Finally, after what felt like another off-season the Florida State Seminoles will take the field Saturday at noon vs North Carolina State.
Unfortunately for the Noles it wasn’t a whole off-season and starting QB Deandre Francois is still out for the season.
With then Noles back in action kicking off ACC play here are a few things to watch for:
The Running Game: The last time we saw the Noles in action they were stagnant on offense thanks to the stingy Alabama defense. The Noles had a disappointing 40 yards rushing on 27 attempts.
In order to help out, freshman James Blackman, Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick will need to step up.
Patrick started the game for FSU but was bottled up on his 6 carries for a total of 17 yards. True freshman Cam Akers then came in and showed a burst but he was held to 30 yards on 10 carries.
The Noles will need to set the tone and establish the run game early and often vs. the Wolfpack to avoid the upset.
James Blackman: To be a true freshman and start for a major college program is difficult. To have your first start come in conference play won’t help either. Blackman will be tasked with leading the Noles through the rest of the season. We don’t know much about him on the field. We wrote before if James Blackman help save FSU’s season? All eyes will be on the young man as he tries to get the offense out of reverse and back into drive.
O-Line and Wide receivers: For Blackman and the run game to have any success, the offensive line will need to have a drastic turnaround. Last season, Francois was a tackling dummy at times being hit left and right. If Blackman gets hit as much as Francois was last season, then he may also not make it through the year.
If the run game isn’t able to get going, then Backman will be forced to throw 30-40 times a game and that does not sound appealing right now.
But if the line and the run game get moving then it opens things up for the talented wide receivers. Nyqwan Murray, Auden Tate, and Keith Gavin are a good set of wideouts. We have seen what they can do when they have had a chance to get the ball in the air, or when they can catch and run.
If Blackman gets the opportunity to sling the ball around with time we could see the start of something special in Tallahassee.