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.
FSU released Mike Norvell’s assistant coach’s salary info
New FSU coach Mike Norvell is full speed ahead in every aspect of his program, including finalizing his coaching staff. And, he and the athletic department are making sure that his coaches are more than competitively compensated for his first season.
The Tallahassee Democrat obtained coaching salary information for seven of the eight assistants that Norvell has agreed with. According to their reporting, seven coaches have signed a “letter of understanding” in lieu of later actual contract and it details their compensation amounts:
— Curt Weiler (@CurtMWeiler) January 24, 2020
First, Norvell agreed to a six year deal in December to take over in Tallahassee and it will average just over $4.4 million over the life of the deal. He also received an assistant pool from the school of $5.25 million.
On the breakdown, Norvell’s highest paid assistant will be defensive coordinator, Adam Fuller, who is slated to make $800,000 this season after coming to the Noles with Norvell from Memphis
Norvell will pay FSU’s new offensive coordinator, Kenny Dillingham, who was at Auburn a year ago, but was previously the offensive coordinator at Memphis with Norvell before that, $625,000. And, special teams coordinator John Papuchis will earn $550,000 this season.
The paper also learn the three other position coaches are also going to be making half a million dollars each. Interestingly, defensive line coach Odell Haggins has an existing salary a $482,000 and is being retained by Norvell. One would have to believe with the job that Haggins did, once again as the interim head coach for the final three games of the season and FSU’s bowl game, if you’ll receive some type of raise.
Receivers Coach Ron Dugans was also retained by Norvell and his compensation is slated to be $450,000 for this season, unless Norvell, chooses to give him as raise, too.
The only salary exception is defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson, who has been reportedly hired this past week, but not officially announced by the school. And, FSU obviously does not have a letter of understanding with Woodson, like the others do.
Norvell has taken over the Seminoles after leading the Memphis Tigers to their most successful season in their history at 12 – 1, including an American Conference Championship game win over Cincinnati. That earned them a berth in the Cotton Bowl.
Norvell did not return to coach that game is Penn State defeated them on New Year’s Day.
His previous salary was just over $2.5 million with incentives at Memphis.
ACC releases FSU and Miami dates for 2020 opponents
The Atlantic Coast Conference released their conference schedule for 2020 on Wednesday morning, and we now know the opponents and the order of conference games for the Seminoles and the Hurricanes.
First, for Miami. They already knew that they were opening the pre-conference schedule with Temple at home on Saturday, September 5th, and there toughest early test will likely be at Michigan State three Saturdays later.
The 2020 📅 has officially arrived!
This year's schedule features seven games at @HardRockStadium including Florida State.
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) January 22, 2020
Miami will play their only non-Saturday ACC game six days later on a Friday night in Winston-Salem, NC, against Wake Forest.
Miami also has home games with North Carolina and then the Seminoles, which comes on November 7th. The Hurricanes will also play at Virginia, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech before finishing the season on Saturday November 28th back at home vs. Duke.
As for the Seminoles, they come off of a loaded pre-conference season where they are playing West Virginia in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend Saturday September 5th. And, they are playing at Boise State in the return game for last year’s upset loss on September 19th in Idaho.
FSU learned Wednesday, that they will open at NC State on Saturday October 3rd. The Noles and first year coach Mike Norvell, then get four time defending champion Clemson, as their second ACC opponent the following week in Tallahassee.
Then, they also host Wake Forest on October 17th. FSU’s remaining road games are at Louisville, Miami and Syracuse. The game against the Orange will be on Thursday night November 19th.
Florida State’s final ACC home game will be with Boston College on the previous Saturday, November 14th.
As part of the ACC schedule release, UCF learned that they will be playing Friday night September 4th in their home opener with North Carolina. That game to be televised nationally by ESPN.
The Knights already knew that they would be playing Georgia Tech in the pre-conference schedule on September 19th in Atlanta.
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