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FSU’s Biggest Questions for Boston College

Can they win?

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Florida State is set to kick off against Boston College at 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday afternoon. The Seminoles will be pulling out all the stops in hopes of staving off another defeat, including a new uniform combination. One more loss would mean that Florida State will not reach a bowl game for the first time in 37 years.

An injury to a starting quarterback and various personnel changes provoke some interesting questions ahead of Saturday’s game. We list the four most intriguing and attempt to forecast the answers.

Can the Seminoles Go All Out Stopping A.J. Dillon?

Boston College having to start its backup quarterback provides an interesting question for the Florida State defense. Given what we have seen over the past two weeks, Florida State taken a nosedive in stopping the run. Both Notre Dame and NC State did whatever it wanted on the ground, largely because the linebackers and safeties are completely helpless.

If Anthony Brown was healthy, Florida State would have to stick with what it has installed. But his injury could mean that Florida State can (theoretically) afford to sell out and stop running back A.J. Dillon. He is the powerhouse of the Boston College offense that does a little bit of everything. Shut him down, and FSU will have a chance.

Yet the play of the cornerbacks recently makes that a testy proposition. They have struggled when being put on islands and appear to have lost confidence. Will focusing on Dillon actually lead to a stymied Boston College offense? Or will Florida State let another backup quarterback record a career day?

Will Florida State’s Line Play Above Expectations Again?

Lost among the dismay over another blowout loss was the play of the offensive line. They were not world beaters and they had their terrible moments. Overall? They played average. Especially considering the Notre Dame defensive front.

That’s a pretty big improvement from their baseline of “awful”. If you take out Deondre Francois’ lost sack yardage, Florida State averaged more than four yards per carry. Cam Akers had two rushing touchdowns as well and 5.3 yards per carry. That is a sign of progress, and it gives the offense something to build on.

Boston College specializes in shutting down the running lanes by stacking the box. It will almost certainly succeed in doing so against Florida State, so now it is a test for the offensive line to give Francois enough time to make things happen down the field. If the Seminoles can beat expectations against Notre Dame, they can beat them against Boston College.

Which Receivers Bring the Best Chance of Winning?

One question that never got answered from the Notre Dame game is the combination of receivers. Nyqwan Murray getting put back into the starting lineup is odd considering his recent attitude issues, but he actually seemed committed during the game. More questionable is the decisions to play George Campbell and Ontaria Wilson. Campbell has shown nothing over the past five years to indicate that he is a reliable receiver, and Wilson is just an odd choice to send on deep routes.

Florida State has plenty of mismatches it can take advantage of in the secondary. Boston College’s cornerbacks and safeties are nothing special, and the sheer amount of talent on Florida State’s side could have a monster game.

It will not happen if guys like Campbell or Wilson get the reps they did against Notre Dame. Tamorrion Terry, Tre’Shaun Harrison, and Keith Gavin are all better options. It remains to be seen if FSU head coach Willie Taggart and offensive coordinator Walt Bell will actually do that.

Is the Season Lost?

Yes.

But is it lost to the point where Florida State goes full on youth movement in the final two games? Let’s say that Boston College jumps out to a lead and everything Florida State tries is not working. Breaking the bowl streak is a formality at that point. Why not put in a large group of younger players to gain them experience? If you are still planning on redshirting some guys, they might meet the criteria if they have played in less than four games.

Why stick with what is not working? There has been a lot of chatter inside the program that the staff made the wrong choice with some of its personnel decisions. It is causing some divide and giving off the impression that the leaders are doing a poor job. Players need a sign that the staff is dedicated to putting the absolute best product on the field. No one is satisfied with how the season has transpired, but there are little things here and there that the staff can do to help form a more cohesive team. Beyond anything else, Florida State needs to signal that it is going in the right direction.

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