Showtime Sports’ series A Season with Florida State Football set out to document the Seminoles’ 2016 season and their quest for a National Championship. Last Saturday, that dream was dealt a big blow after a 63-20 loss to Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals.
With all-access cameras capturing fiery coach Jimbo Fisher and the No. 2-ranked ‘Noles on the wrong side of a demolition, there was plenty of frustration on the field and in the locker room for viewers to feast on.
Florida State defensive back Nate Andrews channeled his inner psychic before the game. “We gotta go in there focused and do what we gotta do” he said. “If we go in there not focused, [Louisville] could run us off the field.”
Unfortunately for the ‘Noles, that’s exactly what happened.
Here are some of the highlights (and occasional lowlights) from this week’s episode:
• The episode started inauspiciously enough for Florida State, showing star defensive back Derwin James’ preparation for surgery on his torn meniscus. James is later shown with friends at his apartment watching the game on TV. Afterward, he says the team “didn’t play the way Florida State football is played” but that “the season ain’t over.”
• Defensive coordinator Charles Kelly works with James’s potential replacements, A.J. Westbrook, Trey Marshall and Andrews. After the meeting, Westbrook plays cards with his girlfriend Alison and talks about how the two first met.
• In one of the more lighthearted moments in the episode, Andrews and defensive end Demarcus Walker go shopping for game day suits. Their logic? “You look good, you feel good. You feel good, you play good.” The two exchange playful jabs about who looks better while trying different jackets on. When Andrews adds a white fedora to his outfit, Walker says “You’ll regret this in twenty years, bro.” Andrews returns fire, “I got way more swag than you, bro.”
• Much of the lead-up to the game is focused on the defense’s preparation for Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson. Specifically, Fisher gets on the defensive line to get more pressure during practice in hopes of keeping the quarterback contained on game day. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, another distraction arose when defensive end Josh Sweat went down with a knee injury on the final play of practice.
• Florida State made extra adjustments prior to the matchup, including getting to Louisville on two days before the game, monitoring the players’ sleep habits and putting an extra focus on Jackson’s offensive ability. And yet, the results on Saturday were still disastrous. Fisher admitted that the team made “critical mistakes,” and although he takes the blame, the players need to “be held accountable.”
• Part of the episode focused on senior quarterback Sean Maguire’s struggle to stay in shape and being prepared to play, even in a backup role. He showed some leadership on the sideline in the second half consoling starter Deondre Francois, even after Fisher gave him the tough news that he wouldn’t be coming into the game.
• A notable moment came after the game when Walker made a Tim Tebow-like guarantee. “I don’t ever want to experience this ever again,” he said. “You’ll never see someone out-hustle, run to the ball, lead, outwork me, from now on and ever. Ever.”
Facing some real adversity, Florida State should learn a lot about its character in the coming weeks. The Seminoles’ first chance to right the ship is this Saturday, when they play USF on the road.