Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

October 16, 2018 at 10:39 pm.

Florida State looks to bounce back from painful loss

NFL coaching legend Denny Green infamously once said after a loss, “We had ’em, and we let ’em off the hook.”

And that was Florida State’s last game in a nutshell.

Frustration abounded around campus during the Seminoles’ bye week last week as the team tried to recover from blowing a 20-point second-half lead against rival Miami and losing 28-27. Florida State (3-3 overall, 1-3 ACC) led 27-7, but turnovers on offense, ineffectiveness on defense and one costly missed field goal sent the Seminoles to a loss — in conference play, no less — that they simply could not afford if they had any aspirations of turning their season around.

So after the team had more than a week to reflect on that crushing defeat, what did it learn?

“Our guys put it behind them and came to practice with the right attitude, and the attitude was to get better,” first-year Florida State coach Willie Taggart said Monday.

“And I think that all started in meetings, not just in practice. … And it wasn’t no different last week. I mean they were upset, and rightfully so, but again, we had to be upset with ourselves because we didn’t finish. It’s a learning lesson for our football team and a hard way to learn, but we gotta take those things and make sure we practice and prepare and make sure that those things don’t happen again.”

To make matters worse, the Seminoles didn’t even get to relax during their bye week, thanks to Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm that made landfall just 90 miles southwest of Tallahassee last Wednesday and caused massive destruction to the Gulf Coast.

Taggart said Monday that the majority of his players were “nervous” and evacuated from Tallahassee, which was projected at one point to be ground zero for the storm.

Tallahassee was ultimately spared the worst of the hurricane, but Taggart said it helped many of the players return with a new perspective and eager to help.

“I would like to start by giving our condolences to all the people in the Gulf Coast who was affected by the hurricane last week. Terrible, terrible, terrible thing. Terrible reminder to all of us just how much life is bigger than just football,” he said.

“And I also was proud of some of our guys that volunteered to help pack trucks and bags to help some of the people over in the Gulf Coast, and our prayers are with them all.”

Florida State now turns its attention to Wake Forest (3-3, 0-2) for Homecoming. The Demon Deacons are coming off one of their worst defeats in program history two weeks ago to No. 3 Clemson, 63-3. The Seminoles, who are riding a six-game win streak against Wake Forest dating to 2012, enter the game as 10.5-point favorites.

After mixing up their uniform combinations each game so far this season, Florida State is returning to its traditional gold helmets, garnet jerseys and gold pants Saturday.