler.

"And then McKenzie going in there on a third down on the same drive. So, when we're efficient, when we put ourselves in good down-and-distances, we're a really good football team. When we don't, we're still not very good."

"Awesome. We talked about that kid today. That kid's not a freshman. Technically he is, but he's not. That's why you enroll early. Because you grow up faster. And the way he played in that football game, without the ball, is what defines him. That's why he's on the field. .... That's the mentality he has. He's got that dog in him. And that's what allows him to be on the football field as a true freshman."

"People don't take into account the effect Jordan has on a defense. You look at the running game and you have to account for Jordan on every snap. Even though he's not pulling the ball, he's not running a lot, because the defense is taking that away. They have to account for him. So, you wonder why we have an 80-yard run? Well, they're down a hat playing Jordan. You may not have that 80-yard run without Jordan in the football game. So, there's a lot of things that go into the game, the dynamics of how a team calls defense.

"If you listen to [Notre Dame coach] Brian Kelly postgame, he said they had kind of two different plans: One for Jordan and one for McKenzie. One for the different skill sets. So, you look at the success we had in the running game with Jordan, there's a reason for that. ... And when McKenzie got in, I've seen that kid obviously beat my butt multiple times. ... For McKenzie to come in and pick up right where Jordan left off, and not miss a beat in that drive, is just phenomenal."

"We played who we felt gave us the best chance to win, and we're going to continue to do that. And in my mind, I don't think that's changed. ... I think the key is making a team prepare for both. Regardless of how much they are used, it's the thought that both can play. That's the key. Because every coach in America is petrified of the unknown. They're not going to go into a game not prepared, right? We'll stay up to 1 a.m. making sure we have a plan for everything.

"So, just the thought process of both of those guys can play within a game, whether they both play or they don't both play, just the thought process of that can drive people crazy. ... In coaching, you live in a paranoid world. And our goal is to try to keep people as paranoid as possible."

Read full article at Rivals.com - Florida State

Warchant - FSU's Dillingham offers insight into what went right, wrong in opener

Tomahawk Nation 08 September, 2021 - 11:51pm

And it was perhaps a bad snap away from pulling off an epic fourth-quarter comeback on Sunday night vs. Notre Dame.

Still, Kenny Dillingham was far from ecstatic with how the Seminoles played overall against the Fighting Irish.

Like head coach Mike Norvell, the second-year FSU offensive coordinator loved the fight and effort his players showed in the near-win. But there were plenty of things to clean up as well.

*** Don't miss our exclusive FSU football coverage. 30-day Free Trial***

In his interview following Wednesday's practice, Dillingham talked about first-down struggles, the quarterback play, the running game, Notre Dame's surprising early defensive looks and much more.

Here are some highlights from that interview session.

"Horrible on first down, to be brutally honest. Those were the drives we didn't score. On the first drive of the game, defensively, that's a good football coach (Notre Dame's Marcus Freeman). He came out in something he's never done in his years being a coordinator in the past. And we didn't have a good opening drive. It wasn't a good opening script. We didn't put our players in a good position to succeed. ... And then we had two false starts on first down; we had two different (missed assignments) on first downs. So, those killed us within a drive.

"That was kind of the tale of the first half. That first half, we had four or five drives where that play was just catastrophic. ... So, I put a lot of that on me. We've got to improve that on early downs, we've got to be simpler on early downs."

"It's hard. It's just as much on me, if not more on me, than it is a player. Because when you ask a guy to go out there and execute something that he's never prepared for or never seen, that is very, very difficult. Especially when you're doing that against a team that is a good football team. ... That's part of first games. That's part of first quarters in first games.

"I felt like the best thing we did is if you look at the success throughout the game, our guys adapted to what they were doing and we improved upon it. Which was something we could not do last year."

"When you put yourselves in good down-and-distances, you can run the football. ... It all goes together. We're a run, play-action football team. We put ourselves in bad situations, it's going to hurt us in the running game. So, when we put ourselves in good situations, we didn't take TFLs, we didn't have penalties, we moved the ball methodically down the field. Through the air, on a touchdown pass by Jordan Travis. Through a scramble, Jordan scrambled for a gain of 15 on a true drop-back, where they peeled the end and he had the awareness to replace the peeler.

