4. Q: What’s really the problem with Florida State?
Yeah, we already sort of did this question in a way in the 2019 ACC Preview, but it wasn’t all that long ago – just before the 2017 season – that the Seminoles were being hyped as a possible College Football Playoff contender. What happened, and what needs the biggest fix?
Offensive line, offensive line, offensive line.
Of course the quarterback play hasn’t been great – partly due to the problems on the offensive front – and the defense certainly wasn’t its normal killer self, but the first step to getting back to being the Florida State that was a consistent part of the national title chase is to up the consistency on the front five.
The pass protection was a bit iffy before 2017 – giving up 36 sacks in 2016 – but at least the running game worked.
The Noles averaged over five yards per carry three seasons ago, and Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick were solid in 2017, but everything fell off the map last season with just under 1,100 yards on the ground while averaging fewer than three yards per carry.
If Florida State is going to rise back up, the talent has to emerge in a hurry.
On the national championship team of 2013, the Noles had three First Team All-ACC stars, a third-teamer, and Bobby Hart earned Honorable Mention honors.
How about as recently as 2016? Roderick Johnson made the All-ACC First Team, Kareem Are was a second-teamer, and Wilson Bell and Alec Eberle earned Honorable Mention honors.
How many Florida State offensive linemen made any sort of an All-AAC team last year? Zero.
How many Clemson offensive linemen earned All-ACC honors? Five. How about Coastal champion Pitt? Four.
So is this year’s FSU line going to be better? It’s not quite starting over after losing three starters, but the development in fall camp will be among the season’s biggest keys.