FSU Football: Has Charles Kelly Saved His Job In Last 3 Games?

FSU Football

Dec 31, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive coordinator Charles Kelly coaches against the Houston Cougars in the second quarter in the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

FSU football defensive coordinator was on the hot seat after the first five games of the season. We discuss if he’s saved his job in the last three games.

We said a month ago that it wasn’t the right move to fire FSU football defensive coordinator Charles Kelly in the middle of the season.

I won’t rehash it, you’ve probably read it and if you haven’t you should do so right now.

We also told you that the FSU defensive scheme wasn’t the problem a month ago.

The FSU defense was statistically the worst of all time just three games ago. It was allowing teams average over SEVEN yards per play and over 30 points per game.

The ‘Noles defense was not good against the run or the pass, and gave up explosive play after explosive play.

However, the FSU defense began to turn the corner after the last second field goal loss to UNC. We covered why that was the case. Some of it was they actually got better, but the other part was they were going up against lackluster offenses.

However, the FSU defense went up against of the best offenses (Clemson at No. 16) Saturday night, and played well enough to win.

Has the FSU defense improved enough over the last three games that Charles Kelly has saved his job?

fsu football

Oct 1, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive coordinator Charles Kelly talks to his defense during the game against the North Carolina Tarheels at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Last Three Games

FSU football has gone up against the follow offenses in the past three games:

  • Miami (S&P + No. 52)
  • Wake Forest (S&P + No. 98)
  • Clemson (S&P + No. 16)

That’s an average rating of No. 55. Here’s how the FSU defense has performed in those three games.

The ‘Noles allowed 4.6 yards per play and 19 points against Miami while allowing 30.7 percent on third down conversions.

They allowed 3.8 yards per play and 6 points against Wake Forest while allowing 31 percent on third down conversions.

The FSU defense allowed 6.3 yards per play and 37 points against Clemson while allowed 41 percent on third down conversions.

That’s a three game average of 4.9 yards per play, 20.6 points per game and 34.2 percent on third down conversions.

That’s not too shabby, not to mention the defense is playing without Derwin James and Ermon Lane is playing significant minutes at safety after converting from wide receiver a month ago.

Let’s look solely at the Clemson game and compare it to last season’s game.

Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Josh Sweat (9) cannot bring down Clemson Tigers running back Wayne Gallman (9) during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Josh Sweat (9) cannot bring down Clemson Tigers running back Wayne Gallman (9) during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Games

The FSU defense in 2015 was thought to be one of the best in the country, a top 10 defense according to S&P +. It played well last year against the vaunted Clemson defense in a 23-13 losing effort.

What’s scary is how the 2016 FSU defense played on Saturday night compared to that 2015 defense.

Check it.

2015 Game

  • 6.02 ypp (512 yards on 85 plays) and 23 points
  • 215 rushing yards
  • 7 of 19 third down conversions (36.8 percent)
  • Forced 0 turnovers
  • Allowed 29 first downs

2016 Game

  • 6.3 ypp (511 yards on 81 plays) and 37 points
  • 133 rushing yards
  • 7 of 17 third down conversions (41 percent)
  • Forced 2 turnovers
  • Allowed 25 first downs

Aside from the points given up, it’s ridiculous how similar those numbers are.

fsu football

Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks with the referees during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Conclusion

The big question going into the Clemson game Saturday night was if the FSU defense could give the FSU offense a chance.

They did so on several occasions, and it was the FSU offense that couldn’t capitalize on the possessions gained when Clemson was forced to punt.

Clemson has 13 real offensive possessions (minus end of halves), scored four touchdowns and three field goals. .

There were fewer blown assignments and the players played with passion. Not to mention the defense was without Derwin James and played a large part of the second half without starting safety Trey Marshall.

Was Jimbo Fisher going to fire Charles Kelly at the end o the season? I’m not sure. I know that’s what the fan base wanted three games ago.

Their seasonal stats should get better as the season goes on as they face some mediocre offenses in NC State, Boston College, Syracuse and Florida.

Has Kelly done enough with the defense in the last three games to warrant keeping him on staff? Was their performance in the Clemson game enough to make you a believer?

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