"And then McKenzie going in there on a third down on the same drive. So, when we're efficient, when we put ourselves in good down-and-distances, we're a really good football team. When we don't, we're still not very good."

"Awesome. We talked about that kid today. That kid's not a freshman. Technically he is, but he's not. That's why you enroll early. Because you grow up faster. And the way he played in that football game, without the ball, is what defines him. That's why he's on the field. .... That's the mentality he has. He's got that dog in him. And that's what allows him to be on the football field as a true freshman."

"People don't take into account the effect Jordan has on a defense. You look at the running game and you have to account for Jordan on every snap. Even though he's not pulling the ball, he's not running a lot, because the defense is taking that away. They have to account for him. So, you wonder why we have an 80-yard run? Well, they're down a hat playing Jordan. You may not have that 80-yard run without Jordan in the football game. So, there's a lot of things that go into the game, the dynamics of how a team calls defense.

"If you listen to [Notre Dame coach] Brian Kelly postgame, he said they had kind of two different plans: One for Jordan and one for McKenzie. One for the different skill sets. So, you look at the success we had in the running game with Jordan, there's a reason for that. ... And when McKenzie got in, I've seen that kid obviously beat my butt multiple times. ... For McKenzie to come in and pick up right where Jordan left off, and not miss a beat in that drive, is just phenomenal."

"We played who we felt gave us the best chance to win, and we're going to continue to do that. And in my mind, I don't think that's changed. ... I think the key is making a team prepare for both. Regardless of how much they are used, it's the thought that both can play. That's the key. Because every coach in America is petrified of the unknown. They're not going to go into a game not prepared, right? We'll stay up to 1 a.m. making sure we have a plan for everything.

"So, just the thought process of both of those guys can play within a game, whether they both play or they don't both play, just the thought process of that can drive people crazy. ... In coaching, you live in a paranoid world. And our goal is to try to keep people as paranoid as possible."

Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams Highlights Against Florida State

ACC Digital Network 08 September, 2021 - 11:51pm

5 Things Didn’t Like: Lack of Adjustments Nearly Cost Notre Dame Dearly vs. Florida State - UHND.com - Notre Dame Football, Basketball, & Recruiting

Notre Dame Fighting Irish 08 September, 2021 - 10:18am

In the words of Rocky Balboa in the sixth Rocky movie, the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.  That’s what this column is about each week.  Even in victory, there are things of concern from each game, and this week’s win was no exception.  Based on the reaction of some, you’d think Notre Dame lost to Florida State.  Luckily the Irish escaped with the win in OT and have some time to address a typical laundry list of concerns from their opener.  

In the aftermath of Notre Dame’s fourth-quarter collapse in Tallahassee, there seemed to be a bit of a turning on the idea of Notre Dame ever using a 3-man front in Marcus Freeman’s new defense since Florida State had success on it.  The problem, however, wasn’t the front itself. It was the fact that Freeman kept Notre Dame in it while Florida State decided they would just run right into it with success.  Freeman didn’t adjust until overtime when Notre Dame was back in a 4-man front. 

The 3-man front worked when it was mixed in with the 4-man fronts we’re used to seeing. For example, on Florida State’s first play from scrimmage, Notre Dame came out in a 3-man front, and Cam Hart came up and blew up a short pass for a loss of 5 yards.  

#NotreDame defense played with four down on first 31 of 35 snaps (88.6%). After being up 38-20, were in three down up front 23 of 36 snaps in the 2nd half (63.8%). All 3 defensive plays in OT were with 4 down

Also don't believe it's a coincidence that they had 26.9% Havoc Rate in first half playing with four down and that dropped to 8.3% after halftime

Marcus Freeman didn’t forget how to coach overnight, and he will have better days as the DC at Notre Dame, but that 4th quarter was not one of his finest moments.  Brian Kelly said in the post-game that Freeman learned a lot about his personnel and what he can/can’t do with some players, so expect there to be some tweaks to the rotations this weekend.  Don’t expect the 3-man front to go away entirely, though – and it shouldn’t.

