Third Down Offense and Defense
If the Noles were better in these two categories last year, they would have won seven or eight games. However, their inability to sustain drives or get off the field on third down defensively was frustrating.
The offense usually began drives with poor field position due to special teams and only converted third-downs 34 percent of the time.
That meant more punts and fewer scoring opportunities. The Noles struggled once they got behind the chains, and couldn’t do much when it became obvious passing downs.
Defensively, FSU allowed teams to convert third-downs 41 percent of the time, which is much too high. This area improved as the season progressed, but early the culprits were usually blown assignments and missed tackles.
Adam Fuller took a lot of heat, but most of the time, players were in a position to make a play and didn’t. The team returns too much experience and production on both sides of the ball to not improve in these two critical areas.
If they can improve offensively closer to 40 percent and get conversions allowed down to 35 percent or lower? That’s going to change some things in the wins and losses columns.