November 15, 2011

Insider Report: Bradham won't be suspended

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Two days later and there is still plenty of buzz about Florida State linebacker Nigel Bradham's hit on Miami receiver LaRon Byrd.

Bradham appeared to hit Byrd in the chest with his shoulder, but the officials ruled he launched himself at a defenseless receiver and ejected him for the game. ACC officials told FSU on Monday that they stand by flag, but Bradham would not be suspended.

Both FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher and Miami head coach Al Golden stated on Monday that they felt the hit was clean.

"When you look at it he didn't launch, didn't leave his feet. Hit below the shoulders, hit with the shoulder," Fisher said. "Everything football, the disappointing thing is we had an interception on the play that would have ended the ball game... I don't know how else to coach the guy."

Official rules state that targeting a defenseless player means to initiate contact to the head or neck of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow, or shoulder. The rules do state that if the official is in doubt to throw the flag.

With the speed of the game, and the momentum swing of the penalties, Fisher said he would like to see violent hits be reviewed by video.

"You need to review it," he said it. "They review everything else. Let's get it right. If you're going to (review plays), stop it for all of them, because those are game changers."

Bradham's hit was just one of many questionable calls on Saturday. On the first play of the game Lamarcus Joyner appeared to scoop a Hurricanes' fumble and run into the endzone for a touchdown.

But the play was reviewed and overturned. The officials ruled the Miami receiver never had possession of the catch and it was an incomplete pass not a fumble. Like Bradham's hit Fisher said he was looking forward to hear from the league on their explanation of the call.

"I'm very anxious to hear on that one too. I think both hands were on the ball and it was completely sound," he said. "Both feet were on the ground and he turned to take a step and make a football move. The ball was dislodged by us and not by any bobbling of them. If that's not a catch then I've been wrong for 46 years."

Short yardage struggles continue

The referees weren't the only thing giving Fisher a headache on Saturday. His offense struggled to convert in short-yardage situations against Miami.

Seven times FSU needed three yards or less to pick up a first down, and the converted on just three of those attempts and just once by running the ball. The Seminoles actually lost yards on three of the four failed attempts.

The most critical of the failed attempts was a 3rd and goal from the Miami 1-yard line in the third quarter. Fisher elected to call an option with quarterback EJ Manuel, who lost two yards on the play forcing FSU to settle for a field goal.

"We missed a block on a tight end on the goaline, where we're going to walk into the endzone there," Fisher said on Monday of the goaline failure.

On the team's first drive of the game Devonta Freeman was unable to pick up a 3rd and 1 from his own 49-yard line, as he was pushed back for a loss of 1. After the game Fisher took the blame for the play-call saying he didn't see Miami put an extra defensive tackle on the field.

Manuel said he saw the defender come on the field but didn't feel confident overriding Fisher on the play at such an early stage in the game.

"I had thought about it in my mind, but I wasn't going to overturn what Coach Fisher had called," he said. "It was a big time situation early in the game, and when I got to the sideline I told Coach Fisher what I saw he said the next time if I do see that do what I do."

During the offense's Monday morning meeting Manuel said offensive coordinator James Coley challenged the offense to improve in short yardage situations this week in practice.

"That's definitely something we're going to focus on today," Manuel said before practice. "Coach Coley kind of grilled us a little bit in the meeting this morning. Not anything negative, just we've got to get these short yardages things, these are some goals we have to reach week in and week out to be successful."

Emotions riding high

With a final score of 23-19 and a combined 19 penalties in the game, it was apparent that at times the emotions of the game got to players from both FSU and Miami.

Fisher said that was especially true on offense where just four starters (Zebrie Sanders, Bert Reed, Rodney Smith and Lonnie Pryor) had ever played against the Hurricanes.

"You had a ton of guys, on our side especially, that had never been in that game," Fisher said. "I think the emotional strain of that game, the rivalry part of that game, the talking, the jabbering, the competitiveness of it, I think you saw some young guys not stay technique sound like they needed to be and stay within what they did because of the passion and how hard they were playing. We didn't execute as well."

Smith, a junior receiver and Miami native, admitted after the game that some of the offense's early mistakes could be attributed to being over-amped up for the rivalry.

"Once that adrenaline gets in you sometimes it takes over," Smith said of the emotions of the game. "You've got to try to control it, it got out of control with a couple of guys, but that's football."


  • FSU punter Shawn Powell was named ACC specialist of the week for his performance against Miami.

  • The ACC and SEC announced that Florida State at Florida on November 26 with be a 7:00 p.m. kickoff and televised by ESPN2.

  • Defensive tackle Moses McCray and defensive back Terrence Brooks were not at practice on Monday.

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