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Florida State Seminoles

Is this the end for Raiders kicker/former Nole Sebastian Janikowski?

Florida Football Insiders

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

At some point father time gets the best of all of us. And, we wonder if that is the case for the tremendous 18 year career of Raiders kicker and former FSU All American, Sebastian Janikowski.

Janikowski, who’s lethal leg strength once made him a first round pick, sat out last season on injured reserve with a back injury. And now, Oakland appears set to release him prior to the start of the new league year in March.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter had the story first on Wednesday evening:

Janikowski holds the NFL record currently, and may forever, with an astounding 55 field goals of 50 yards + in his career. He also has career 80% success rate (414-515 made), and was regarded as the standard of long distance field goal kickers in pro football throughout the 2000’s. Amazingly Janikowski only made one Pro Bowl, in 2011.

His career launched at Florida State in 1997-99, where he won the Lou Groza award as the nation’s top kicker in each of his last two seasons. Janikowski also kicked for the Noles in the BCS Title Game win over Michael Vick and Virginia Tech.

The Raiders brash late owner Al Davis turned heads, when he selected Janikowski with the 17th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. And, during an erratic rookie season where he was a shaky 22-32 in field goal attempts, former and now, once again, Raiders coach Jon Gruden admitted this past season that he wanted Janikowski benched or released.

Davis and the Raiders stuck with Janikowski and the rest is a storied career and a definite fan favorite of the Raiders “Black Hole.”

Oakland chose to put him on injured reserve last September with a back injury and went to another left footed kicker in rookie Giorgio Tavecchio who made 16-21 field goals on the year for the Raiders.

Janikowski turns 40 years old on March 2nd, and while others, like Hall of Famer Morten Andersen, have kicked in the NFL in their 40’s, you wonder if Janikowski can come back.

If he can’t, it’s a 17 year career of booming left footed field goals to remember.

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Florida State Seminoles

New FSU coach Willie Taggart anxious to get Noles nationally relevant again

Florida Football Insiders

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Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday morning new FSU coach Willie Taggart met with the ACC media signaling that Seminoles practice and September games won’t be far behind.

Interestingly, it was Taggart’s third different conference media kickoff with his third different school in three years. A year ago he was standing in Los Angeles, as Oregon’s coach at the Pac 12 media days and two years ago, was representing USF at the American Athletic Conference at their media kickoff in Newport, RI.

Nevertheless, Taggart has infused Florida State and their fan base and continued to share his vision for immediately improving them on and off the field. He spoke at length with the ACC Media:

Taggart covered several interesting subjects, including lack of offensive productivity. He was asked whether it shocked him that FSU was ranked last in several ACC offensive categories:

“I think everything about last year shocked me…. That’s football. That’s life. That’s behind us, now. It’s on us to change those things, because it’s up to us to change those things… That’s the expectation for us: to be a whole lot better than what we did last year. So, I’m looking forward to our guys changing that narrative.”

He was then asked about his vision for the Seminoles program in the near future:

“My vision for this program s to win multiple championships in a first class manner…. That’s always going to be our vision. And, to me, that’s what Florida State is all about. That’s what I grew up (in Bradenton) watchin’, lovin’, when it came to Florida State football. Every year competing for a championship…Every year they were winning. That’s our goal. That’s our vision. That’s why you come to Florida State. To win championships.”

The ACC media waited until the end to ask about the competition at quarterback for this fall. Taggart was amused.

“This is the last question? And someone finally asked me about the quarterback position?… I am kinda like the rest of you all. I’m ready to see who’s going to be our quarterback, as well. I’m excited. This is the first time I’ve been in a position as a the head football coach where we have three guys that can play for you. I’m looking forward to training camp and these guys competing for the job… They understand when you come here, you’re going to have to compete. Nothing is going to be given to you…. Can’t wait to see who separates themselves, as we go into the season. As soon as they do that, we will let you all know.”

The Noles will return 2016 starting QB Deondre Francois, who was lost for the season in the opening game with Alabama, and also sophomore James Blackman who took over and played better, as the season wore on. He led FSU to wins over the Gators and in the Independence Bowl over Southern Miss.

It will be easier with battering ram running back Cam Akers to hand the ball off to, as well.

Finally, Taggart does have a lot to live up to after the Noles massive success of 35 plus years and counting. He’s a coach that is only 47-50 for his career at Western Kentucky, USF and last year at Oregon (7-5 a year ago) and Taggart knows that scrutiny will start with the Labor Day night opener at home with conference rival Virginia Tech and only grow from there.

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Florida State Seminoles

Noles will open 2019 season in Jacksonville against Boise State

Florida Football Insiders

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

We knew that Florida State would be opening their 2019 season with Boise State, as part of a “home and home” agreement. However, we now know that the game will not be played at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, but rather, at the newly renamed TIAA Bank Stadium in Jacksonville.

