TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher managed to assuage a number of fans outraged over conservative play calling with a ferocious start for Florida State's offense last week against Boston College.
FSU's first nine plays were all passes, and six of them were deep balls. In all, quarterback EJ Manuel finished the game with 10 attempts of 20 yards or more -- by far, the most he'd attempted in any game this season.
Finding those same big plays downfield may not be quite so easy this week though, despite some relatively ugly defensive stats for Miami.
"They cover better than anybody we've played," Fisher said of the Miami secondary, which ranks 10th in the ACC having allowed an average of 253 yards per game through the air. "Watch the film -- how tight they cover, the things they do, they're athletic."
The film dictates a significant portion of Fisher's play calls, he said, but he also won't sacrifice the plays he wants to execute because of the opposition's strengths, so he's not ruling out a few looks downfield.
"You have to go against personnel and don't play into them, but you have to do what you do and be aggressive," Fisher said. "You try to pick your moments."
Of course, if the deep ball isn't open Saturday, it might be a good chance for Florida State to find tight end Nick O'Leary, who was a big part of the game plan a week ago but ended up being held without a catch.
O'Leary was Manuel's first read on seven or eight plays, Fisher said, but Boston College's coverages dictated he look elsewhere. If that happens again this week, it should mean a few deep routes are open. If not, Manuel wants to make getting the ball to his tight end a priority.
"I want to give Nick the ball and I’m sure we will have a lot of those opportunities this week," Manuel said.
Lined up: While Miami's secondary provides some concerns for Florida State, it's the Hurricanes' offensive line that might be their best asset.
Miami has allowed just eight sacks through seven games this season, the second-best tally in the conference. Meanwhile, Florida State has mustered just two sacks in its last two games, and star defensive end Bjoern Werner has been held without a sack since Week 3 against Wake Forest.
"It's as good as any," Fisher said of the Miami offensive line. "They're big and physical and athletic -- a very good group."
Injury updates: Florida State's injury report remains unchanged from last week with the exception of receiver Josh Gehres, who will miss Saturday's game with a hamstring injury. Receivers Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin, who both missed practices earlier this week with an illness, were full participants in Thursday's workouts and will be ready to play Saturday, Fisher said.