The Florida State Seminoles were once a college football superpower, those days are long gone.
So forgive Seminole fans if they feel excited that it appears the days of agony may finally be behind them.
Florida State is loaded with talent, helped even further by the transfer portal, and now it has both momentum and upside to take what was achieved in 2022 and increase it even more…
Before booking our flights to Houston for the College Football Playoff National Championship, let’s pause briefly and reflect.
An early season victory against LSU was incredible; winning is all-important, but Brian Kelly almost pulled it off after Florida State got some welcome practice against Arkansas one week prior; these teams play in this year’s opener.
Beating Miami, Florida, and Oklahoma may seem incredible – all three teams finished with losing records – but this year’s schedule for teams with CFP aspirations is much tougher; national preseason expectations are sky-high, and so forth.
No matter. If Florida State is truly outstanding, none of that matters.
It seems the program is back into the national conversation regarding huge issues – after being out for too long!
Mike Norvell has built an offensive machine at Florida State that allowed for wide open lanes for his fastbacks to penetrate and gouge defenses for yards in chunks. While FSU used this attack several times over three seasons 2000-2021, it finally saw success last season when over 200 yards were scored in each of seven regular season games, finishing No.1 in ACC play while 13th nationally with an average of 214 per game averaged by Mike Norvell’s offense.
Treshaun Ward took off for Kansas State, while Trey Benson is leading a strong group of backs that could easily break five yards per carry again, working behind an intriguing front five. Florida State was undone during Willie Taggart’s regime due to an inadequate offensive line – now, however, that issue seems resolved.
Robert Scott is an NFL offensive tackle while Maurice Smith should be one of the ACC’s premier centers, but thanks to UTEP transfer Jeremiah Byers and Colorado transfer Casey Roddick as ready-made blockers, coupled with Bless Harris returning from an injury that forced him out for most of last season this line should become one of its greatest strengths.
Jordan Travis is an ideal quarterback for Florida State’s offensive needs. Now entering his sixth season as the veteran signal caller, Travis limits mistakes while being accurate on third downs, driving deep balls downfield and even taking off when necessary – running for over 400 yards and seven touchdowns this past year alone!
Johnny Wilson was a problem at wide receiver, averaging close to 21 yards per catch on average last season; but there are replacements already lined up to take his place: South Carolina tight end Jaheim Bell will soon join the NFL; Michigan State wideout Keon Coleman (58 catches with seven touchdowns last year) signed on last fall and many young options can make a mark when given their chance.
Florida State Seminoles Preview: Defense More takeaways would be nice, and the run D suffered against Florida and Oklahoma late last season; nevertheless, Florida State’s defense had one of its strongest seasons ever – more on that in Key To The Season. Defense might not be quite as strong but still be fantastic due to…
Jared Verse returned after impressing many as one of the most critical national pickups last season with a team-leading nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss to create havoc in an otherwise stagnant defense.
Braden Fiske is back to help out at one of the tackle positions. NFL prospect Fabien Lovett can also be found as one tackle option, making for an already strong group. Western Michigan veteran Braden Fiske can provide additional stability behind the line.
Linebackers are more than adequate. While not as solid or talented as the defensive backs, Tatum Bethune and Kalen DeLoach will still make plenty of plays together.
The defensive backs will shine. Although CB Omarion Cooper moved on to Colorado and Coach Prime, Renardo Green and Jarrian Jones have proven their value, as has Fentrell Cypress II from Virginia, who made 39 stops last season while breaking up 14 passes! Also noteworthy is S Akeem Dent, who leads an impressive pass rush that should prove equally effective against opposing teams.
Florida State got part of its reward when they hired Norvell, and his D may not stand out, ranking 107th in 2020 and 65th in 2021…
Clemson and Wake Forest had no difficulty beating Florida State with quarterbacks who completed 65% or above their throws to receivers. In comparison, Jayden Daniels connected at 71% accuracy against LSU, almost winning outright.
FSU went 0-4 during Norvell’s tenure against teams that reached the 65% threshold, becoming 1-12 against offenses that did.
Florida State Seminoles Have Been Prolific Transferpers. They welcomed in South Carolina’s Jaheim Bell as their Top Transfer, while Kansas State took away RB Treshaun Ward, who averaged an impressive 6.5 yards per carry to go along with over 1,100 yards and 11 scores over his two-season career. Nonetheless, Ward will still be missed at Florida State and will undoubtedly contribute in various capacities in the future.
South Carolina used Bell as both a power runner (73 carries with three touchdowns last season) and receiver – 55 receptions totalling 628 yards with seven scores over the last two years – making him a prime midrange target;. However, with his long reach ability, Bell can also stretch the field.
I expect the Noles to live up to expectations and win the ACC and possibly make the College Football playoffs.
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