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Fisher's decisions could affect much more than FSU defense

Last Updated: October 02, 2016

The Seminoles had 23 seconds to hang on to a 1-point lead on their home field, and simply let go of the rope.

UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed a 25-yard pass through FSU’s prevent defense, which aimed to prevent UNC from completing a long pass. Then UNC receiver Matt Hollins ran past sophomore cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, who was caught grabbing Hollins’ jersey, to set the Tar Heels up for Neil Weiler’s game-winning 56-yard field goal.

Trubisky, receiver Ryan Switzer and T.J. Logan had their way with FSU’s defense. The Seminoles had only one series where it limited the Tar Heels to a three-and-out possession, allowing UNC to convert 9 of 13 third-down opportunities.

So even after FSU took an improbable 35-34 lead with 23 seconds remaining, it somehow wasn’t shocking that the defense allowed North Carolina to get back into field goal range with four seconds left. It wasn’t shocking to the fans, and it wasn’t shocking to the players.

“We do have a confidence issue,” junior linebacker Matthew Thomas said of the Seminoles’ beleaguered defense. “Sometimes the confidence is really low. We’ve just got to keep it high and play with high energy all the time.”

But how do you keep your confidence high when you don’t believe in what you’re doing? When you don’t trust that you’re being put in the best positions to succeed?

That was the root problem for Florida State in the early 2000s. It started with the offense, and it eventually filtered to the defense and the rest of the roster.

Aren’t we seeing the same thing here?

Consider these words from senior defensive end DeMarcus Walker.

“I tried my best,” he said. “I can only do so much.”

Then these from tailback Dalvin Cook.

“All we can control is on the offensive side of the ball,” Cook said. ”Just to go down and get a touchdown, and that’s what we did.”

Cook would later say that, “We win as a team and we lose as a team.” But that was only after twice pointing out that the offense scored a touchdown on its final drive to take the lead.


That’s not an indictment of Walker’s or Cook’s character. It’s human nature. If you’ve put in as much work as college football players do, you need to believe that the coaches are giving you every chance to succeed. And if there are problems, you need to have faith that the coaches are going to address them.