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Florida State Seminoles

After an extended layoff Noles freshman QB James Blackman gets first start

Ari Russell



(Photo by Scott Donaldson/Icon Sportswire)

It feels like an entirety since FSU starting QB Deondre Francois went down in the 2nd half of FSU’s  loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide to start the season. A little storm called Hurricane Irma kind of has had just a slight impact on the Noles season thus far. Their September 9th game against Louisiana Monroe got canceled and then their scheduled September 16th game against rival Miami got rescheduled to October 7th. Freshman QB James Blackman, who played one series in the loss to Alabama, but did not complete a single pass, will get his shot finally on Saturday against NC State.

For Blackman, it will be interesting to see what this extended time off will do. On one hand he’s going to have to deal with his first ever start in college with the rest of the team rusty. On the other hand he has had some extra practice time with the first unit to work on timing. It’s kind of a double edged sword and the only way we will find out if Blackman is ready for the big time is how he performs against the Wolfpack.

Let’s also not forget that Blackman was one of the top QB prospects coming out of high school. His career actually was not supposed to start this way. The 6’5 169 lb young man from the football factory known as Belle Glade was supposed to at least spend a year or two holding a clip board and gaining some weight as he learned the game from Deondre Francois. Well a funny thing happened on the way to the forum aka Doak Campbell Stadium. Well maybe not that funny, but life does create unexpected narratives at times. The Francois injury is throwing Blackman slam into the fire against a conference opponent.

This wasn’t the intended plan with Blackman, however the country is going to learn really quick how great of a recruiter Jimbo Fisher really is. We also already know what kind of coach he is. You can expect Fisher to likely limit the offensive playbook at least somewhat to keep things more basic for the true freshman. If we are looking at things on paper the Noles are probably talented enough to beat NC State if they tossed me out there at QB. Okay that’s quite the hyperbole, but you get the point.

Perhaps Fisher’s biggest concern will not be the performance of Blackman, but more the performance of the offensive line. The main reason Francois went down with a season ending injury was because the offensive line was manhandled against Alabama. Not going to sit here and compare NC State’s defense to that of Alabama, however you toss in a QB who’s wet behind the ears and a suspect pass protection and things could get dicey for Blackman.

With all that said, it’s still exciting to finally see some football. We know all the Noles players are eager to finally restart the season. We know James Blackman is excited to get his chance a little earlier. We also know that NC State is itching to shock the college football world by pulling an upset over the 12th ranked Seminoles. Kickoff is at noon ET.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

Florida State Seminoles

FSU and LSU announced two game neutral site series Tuesday

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In an effort to continue to beef up their out-of-conference schedules, FSU announced on Tuesday that they will play newly-crowned National Champion, LSU in two neutral site games coming soon in 2022 and 2023.

The Seminoles made the announcement through social media and their website that they will be playing the “Bayou Bengals” first in New Orleans and then, in Orlando:

Both teams will be given the benefit of essentially a “home-away-from-home neutral-site game” on Labor Day weekend. LSU considers New Orleans to be their second home and just won the College Football Playoff National Championship game over Clemson there on January 12.

The first game with the Noles will be on Saturday night September 4th, 2022.

FSU will, then play “hosts” in Orlando against the Tigers the following year on Saturday night September 3rd. The Noles recently played a season-opening game with Ole Miss, whom they defeated, at Camping World Stadium in 2016.

New Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell had this to say in the school statement about adding the games coming soon,

“I’m excited about this series,” head coach Mike Norvell said. “Florida State has a rich tradition in Louisiana, the home of many former Seminoles including Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor, and all three of our national championship teams had at least one player from Louisiana. It continues to be an important area for us now. We added two players from Louisiana in our first signing class, and it will be great for them and other future Noles to be able to play back in their home state.

This series matches two of the iconic brands in college football, and I know our fans will have a great time in New Orleans and Orlando. I want to thank our administration for all their hard work on this and for continuing to pursue first-class experiences for our student-athletes.”

These will be the 10th and 11th times that Florida State and LSU will meet. The Noles hold a 7 – 2 advantage, including winning four straight games in the series. It is the first time the two schools will have played since 1991.

Further, Florida State is 9 – 2 in their last 11 games opening a season on a neutral field. The Seminoles were to have played Boise State in Jacksonville last Labor Day weekend, but the threat of Hurricane Dorian moved the game to Tallahasse.

That’s where the Broncos upset the Seminoles and sent coach Willie Taggart into a second year spiral that resulted in his firing in November.

The Noles are also 8 – 2 all-time in games  at the Superdome with the most prominent one coming in the BCS Championship Game win over Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.

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Florida State Seminoles

Deion tells Dan Patrick he’d consider coaching Hurricanes

Florida Football Insiders



Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Hall of Famer and former Seminoles All-American defensive back Deion Sanders is making the rounds for broadcast outlets at Super Bowl 54 in Miami,. And it’s not just his NFL Network duties that made some news on Tuesday. Rather, it’s an interview, where he expressed more desire for coaching college football and maybe, even in the city where he currently is working this week.

Sanders appeared on The Dan Patrick television – radio show Tuesday in advance of the 49ers and the Chiefs meeting for pro football’s title at Hard Rock stadium Sunday night.

And, while most of the interview centered around the NFL and the Super Bowl match-up, Patrick naturally turned to Deion’s desire to apparently be a head coach in college football and maybe, as soon as next year.

This subject came up after Sanders was apparently under consideration to possibly be the new head coach at FSU, when they fired Willie Taggart in early November. The school and AD David Coburn did confirm that they had a serious formal discussion with “Prime Time” about building a staff, etc.

That’s when Patrick turn the questioning to Sanders’ son and what might test his loyalty to FSU and possibly, coaching at a hated-rival like the University of Miami.

“What if ‘The U’ called?” Patrick asked.

“You know what is so funny, cuz I saw that when I was watching you on television (earlier in the day when Patrick said he would ask Sanders about Miami). My son is a phenomenal quarterback. My youngest son. He has a plethora of offers. We’re going to visit ‘The U’ on Saturday,” Sanders said.

“But would you coach the U?,” Patrick quickly asked again.

“You know what. You never know,” Sanders replied leaving the door open, like most do.

“Are you a ‘package deal’ with your son,” asked Patrick?

“I’ve never been a package deal with any-body,” Sanders shot back, which drew laughter from the studio audience at Patrick’s Super Bowl show site.

Now, the Hurricanes have obviously floundered for much of the 2010s, including 2019 with first-year coach Manny Diaz struggling mightily down the stretch of his first season. Miami lost it’s final two games to finish 6 – 6, and then, were shutout humiliatingly by Louisiana Tech 14 – 0 in the Independence Bowl.

Miami has swapped offensive coordinators after Diaz fired Dan Enos after just his first season. The Canes have hired former Auburn and SMU play-caller Rhett Lashlee to replace him. And, they secured Houston dual threat transfer QB D’Eriq King for this season.

Sanders was a two-time All-American at Florida State (1987, ’88), and won the Jim Thorpe Award during his final season playing for the Seminoles in 1988. He was selected in the first round of the 1989 draft by the Atlanta Falcons and played in the NFL through the 2005 season.

His elite level of play earned him inductions into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Sanders has been analyst for the NFL Network for the past 10 years and clearly has the desire to try something else.

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