Though this feature is usually devoted to reviewing the film, or an underplayed aspect of the game, this week we're doing things a little bit differently. The reason: Saturday night, your humble Warchant contributor took in all the action from the sidelines. With that in mind, here are some observations from how things looked and felt from the ground in Death Valley.
Clemson fans never disappoint when it comes to energy. Though they did not get the chance to display it for more than about 20 football minutes, Florida State needed to be in complete control with communications from sideline to players, within the huddle, and at the line in protections. The Seminoles were obviously up to the task, and they did so in several deafening moments. Everything that is reported about the field shaking, ears ringing, etc. is absolutely true.
As for the Seminole fans, they obviously had plenty of opportunities to have their voices heard, but even when the game was within reach, they could be heard distinctly. Florida State fans acquitted themselves nicely in the top-five fight.
The Attitude: Part I
The Seminole sideline was distinctly calm throughout. No matter the situation, from the very beginning, players and coaches were in a businesslike zone. Games like Saturday's can bring about a lot of emotions, adrenaline spikes and thus careless mistakes. Even after Jameis Winston interception, which took points off the board, the calm on the sideline persisted. Whatever the Seminoles saw on film, they saw on the field. The comfort in their eyes was visible on both sides of the ball.
Make no mistake, a fumble recovery plus a touchdown in the first handful of plays will go a long way in settling a team down. But it did appear as though Florida State was poised from the get-go.
The Attitude: Part II
At the half, there was a contingent of game officials, photographers and other stadium officials taking a breather in the tunnel by the Clemson locker room. With the score what it was at the time, and with Florida State receiving the ball, the Tigers would have to come out fast to make a run. Conventional wisdom suggests the Tiger hallway, clad in purple and orange, would be filled with roaring players and coaches ready to turn things around. However, when the door finally opened, what walked out the hallway and through the tunnel was a bizarrely calm and almost lifeless group.
Hindsight says Clemson was demoralized by the 'Noles, but that's the "too easy" answer. Whatever it was, those final moments before the second-half kick were striking.
If you watched any of the ESPN coverage coming out of the game, the Lamarcus Joyner interception was highlighted because the Seminoles had 10 players on the field. Joyner's route to the ball was also a part of the breakdown, but from the field level, the play was the perfect embodiment of what Florida State's defense is all about under Jeremy Pruitt. All eyes were on Joyner before the snap, because the 'Noles continuously use the senior on edge pressures this season. As the ball was snapped and the play developed, it was shocking to see Joyner flash to the flat and loop around in coverage. Disguise at its best.
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