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The “Backwards Play” Looked Ridiculous, But Somehow Worked
Screenshot from Twitter: Grace Remington

Even only two games into the 2019 college football season, it was safe to say the Florida State Seminoles weren’t very good. The blown lead to Boise State and overtime escape against Louisiana Monroe had fans restless, and understandably so.

Needing extra time and a magical, missed extra point to squeak by the Warhawks of the mighty Sun Belt Conference, 45-44, many people left Doak Campbell Stadium rather upset. Public enemy number one was FSU head coach Willie Taggart, of course, but social media sure took it out on Seminoles tight end Tre’ McKitty.

Late in the second quarter, with Florida State looking to extend its 21-10 lead before halftime, quarterback James Blackman and the offense quickly got to the line for the next play. The clock was already under two minutes to go in the first half, so time was definitely important.

Apparently, that’s why McKitty lined up facing the opposite direction of his teammates before the snap.

They always say pictures are worth 1,000 words, and while many Florida State fans want to believe this was a microcosm to the Willie Taggart era, it definitely doesn’t tell the whole story.

Sure, it looks terrible, but the result of the play was actually solid.

Despite facing backwards, McKitty went into motion across the field, with a trio of wide receivers to his right. The shift gave running back Cam Akers a massive hole for a nice gain, which ultimately led to a first down and field goal just before halftime.

Florida State’s Backwards Play

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Naturally, people roasted McKitty for the supposed error. However, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound tight end said it wasn’t a terrible mistake.

“I’ve got a million messages about that. The offensive line had messed up, then we had to hurry up and get set so the defense couldn’t see our formation before the play. There was nothing wrong with me. I didn’t line up the wrong way on accident.”

— Florida State Seminoles tight end Tre’ McKitty, via 247Sports

Even FSU offensive coordinator Kendal Briles came to McKitty’s defense on the play.

“I know we didn’t snap the football until he turned sideways. I don’t know if that’s something y’all saw, OK? It’s a way to tempo without tempoing,” Briles said. “It was a stoppage situation where you cannot tempo so we came off the sideline. It’s a thing we do offensively, the guys can line up wherever they want, I don’t care, just get to the spot you need to get to and we tempo. I think it gained 11.”

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So there you have it. The play might have looked stupid, but McKitty was just doing what it took to make sure the Florida State football play went off without a hiccup.

If only the rest of the FSU football regular season in Tallahassee would have gone like that during ACC play…

This article was originally published September 10, 2019. 

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Brett Regan About the author:
With over 10 years of sports writing experience, Brett has covered some of the top local, regional, and national sporting events in the Heartland for both print and digital platforms. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and resides in Austin, Texas.
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