The Florida State Seminoles are set to take on Boston College Friday night. What looked like in the pre-season, as a possible trap game for the Noles, now looks like a must win.
Coming off of a tough loss at home to Louisville, the Noles are looking to bounce back and here are a few things to watch.
With Jacques Patrick now out for the season the offensive backfield is being run by the true freshmen. With Deondre Francois expected back next year, QB James Blackman is just holding down his spot. Fellow freshman Cam Akers (above), on the other hand, can solidify his role as the lead back for the next few years. With 454 yards on just 87 carries, Akers averaging 5.2 yards a carry and his numbers should only go up.
Everyone has been waiting for this defense to dominate a game for four quarters. With the offense being crippled by a new injury seemingly every week, the time is now for the defense. With so much talent on the unit can they put the team on their back with a stout performance? Coordinator Charles Kelly needs his unit to step with the “boo birds” coming out every week. He could very well be coaching for his job the rest of the way.
With the Noles traveling to Boston weather may play a part in this match-up. Though it won’t be snowing during the game, the cold weather will still play a factor. The northernmost game they have played was vs. Duke so it will be interesting to see how the Noles look. The Eagles meanwhile come off of back to back road wins at Louisville and a blowout of Virginia.
On the Injury front, it will be interesting to see if star WR Auden Tate plays. Coming off another injury in FSU’s game last Saturday and a short week ,can the playmaker be there for the struggling offense?
To make a bowl game this is almost a must win for the Noles. With the game in the national spotlight, the Noles can show the nation they are not dead, just yet.
Report- FSU hires Memphis coach Mike Norvell
The Memphis Tigers secured the American Conference Championship with a dramatic 29 – 24 win over Cincinnati Saturday night, and has been rumored, FSU is securing the Tigers head coach.
Multiple media reports said Saturday night that FSU will name the Memphis head coach, Mike Norvell, to the same position Sunday at a news conference on campus in Tallahassee. The Tallahassee Democrat reported as fact, that Norvell had been hired, but didn’t site a source:
— Wayne McGahee III (@WayneMcGaheeIII) December 8, 2019
FSU told the media Saturday evening that the press conference will be at noon eastern time, which will also be at the same time that the College Football Playoff rankings show will be taking place on ESPN.
And while Norville’s Tigers won’t be in the College Football Playoff, they will be the highest ranked team in the “Group of Five” bowl category, and that means they will be headed to the Cotton Bowl.
However, that will likely be without their head coach of the last four seasons. Norvell took over as a first-time head coach in Memphis in 2016 after having spent the previous four seasons, as offensive coordinator at Arizona State.
Memphis won 8 games his first season and then 10 games in his second year. Now, they have just completed the best season in program history at 12 – 1, with that lone loss coming at Temple in October. The Tigers beat the East Division AAC champ, Cincinnati, in each of the last two weeks.
The Tigers won dramatically on Saturday afternoon (above) by scoring with just over a minute left in the game. That’s when quarterback Brady White hit wide receiver Antonio Gibson with a 6-yard touchdown and the 29-24 lead. The Tigers missed the two point play and the Bearcats still had life to win the game.
But, Memphis’ defense then held Cincinnati on downs after the Bearcats drove in the final :30 within their 25-yard line.
Norvell is expected to receive a good-sized pay raise from the $2.6 million contract he agreed to with Memphis after the 2018 season.
FSU fired coach Willie Taggart on November 3rd after a humiliating loss the day before to Miami. Florida State sufferd their first losing season in over forty years during Taggart’s first campaign in 2018 and were on track to potentially have a second straight losing season, when he was fired.
Interim coach Odell Haggins led them to a win at Boston College and at home over FCS Alabama State making Florida State bowl eligible.
It is unclear whether Norvell will stay behind and coach Memphis in the biggest bowl game in program history, or if that will go to an interim coach instead.
Why hasn’t Florida State named their new coach?
Why hasn’t Florida State announced the hire of a new head football coach? It is a legitimate question to ask as Conference Championship Weekend approaches.
The early signing period comes closer, and the Seminoles know they need to nail down recruits to give themselves a fighting chance in 2020 and, more realistically, 2021. The more this head coaching search drags out – now that we are in December – the worse it looks for Florida State.
Moreover, the whole point (or at least the main point) of firing Willie Taggart a few weeks before the end of the regular season was precisely to get a head start on the head coaching search and find the right man for the right price in a precarious time for Seminole football.
If Florida State doesn’t have a coach firmly secured by Sunday morning – before the College Football Playoff teams and New Year’s Six bowl assignments are announced – it will be buried in the news cycle. Announcing a hire late Sunday night or early Monday morning won’t create the same splash and will certainly come across as being “late” in a meaningful sense. FSU won’t get the maximum amount of attention and publicity it needs.
The clock really is ticking. Yes, it is better to be late than to settle for a terrible hire. Florida State (and any other school in its position) is better served by getting the right coach late in a carousel cycle than to be stuck with the wrong man and making the hire “on time,” before Sunday afternoon.
We can all understand the bigger picture, though: Florida State, a program of great stature and significance, should be able to get a good hire AND be on time. The Seminoles ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.
The conventional wisdom – or at least, one of several prevailing thoughts if there isn’t majority agreement on this point – is that Florida State will wait until after Saturday’s AAC Championship Game between Cincinnati and Memphis to announce the hire of Memphis coach Mike Norvell.
If this IS in fact the case (we’ll see, one way or the other), Florida State will have gotten one of the better options in the coaching carousel. Norvell’s (above) name has been thrown about for a long time at Power Five schools. His arrival would certainly offer the promise of an elite offense (and strong quarterback development) returning to Tallahassee.
It wouldn’t be a home-run, but it would be viewed as a reasonably good hire under complicated circumstances, a move which could certainly work if Norvell plays his cards right.
The bigger question – and potential problem – for FSU is if a Norvell deal has NOT been lined up, and if the program is scrambling. Then we’re in a different landscape with a lot more uncertainty.
We talk about this larger topic at this time every year: In a coaching search, there is always a prime target. If that target is secured (in this case Norvell), great.
If not, are you – as an athletic director – ready with your Plan B? Is Dave Coburn, armed with his search firm, ready?
We’re about to find out if FSU has its Plan A firmly secured, or if the school has its Plan B ready to go before the College Football Playoff announcement.
Or, if FSU has botched this hire completely by letting others who started later get coaches out from under them.