David Hale is a college football analysts for ESPN. Listed below is a twitter thread by Hale addressing FSU’s football program following the lost to Jacksonville State.
Quick thoughts on FSU… This was never going to be a good football team. The hope was 6-6, a bowl game, and enough enthusiasm about progress to keep the 2022 class together. After Sunday, that all seemed well within reach, if not entirely likely. Then last night happened.
In a micro sense, the loss was inexcusable. Yes, the final play. That goes without saying. It’s screwing up Football 101, which puts the heat squarely on Norvell. I get it. But the limitations of this team were on display throughout. It never should’ve come down to 1 play.
So what the Jax St game showed was two glaring issues that have really dogged FSU for 5+ years.
1) In the moment, the coaching staffs (3 of them now!) have now blundered away games that even a bad FSU team should win. That undermines any sense of credibility.
It can be fairly argued that FSU fans set expectations too high compared to reality. But there is no reality in which FSU should even have to sweat a final play against an FCS team. Of course there was also Samford in 2018, so… it ain’t *just* Norvell.
Games like this give even reasonable fans cause to blow things up again, & that cannot happen. The most important – & also the most delicate — commodity Norvell had entering this season was patience from a fan base that understood (mostly) the job ahead. He blew that in 1 play.
2) The macro issues remain the bigger concern. How is it that this program has fallen so far, so fast and with so little obvious path to improvement? Jimbo’s acrimonious departure, locker room culture, Boosters, AD, fans, coaches… they’ve all changed and yet, here we are.
There will be an obvious chorus begging for more change, but what reasonable coach would walk into this situation? The AD job has been a “winner by default” situation for 15+ years. The Booster culture isn’t changing overnight, even if Andy Miller is gone.
The most immediate question is what happens in Week 3. Wake is not a markedly more talented team than FSU, but as we’ve seen, that doesn’t always matter. But Norvell has talked about the improved locker room culture, built around veteran transfers. Can they weather the storm?
As much as it feels reasonable to judge Norvell off that brutal, inexcusable final play, the bigger test is if he can keep the locker room now. If so, there’s still reason for hope because, again, this was never gonna be a *good* team. If not… I really don’t know what’s next.
At this point, there are so many villains in this story, it doesn’t seem worth pointing fingers anymore. At the end of the day, someone — Norvell, Coburn, Alford, Batman — needs to identify a clear blueprint toward progress that everyone is on board with following to the finish.