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Florida State Seminoles

Seminoles winning Gameplan? Cook…early and often!

(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
Florida Football Insiders

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As FSU begins it’s 2016 campaign, there are question marks at QB. For the 2nd year “P.J.” or “Post-Jameis,” the Seminoles are trying to decide between experienced but recently injured Sean MaGuire or a newcomer, Deondre Francois, to lead them in their huge opener with Ole Miss.

MaGuire would have been the easy choice as week one starter, as a fifth year senior who made 5 starts a year ago, but he suffered a fractured foot 3 weeks ago in practice.  His status for tonight is “iffy at best” against a Rebel defense that can bring it.

Enter, Francois, a talented redshirt freshman who was considered the top duel threat QB in the country coming out of IMG Academy in Bradenton two years ago. Problem? He’s never taken a snap in a college game.

Solution to Florida State’s QB dilemma?

Hand the ball to all world RB Dalvin Cook.

The junior comes off a monster 2015 with 1,600 rushing (an FSU single season record) and 19 TD’s. This follows a freshman record breaking year where he became the first Nole in his first year to rush for 1,000 yards. He’s on every “watch list” imaginable including that stiff-armed trophy they give out in December.

Telling stat? When Cook carried the rock 19 times or more in 2015, FSU was 6-1. Oh, and he had a total of eight 100 yard games and averaged a gaudy, 7.4 per carry a year ago.

Although he battled hamstring issues early  last season, he’s fully healthy going into this Labor Day showdown with a new SEC powerhouse.

Sometimes the answer to complicated questions is a simple one:

Give it to #4 in Garnet and Gold tonight. A lot.

 

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Florida State Seminoles

Mixed comments from FSU coaches about 2019 O-Line

Abbey Radeka

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State is one of the few remaining state schools that have yet to name their starting quarterback. There is currently a battle for the spot among three guys, with returner James Blackman seemingly leading the pack. But more importantly on Willie Taggart’s list of things to sort out before the start of the season, is how his eventual QB is going to be protected?

And there’s been a lot of talk recently about what to expect from the Seminoles struggling O-Line.

Taggart has already made a couple major moves, with both having having yet to be seen if they’ll pay off, in letting go of former OL coach Greg Frey and having to hire a new OC after Walt Bell took the UMass job after just one season with the Noles.

He’s replaced them with Randy Clements at OL and Kendal Briles at OC. 

At an event on Tuesday, Taggart was asked about the state of his tattered O-Line, and he gave a response that fans can only hope will be proven true.

Briles and Clements could be the guys that resurrect a line that was far too unorganized and disjointed last season. In 2018, FSU ranked 114th in points per game, 129th in yards per play and 118th in sacks allowed, and only averaged 2.79 yards per carry.

At Houston, Clements and Briles produced an offensive line in 2018 that allowed the Cougars to average 43.9 points per game, ranking fifth in the nation, and 512.3 yards of total offense. 

However, Briles also spoke to the media on Tuesday, and while still positive on the future of his offense, insinuated that the line might continue to be a weak spot for the Noles this season. 

For fans, this could either be encouraging or worrisome. 

But, there is potential in some new additions to the line. 

As a part of the 19th ranked class in the Nation, the Noles signed several new offensive linemen in the hope of a turnaround at a spot that has hurt them over the past few seasons. The most heralded one is four star recruit, Dontae Lucas of IMG Academy in Bradenton, and there’s also JuCo three star left tackle, Jay Williams of Grossmont College in El Cajon, CA.

While it remains to be seen if any of them can be a “plug and play guy” to play immediately for 2019, Clements could be the guy to get the most out of the current group.

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Florida State Seminoles

FSU visited by Dungy and Brooks in Bradenton

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

FSU has spent the week practicing at IMG in Bradenton. On Wednesday, head coach Willie Taggart invited former NFL head coach Tony Dungy and Seminole legend Derrick Brooks spend some time with the team and offer a few words of wisdom after practice.

Taggart wanted the guys to give his payers some insight on what it takes to be a part of a turn around team.

The former Super Bowl winning head coach told the team team that, if they want to see success on the field, they’re going to have to come together to do it.

He ended with what it really means to be a champion, and having that championship mentality goes far beyond what you can do for your school on the field.

“Being a champion isn’t just being the best you can be on the field. Thats part of it. But it’s being the best teammate you can be, its being the best student you can be, person you can be and impact everyone. We didn’t bring you to Florida State just to win a national champion ship…Be the best person you can be for this university, for your family for your teammates, and you’ll leave a legacy here at Florida State.

You guys wanted to come to Florida State because of what these guys did. There are kids now who are going to want to come to Florida State because of what guys do. And that’s the power, that’s the fun, that’s what you’re going to really remember.”

Brooks then joined him for an extended Q&A session and told the group of guys, including his son, sophomore DeCalon Brooks, about what goes into a championship culture.

“It doesn’t take talent to have a championship culture, right? It takes effort. It takes awesome. No excuses, no explanations.” And mirroring the sentiment of Dungy he added, “that championship culture has to extend itself off the field…and we have the ingredients to be a championship-culture program.”

You can watch the full conversation here.

Coach Dungy has had a relationship with the Seminoles for a while, as Bobby Bowden was one of his role models when he began his career in coaching. And, in his time in Tampa with the Bucs, he coached two FSU greats in Brooks and Warrick Dunn.

Dungy and Brooks were foundational pieces of turning the Buccaneer program around and instilling a championship culture in Tampa Bay.

There’s no doubt that Tallahassee is ready for the return of a championship culture.

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