Florida State has a problem. Yes the defense has underachieved, yes the offense has had moments which make you scratch your head, and yes special teams has struggled. But the overarching problem seems to be the sense of entitlement that this Seminoles squad seems to play with.
I do not mean entitlement like ‘these are a bunch of rich kids who never worked a day in their lives’. I mean that there appears to be quite a few players who log significant minutes on this Florida State team who play like all they have to do is walk on the field in their garnet and gold uniforms and that will be enough to win. News flash: it is not enough.
Last year fellow Rogue contributor Alex Turko wrote a piece entitled “The Rise of the ACC” for my personal blog. It focused on how, thanks to recent coaching hires, ACC football programs were rising to heights never before seen. Sure, the 1990s saw teams like Virginia, Georgia Tech and North Carolina spend time ranked highly in polls, but the depth in the league has never been so good.
While Florida State struggled during the early oughts, the last decade has been fruitful under head coach Jimbo Fisher. There was a hunger like we had never seen in Tallahassee to be great again, and it paid off to the tune of a couple of ACC Championships and a National Championship. The struggle for many successful teams is to maintain that success. That is the struggle that Florida State faces now.
Coach Fisher said in his press conference on Monday “We’re not going to get used to losing.” That seems to be entirely up to whether or not the players decide it is bad enough for them to stomach any longer.
Look to twitter after games this season, and there are .gifs galore that seem to expose the Seminole defense for not just being out of position but loafing. I am certainly not in the boat that you can go 110% every play, especially if it is not run to your side, but there you better believe with the game on the line guys should be flying around making plays. Maybe the injury depletions have impacted the depth enough to where certain players feel untouchable, but something about the culture has to change.
Can Charles Kelly influence these guys to go hard from snap one through the end of the game? Would changes to playing time for certain guys help create a shift in attitudes? Is the loss of Derwin James as an emotional leader (and Jalen Ramsey as well) really impacting this unit this much?
Florida State fans are disgusted right now. Even though the culture of of winning under Jimbo Fisher is relatively short compared to other schools (or previous head coaches), that does not mean that results like this have become acceptable. I am not one in the belief that Coach Fisher is overly likely to bolt to LSU in the offseason, but in a season that is teetering on the edge right now, whichever way it goes could make his decision a lot easier.