Kelly Under Pressure to Perform

Florida State’s season is waiting for a spark to turn the momentum around in a season that once seemed so promising.  Last weekend, the Noles’ rebounded against USF with a 55-35 victory, but the way the Seminoles played left many fans unsatisfied.

Jimbo Fisher relied heavily on the ground game. His young gunslinger, Deondre François, is still trying to hone his craft to that of a playoff-caliber quarterback.  It was not the offenses’ performance that left Florida State fans wondering how the rest of the season will play out.

The defense, that so many thought could contend for one of the best in school history (I will admit, I was one of them), gave up 30-plus points for the third time this season.  At times, they looked like the unit we all thought they could be, while other moments looked like we were fielding a group of guys that did not want to be on the field.  From a defense that I thought could be one of the best units we have seen, it has been very disappointing to this point.

There is way too much talent for defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, to have the defense perform this poorly.  Obviously it has been years since the likes of Peter Boulware, Marvin Jones and Derrick Brooks roamed Bobby Bowden Field, but the Noles’ certainly do not have a shortage of playmakers either.

Some of that talent can be found in the secondary in sophomores Tavarus McFadden and Marcus Lewis. These two young defensive backs have been on the wrong end of multiple big plays so far this season. It is certainly not a lack of talent but more so a lack of effort. Improved play from these two players could be enough to turn the tide for this defense.

FSU hosts the North Carolina Tar Heels this Saturday, a team that boasts the 13th ranked passing game in the country.  That does not bode well for a defense that has had opposing receivers run wide open down field on multiple occasions.  The Seminoles will take the field with its 49th ranked passing defense, in hopes to shut down UNC’s quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, and instill a sliver of hope in a Seminoles fan base that is searching for answers.

One thing is for sure, Charles Kelly’s leash is getting shorter with each disappointing defensive performance, and if the Seminoles defense is torched again on Saturday, that leash might take the form of a noose.

If we do not see results, that noose might be one too tight to get out of.