The three big, pivotal calls in the game all went against Notre Dame even though all of them seemed like they clearly should go in Notre Dame’s. 

That was not all that was bad in the game, though.  How about the missed face mask penalty on Joe Wilkins’s touchdown grab? As Wilkins was securing the ball, he had his helmet ripped off.  On Chris Tyree’s touchdown run, Michael Carmody had hands all over his face forcing his helmet off too.  And does anyone really think there wasn’t a single holding penalty all night on Florida State’s shaky offensive line?  

I will do my best to keep the officials out of the 5 things I didn’t like this season, but the refs were so bad on Sunday, I couldn’t help it this week. 

I liked the game that Tommy Rees called, for the most part.  However, there was one really, really bad call from him, where he just tried to get a little too cute with his call.  Facing a 3rd and 5 from the Florida State 28 in the 3rd quarter, Rees called a designed quarterback run for Jack Coan. Unfortunately, it resulted in a loss of one.  

For as good as Coan was on Sunday night, and he was pretty damn good, his limitations as a runner were on full display.  He’s not Ian Book back there.  So why call a run with him there when he was slinging the ball around pretty well already?  It was an “ah, no one will see this coming” type call.  The only problem was, Florida State stuffed it out. 

Other than that call, I liked the game from Rees.

It’s tough to include the guy who led the team with nine catches for 120 yards and touchdown here, but Michael Mayer’s two drops were brutal. The first one came early in the game; when Notre Dame had a chance to build a big enough lead, that would have taken the crowd completely out of the game. Then, on Notre Dame’s second drive of the game, he dropped a near perfectly placed pass from Coan by trying to turn upfield before securing the ball. 

On Notre Dame’s last drive of regulation, Mayer did it again.  This time the drop was even more costly because it cost the Irish a chance at a game-winning field in regulation. 

Mayer will catch both of those 9 times out of 10 moving forward, so dropping two like that in the same game should be a very rare occurrence for the potential All-American.  If he catches either of those, this game probably never gets to overtime. 

I expected Notre Dame’s offensive line to struggle a bit in their first game playing together.  Everyone should have.  I did not expect them to have as much of an issue run blocking, though.  If anything, I thought Coan might not have enough time to get comfortable at times, but the run blocking would be OK.  The reverse happened since Florida State dared Notre Dame to beat them through the air.  Luckily Jack Coan was up to the task. 

When it came time to try and run out the clock in the 4th quarter, Notre Dame couldn’t do that; that is something we’re not used to seeing from the Irish in recent years.  Some of the struggles can be chalked up to the first game of a new offensive line grouping that lost one of their starters – Blake Fisher – in the first half.  Struggling upfront with a lot of change is not something unique to Notre Dame.  Clemson netted just 2 rushing yards as a team against Georgia, for instance. 

The line will have to get better for this team to raise its ceiling, though.  The ceiling of the team we saw Sunday night is not that of a playoff team.  The good news is the ceiling of that team is not the ceiling of the team we’ll see this Saturday or next Saturday.  If the line gets better week to week, this offense could be very dangerous now that we’ve seen Jack Coan light it up through the air.  More games with 65 total rushing yards and the inability to run the ball in the fourth quarter will cost the Irish a game or two.  

Please do not hesitate to call out refs in the future. Expect more of that from ACC refs, especially on the road (see @ VT and @VA). Flashbacks to @ SC, and Big 10 refs even when ND was @ home. Many refs are fans with a striped shirt, a handy yellow flag, and a whistle. Hold them accountable.

After 1st TD – a gutsy but EZ call – a 41 yd. pass downfield to Mayer on 4th down, ND had 4 consecutive possessions of 50 yds total to keep Fl. St. in the game. And they did. How many downfield passes did ND throw in the first half? 2 were TDs. Two were under thrown. More, please! Chunk plays are what make elite teams elite. Welcome to modern day football. “Three yards and a cloud of dust” is as dead as Vince Lombardi. Use Lenzy, Mayer, Austin, Wilkins (where were Keys & Davis?) and let your passing game open up the run now that we see what Coan can do.

