Preview 2017: Florida State Seminoles

Preview 2017: Florida State Seminoles

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Preview 2017: Florida State Seminoles

Preview 2017: Florida State Seminoles


Previewing and looking ahead at the Florida State Seminoles season – and what you need to know.


Contact @PeteFiutak

2017 Florida State Preview: Is FSU A Superpower? Of course
– 2017 Florida State Schedule Analysis
Florida State Previews: 2016 | 2015

What You Need To Know About The Florida State Offense

The offensive coordinators Randy Sanders and Lawrence Dawsey have plenty of superstar talent to work with, but there are still a whole lot of question marks.

Deondre Francois is the starting quarterback – that’s not a concern at this point. He’s tough, experienced, and good enough to make everyone around him better. As always, there are potential playmakers and NFL prospects to throw to, but can the receivers take over and shine with Travis Rudolph, Kermit Whitfield and Jesus Wilson done? Yeah, but Nyqwan Murray and Auden Tate have to be the main men now.

FSU is good enough to get into the Tailback U. discussion, and once again, there are a whole slew of excellent options ready to step in with Dalvin Cook taking off early for the NFL. Super-recruit Cam Akers is going to step out of the box and into the starting lineup right away, while Jacques Patrick could start for just about anyone else.

And then there’s the O line. Good last year – even if the pass protection went bye-bye at times – this could be the team’s biggest issue after losing Roderick Johnson and Kareem Are from the left side, and with all-star guard Wilson Bell transferring to Auburn.

Biggest Key To The Florida State Offense

Keep Deondre upright. – There won’t be any problems cranking up the Dalvin-less running game – the backs will do their part and the line will be just fine – but the patched up offensive front has to be able to make sure its quarterback doesn’t take the monster shots he endured way too often last year.

The line might have paved the way for over five yards per carry, but it also allowed 36 sacks – and that was with Kareem Are and Roderick Johnson. There options behind Francois are okay, but the national title dreams are over if No. 12 gets knocked out.

What You Need To Know About The Florida State Defense

Defensive coordinator Charles Kelly is about to create an absolute monster, especially in the secondary.

If everyone stays healthy, the Best In Country Discussion of defensive backs is over. The safety combination of Derwin James, Nate Andrews, Trey Marshall and Ermon Lane is peerless, and corner Tarvarus McFadden is an interception master.

Sacks won’t be a problem for a defensive front that loses DeMarcus Walker, but should be devastating with Brian Burns, Josh Sweat, and Derrick Nnadi forming the corps for one of the nation’s better lines. The starting linebacking trio of Ro’Derrick Hoskins, Jacob Pugh, and leading tackler Matthew Thomas is back, too.

Biggest Key To The Florida State Defense

Hold up against the next-level quarterbacks. And the mobile ones, too. The Seminoles lost three games last season, partly because Lamar Jackson decided to end the Heisman race in mid-September, Deshaun Watson was Deshaun Watson, and Mitchell Trubisky – back when he was Mitch – looked like the No. 1 overall pick, hitting over 80% of his throws for 405 yards in the Tar Heel win. Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly had some fun, too.

The pass rush was fine against all those QBs, and while the secondary was banged up, it was talented enough to have been better in the losses. Alabama’s Jalen Hurts isn’t going to wing the ball all over the yard, but he’ll have to be contained in the opener.

Florida State Will Be Far Better If …

The penalties slow down. The Noles put themselves in a hole against Ole Miss, and killed themselves against Clemson and North Carolina because of flags.

They got nailed 15 times for 127 yards against Ole Miss, and were hit 13 times in each of the losses to UNC and Clemson for well over 100 yards. There were more problems than flags against Louisville, but they still got penalized eight times for 84 yards. On the year, FSU was penalized a whopping 100 times for 948 yards – the most since 2011.

Best Florida State Offensive Player

QB Deondre Francois, Soph. – There were several options to try taking over he quarterbacking reins, but Francois emerged from the pack and pulled off a terrific freshman season, completing 59% of his passes for 3,350 yards and 20 scores with just seven touchdowns, while catching 196 yards and five scores.

At 6-2 and 205 pounds, he’s not all that big, and he doesn’t have the biggest arm, but he’s got the moxie and the unquestioned toughness to keep battling through anything and everything. He took a massive beating at times last season – Miami spent the game tap-dancing on his head – and he always came back and produced. Now he’s the leader for an offense that needs the experience and veteran talent to shine through instantly with Bama up first.

2. RB Cam Akers, Fr.
3. C Alec Eberle, Jr.
4. WR Nyqwan Murray, Jr.
5. OG Cole Minshew, Soph.

Best Florida State Defensive Player

S Derwin James, Soph. – Yeah, it sounds like hyperbole, and yeah, he has to prove himself all over again, but it’s not insane to suggest that he might just be the most talented Florida State defensive back since Deion Sanders.

The 6-3, 211-pounder came up wth 91 tackles with five broken up passes and 9.5 tackles for loss in 2015, but suffered a knee injury early last season and was gone for the year. Fortunately, he’s had enough time to get right again, and now, watch out. If the Thorpe Award isn’t his already, he’ll be in the team photo for it.

2. CB Tavarus McFadden, Jr.
3. DT Derrick Nnadi, Sr.
4. S Nate Andrews, Sr.
5. DT Demarcus Christmas, Jr.

Key Player To A Successful Season

WR Nyqwan Murray, Jr. – At 5-11 and 176 pounds with incredible quickness and speed, he’s got the skills and ability to be a No. 1 target, but he has to be even more. The second-best receiver last year behind Travis Rudolph, he’s joined by Auden Tate and Da’Vante Phillips to create a good-looking corps with the upside to be special – but that’s not a given. If “Noonie” is next-level good, the Seminole offense will go to another level.

The Florida State Season Will Be A Success If …

There’s a run to the College Football Playoff. No matter how it happens, no matter if FSU has to 2016 Ohio State it, or if it rolls to 13-0 with an ACC Championship, anything less than getting into the CFP would be a disaster. All bets are off once the team is in the tournament, but winning the national championship is on the table. First, FSU has to get behind the rope and get its shot.

Key Game To The Florida State Season

Sept. 2 vs. Alabama (in Atlanta) – Of course the showdowns against Miami, Louisville, and Clemson could matter just a wee bit more, and the Noles could lose the opener to Alabama, run the table, and still be fine. But considering those battles against the Cardinals and Tigers are on the road – not to mention the regular-season finale against Florida – losing to the Crimson Tide will put the pressure on in the CFP hunt. Beat Bama, and FSU is the No. 1 team in the country.

2016 Florida State Fun Stats

– Red Zone Scoring: Florida State 55-of-57 (96%) – Opponents 36-of-45 (80%)
– Time of Possession: Florida State 32:55 – Opponents 27:05
– 2nd Quarter Scoring: Opponents 97 – Florida State 95

– 2017 Florida State Preview: Is FSU A Superpower? Of course
– 2017 Florida State Schedule Analysis
– Florida State Previews: 2016 | 2015

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