SI.com's Michael Rosenberg and Stewart Mandel discuss how Jameis Winston and Florida State proved themselves against a worthy Auburn opponent in a fitting BCS finale.
Get less complicated.
The Seminoles went into the half down 21-10 in Monday’s BCS National Championship Game. Aside from drives to start and end the half, FSU’s offense was stagnant. The defense had already allowed its second largest point total of the season.
Something had to change.
So the Seminoles’ coaching staff simplified things. Instead of adding new wrinkles, FSU metaphorically ripped out the newer pages of its playbook and went back to the basics.
“Sometimes what you have to do is pull back the reins and say ‘OK, let’s not be the guru in this,’” FSU defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri said on the Paul Finebaum Show. “‘Let’s simplify and let the kids play.’”
FSU regularly used exotic blitz packages to try and disrupt Auburn’s offense. But the Tigers were moving at such a frantic pace that FSU’s defenders were thinking too much and not reacting. FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt opted to go with less blitzes.
As a result, FSU’s defense buckled down in the second half. The Seminoles still allowed similar Auburn to move the ball (232 yards of total offense on 42 plays in the first half vs. 217 yards of total offense on 38 plays in the second half), but FSU tightened up in the red zone and found ways to get off the field on third down. Auburn was 8-of-12 on third down in the first half, 2-of-6 in the second half.
FSU also seemed to go to a more simplistic approach on offense in the second half. The biggest difference was that Jameis Winston went to his check-downs more willingly, especially on the final two drives, when he was 9-of-10 for 117 yards and two touchdowns.