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You may remember a few weeks ago that I told you that Florida only had to do one thing to beat Vanderbilt comfortably. That thing was to stop Ke’Shawn Vaughn from running wild. The Gators did so, and they won the game 56-0.
It should tell you something about the state of FSU that I can recycle the premise for UF’s game against the Seminoles and not feel at all like I’m taking the lazy way out.
Cam Akers is the best player on FSU’s offense. He personally has been the offense sometimes. If not for his signing a few years ago, Willie Taggart might’ve gotten a pink slip even sooner.
In a few major categories, Akers is comically better than the rest of the Seminoles’ run game. The table below has yards per carry, success rate, opportunity rate, and stuff rate. It doesn’t include any sacks.
Opportunity rate is the percentage of carries that go for at least five yards, and while that’s usually a stat chalked up to the offensive line, FSU’s O-line is so bad that it says something about a ball carrier’s ability to avoid tackles and get something positive. Stuff rate the the percentage of carries for no gain or a loss.
This table excludes garbage time (as all stats in this piece do unless otherwise noted) and has a few key categories. First is Akers by himself, then is the national average for these stats. Next comes FSU’s rushing game without Akers and then specifically his backup Khalan Laborn. Finally for perspective I put in Florida’s stats, since the Gators’ rushing game has been so bad Dan Mullen largely gave up on it a month ago.
|Category||YPC||Success Rate||Opp Rate||Stuff Rate|
Akers by himself is just about a functional run game. He’s a hair below the national average in yards per carry and opportunity rate, and he’s a bit above it in success rate. Only the stuff rate stands out as being bad news, but again: FSU’s offensive line is awful.
Minus Akers? It’s naught but sorrow and weeping. FSU’s yards per carry is a half yard below UF’s rate, its opportunity rate is in the same run down neighborhood as the Gators’, and the stuff rate is ghastly. Laborn’s personal stuff rate is the only thing to recommend, but his other metrics are abysmal. And again, this is a comparison against a run attack that Mullen evaluated and then decided to “call other plays”.
Mullen asked how hard it is to call plays without a conventional running game:
“Pretty easy. Call other plays.”
— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) November 25, 2019
Akers is so much of the offense that in Taggart’s final two games against Syracuse and Miami (FL), he had his star running back attempting multiple passes in both contests. Making the entire plane out of Cam Akers was his last-ditch effort to salvage the season, and it worked for a week until it didn’t the next.
FSU’s passing game hasn’t been anything special. James Blackman has been up-and-down but overall has outperformed Wisconsin grad transfer Alex Hornibrook. In the measure adjusted net yards per attempt (ANY/A), which rewards touchdowns but penalizes interceptions and sacks, Blackman has a healthy lead of 7.2 to 6.4. These and the following ANY/A stats do include garbage time, FYI.
For comparison, Kyle Trask’s ANY/A i