At FSU (October 10th)
The 2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview continues with the preview of the Florida State Seminoles whom The U visits up at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on October 10th.
About FSU, They won the ACC title again, going 13-1, and getting thrashed by Oregon in Pasadena in the 1st College Football Playoff. Jimbo Fisher comes into season 5 in Florida’s capital city. You know what you’re getting from the Noles. There are some question marks this year. We all know the deal with the off the field issues that are well-documented.
Let’s talk about the Seminoles, on the field.
First, the offense. They were one of the schools that Braxton Miller was considering before ultimately deciding to stay in Columbus. They did add a “high profile transfer” in Everett Golson. While in South Bend, with Notre Dame, he was a highly productive player for three seasons, however, Seminole fans should cringe at this fact: He turned the ball over 22 times last year. However, Golson has big game experience and when you consider that he is one of only two active FBS quarterbacks to have started a national championship game and that Sean Maguire and J.J. Consentino don’t have much experience and Maguire being very inconsistent, this is Golson’s job to lose here. Year 1 in the Post-Jameis era should be very interesting to watch.
The running game is led by Sophomore Dalvin Cook. However, he is one of their players that is facing potential discipline for “off-field issues”, but even if he does end up suspended or worse, this is still a top-level unit to be reckoned with. Should they lose Cook, it would be a HUGE loss for them. You don’t easily replace a guy who rushed for 1,000+ yards in 2014. Should it be necessary to do so, Mario Pender is going to have to step up and carry the load left behind by a potential Cook suspension, and also possibly getting more work would be true freshman Jacques Patrick, a five-star recruit out of Orlando. Pender rushed for roughly 200 yards and four touchdowns as their third running back in 2014.
As for the receiving corps, it won’t be easy to replace guys like Rashad Greene (drafted in 5th round as the 3rd pick to Jacksonville) and Nick O’Leary (drafted in 6th round as the 18th pick to Buffalo), however, when you look at FSU, they have the talent to reload. Returning to Tallahassee in 2015, are Jesus Wilson and Travis Rudolph, both of whom had 500 yards receiving in 2014, and Ermon Lane, whom the coaches there are very high on, and as a Freshman, he showed flashes of why he was one of the top receivers in the country coming out of high school snaring 13 passes for 267 yards. Another WR who could have more chances to get passes his way this year is Kermit Whitfield is Whitfield caught 11 passes for 145 yards in 2014.
As much talent as they have at the skill positions, there will be a new Offensive Line in 2015. If there’s a ? with the O, its here. Gone are two All-Americans. The only one back with experience is LT Roderick Johnson, whose being asked to step up and be the leader of the offensive line. He only has five career starts. The only other lineman that has started a game is Ryan Hoefield, who has four career starts at left guard, but he’s not listed as a starter right now. Look for him though to end up being the Center. Make no mistake, the talent is there, if they can step up and produce a solid season, then they’ll be ok.
Now, let’s move over to the other side of the ball on Defense.
Their back seven is very very good, especially the Linebackers. They have back Reggie Northrup, Terrance Smith and DeMarcus Walker, as well as their top reserve in Matthew Thomas. In 2014, Northrup led the team with 91.5 tackles. Smith was their best LB in coverage, picking off two passes, breaking up a pass, and forcing a fumble. As for DeMarcus Walker, he led their LB’ers in tackles for loss with six.
They will have to play a bigger role this year because the D-Line will have some new faces this year. Gone are Mario Edwards, Jr. (drafted in the 2nd round by the Oakland Raiders), Eddie Goldman (drafted in the 2nd round by the Chicago Bears and the pick was endorsed by Dick Butkus) and Desmond Hollin (signed as UFA by the Denver Broncos). Combined, those three players had 23 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Its going to be up to Chris Casher to step up and be their top pass rusher in 2015. Derrick2 (Nnadi and Mitchell, Jr.) need to be the guys on the interior that step up, and really make a difference vs the run and be effective pass rushers next to Nile Lawrence-Stample, their DT.
As for their Secondary, the best player there is Jalen Ramsey, who will likely, barring injury and doesn’t get in trouble off the field, will be a Top 5 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. This guy is the real deal. In 2014, he had 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, twelve pass break-ups and three forced fumbles. Ramsey by himself, changes a gameplan for opposing Head Coaches and Offensive coordinators. However, Ramsey isn’t the only game in town. He will have with him coming back, Safeties Nate Andrews and Tyler Hunter. Andrews, last year, was second on their team with 79.5 tackles and also picked off three passes. As for Hunter, he had an interception, but where he did his damage was breaking up 7 passes. Also back for them is Sophomore Tyler Marshall.
As for their special teams, they don’t get any better than Junior Roberto Aguayo, who, unlike FSU kickers of the past, has been money when it matters most, and punter Carson Beatty. While their coverage units are excellent, the kickoff return team must be better, when you consider the fact they averaged just 20 yards per return in 2014.
What to expect from FSU
Looking at them on tape, you know what to expect from them. They are explosive Offensively, and ball-hawks on the defensive end, especially Ramsey. They will hit big plays, and if Golson can limit the turnovers and come up big like he has in his career, this will be like if Jameis weren’t even there. If their D up front steps up early to replace the losses they suffered there, you know their back seven is very good, and if they stay healthy, they have another 10-11 win team there again in 2015.
The video you see below is highlights of Everett Golson from last year.
This video is FSU from last season
This video is of last year's heartbreaker at Sun Life
Well, this is the ACC opener for The U. They’ve lost 5 straight times on (4 on Al’s watch). This will be a game that comes down to the end, whoever executes when it matters most will win. Being that this game is in Tallahassee, I want to believe this is finally the game where Al gets his signature win, but I just believe in the end, FSU will make enough plays late, to get the win over The U.
FSU by 3-7 points here over the CANES.