The writer missed the fact that FSU wouldn’t have scored their first touchdown if 52 for Florida State, an offensive lineman, hadn’t tackled our linebacker, 33 who was about stuff their running back with only a five yard gain. And the “incomplete pass” in the fourth quarter should have been intentional grounding.

That incomplete pass call was “sneer at the visiting coach while you announce it” bad.

The talking heads have not stopped yammering about how before now “FSU would quit whenever they got behind….not this team! They didn’t quit! FSU is back!”

The ABC announcers were laughable on both, bit at least they spoke their biased lies out loud on TV. The officials’ fix is all done in private.

What is it with playing at FSU and refs?

On the third and five run : Zeke Correll was pulling from backside to wall off contain play-side, and he clearly face planted right in Jack Coan’s path, at his feet. As best as I can see, had Zeke been successful in his assignment, that play would have succeeded. Check the tape for yourself. Thanks.

Detroit Tigers defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-1: Game thread recap

The Rich Eisen Show 08 September, 2021 - 04:10am

Where: PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

TV: Bally Sports Detroit.

Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1; other radio affiliates).

BOX SCORE

First-pitch weather forecast: 70 degrees, 30% chance of rain.

Probable starting pitchers: Tigers RHP Matt Manning (3-6, 6.29 ERA) vs. Pirates RHP Mitch Keller (4-10, 6.23 ERA).

Tigers lineup: TBA.

Games notes: The Pirates and Tigers finish off their three-game series behind Manning, a rookie right-hander looking to put together a few good starts to end the season. He was knocked around for eight hits (two home runs) and eight runs in just 3⅔ innings Thursday vs. the Oakland Athletics. He gets a much softer lineup in Pittsburgh, which ranks is last in MLB in home runs and runs after Monday's games and bottom 10 in the majors in on-base percentage and batting average. Once you get past Colin Moran and Bryan Reynolds, there's not much MLB production, though catcher Jacob Stallings this year has set career highs in home runs (eight), RBIs (50), .OBP (.332) and WAR (3.0).

The buzz continues to come in from top prospects excited about FSU's week one showing

247Sports 08 September, 2021 - 02:37am

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Prospects that attended or tuned into Florida State’s strong showing against Notre Dame this past Sunday are still buzzing about the Seminoles who took the ninth-ranked Irish to overtime before falling 41-38.

Ballyhooed recruits like what they’re seeing from Mike Norvell’s program in year two of his regime in Tallahassee. Updates from Sunday night and Monday can be read here.

“I can’t lie Florida State impressed me how well they played and they had the lead on a Top 10 Notre Dame football team,” Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson’s five-star 2023 cornerback Tony Mitchell said. “I think the program is going in the right direction and something special is being built over there.”

“I think FSU put up a good fight,” Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson five-star cornerback Cormani McClain said. “It’s more to come and I will be keeping eyes on that.”

“It was a well fought game to the end,” New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr 2023 cornerback Ryan Robinson Jr. said. “This isn’t the FSU team from last year I think this FSU team is back on the rise. The energy was like no other. FSU shocked a lot of people! I loved the crowd and the student section. It was really fun.”

“I loved the energy that was in Doak Campbell the most,” Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln Top247 2023 linebacker Raylen Wilson said. “The people and vibe is irreplaceable.”

“It was a great atmosphere and it was great seeing the way the d-line played, just flying to the ball and it was very loud,” Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola Top247 defensive lineman Derrick LeBlanc said. “They are up there in the recruiting for me.”

“This game has shown that FSU is definitely a contender in the ACC,” Alpharetta (Ga.) Denmark Top247 2023 linebacker Dee Crayton said. “They fought to the end and the defense showed that they could possibly be a top defense in the country which I love to see. I can’t wait to see how they bounce back, it definitely impressed me considering ND is a Top 10 team.”

“My impression about FSU is that they have a good defense,” Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola Top247 defensive lineman John Walker said. “I love the way they run to the ball and making plays and shedding of blockers and make big plays and I love how they were getting three and outs and it was just a fun time being there and watching the game!”

Florida State has the 247Sports Composite’s No. 10 recruiting class in 2022 and sit at No. 5 early in the 2023 cycle.

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