The Boise State website released the date (August 31st, 2019) and the location on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Florida Times-Union website has more on the game:

As the article indicates, the Jacksonville Sports Council or “JaxSports” had intended to make the announcement on Wednesday about the game coming to North Florida, but they were scooped on their scoop by the Broncos.

This will be FSU’s first regular season appearance at the stadium, the 2008 season, when Bobby Bowden’s Noles defeated Colorado 39-21. Coincidentally, Bowden coached his final game of his career at Florida State in the “Gator Bowl” game in that stadium on New Year’s Day 2010, as the Seminoles defeated his former school, West Virginia.

FSU led by QB E.J. Manuel, won that day 33-21 over the Mountaineers, which finished Bowden’s career with 389 wins, the Division I all time record for coaches.

The 2019 opener will be part of the college football kickoff weekend and will be nationally televised by one of ESPN’s networks. This is part of a recent trend by the network to pay heavily to powerhouse programs to play each other that first weekend in “made for TV” match-ups.

Florida State played in such a game on Labor Day night last year in Atlanta, where Alabama defeated them in the “Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic” game at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium. Both preseaon top five teams, The Tide stuffed FSU 24-7, and the Noles lost QB Deondre Francois to a season ending knee injury in the fourth quarter.

Longtime Florida State fans have a negative memory in Jacksonville, as the Seminoles were shocked in the opening game of the 1989 season as the preseason #6 team. That opening day, a little known (at the time) QB by the name of Brett Favre led Southern Miss to a 30-26 upset that put him on the radar for the first time and he eventually went on to a Hall of Fame NFL career.

This 2019 game with Boise State is for now set for that Saturday, but could be moved to Sunday or Monday, if ESPN desires at a later date.

Boise is no stranger to opening weekend “made for TV” upsets, as they stunned Georgia in “home away from home” game Atlanta in September of 2011.

The Noles are scheduled to return the home game to the Broncos the following year (2020), but that could be negotiated to another location. This is especially, since FSU moved their game out of their home stadium.

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Florida State Seminoles

Deondre Francois may be a slight weed head, but he’s no criminal

Ari Russell

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(USA Today - Melina Myers)

If you haven’t heard the recent story surrounding FSU QB Deondre Francois regarding his most recent brush up with the local law enforcement in Tallahassee you clearly have been living under a rock. Francois was recently cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession, but is going to have a clean record because he’s participating in a diversion program.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, there is indeed more to this story:

Deondre Francois became the subject of a two-month drug investigation after Tallahassee police received a tip and believed the Florida State quarterback possessed marijuana with the intent to sell, according to a search warrant obtained by the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday.

The anonymous male tipster, who was inside Francois’s apartment in late February, said he saw a large paper grocery-type bag full of cannabis, which TPD estimated at about two pounds, present during a drug-related crime.

The tip led to an investigation in which TPD collected and examined the contents of Francois’ curbside garbage on four separate occasions.

But when TPD concluded its investigation of Francois last Thursday, an executed search warrant conducted at his apartment yielded just 17 grams of marijuana among other items.

To do some math for you: there’s 28 grams in an ounce of marijuana, for those who don’t know. That would mean 17 grams is slightly under 5/8th of an ounce. The local law enforcement spent tax payer money to run a surveillance program for two months to seize 5/8ths of weed.

I want folks to think about this for a second to see how ridiculous this is. Also, I also think people need to hold back their judgement about this situation, as well, unless they understand kind of how drug busts work.

Most of the intelligence police gather are from confidential informants or “CIs” for short. Usually, CIs are involved in some criminal activities themselves. Often times what happens is: confidential informants get caught themselves and are released without a record, as long as they help the police make a larger bust. Basically, you aren’t dealing with any church pastors, unless it’s the pastor doing dirt. These are the guys in the game.

So, yes, the man who gave the police a tip would be categorized as a snitch. My guess, and this is just speculation, is the person they local police used was someone who had previously got caught with marijuana and they scared that person.

So, he said he knew a big name to get him off the hook. It’s possible it’s another student. Who knows?

All evidence at this point makes it look like Francois and his girlfriend like to smoke some weed. Big deal! Weed is legal in several states now and the nation’s capital. Sure it’s not legal for recreation purposes in Florida, but it could be in a few years.

It’s good that Francois isn’t going to have any of this on his record. However, he isn’t going to escape the criticism from folks in the media that are going to make a bigger deal out of this than it really is. It’s strange how these football players can be prescribed opioids for pain management, but as soon as they smoke weed for the same reasons, they are a criminal.

Deondre Francois is guilty of being a weed head or hanging around weed heads. He’s not Nino Brown from New Jack City, like the local police department apparently treated him like.

The Tallahassee Police Department played themselves. As for folks in the media blasting Francois, they need to chill a little bit. Maybe, spark up a backwood or something and relax.

Let Francois live!.

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