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Florida State Seminoles

What does FSU have to lose by trying QB James Blackman?

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

It was a humiliating Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium and a reminder of just how far Willie Taggart and his Seminoles have to go to get back to respectability. But when all was said and done and Clemson’s 59 – 10 destruction of the FSU ended, an important question remains: should Florida State contemplate playing James Blackman some more down the stretch of this season?

Blackman came in for “mop up” duty in the final quarter and did hit Keyshawn Helton with a 73 yard score in the final five minutes. You shouldn’t read much into that alone, but we’re about to layout much more compelling reasoning:

The current starting quarterback, red shirt Junior Deondre Francois, had a largely poor performance throughout the game Saturday. When he wasn’t mishandling snaps, he was fumbling exchanges with running backs. When he wasn’t overthrowing open receivers repeatedly, he was leading Florida State to a record tying 12 punts in one game as they fell behind 52 – 3 in the third quarter.

Francois did leave the game in the fourth quarter with an injury that coach Willie Taggart revealed was a possible concussion. That calls into to question another topic of why Francois was still in the game that late that lopsided, but it’s for another day.

Francois had a good, if not at times great, 2016 as Florida State won the Orange Bowl and he was the MVP. But then, after being injured for the season in the opening game last year with Alabama, he’s not been anywhere close to that kind of player in 2018.

Yes, he put up some decent stats against Wake Forest in the 38 – 10 win last week, but Francois had a couple of killer interceptions in the second half of the Miami meltdown three weeks ago, too.

While Francois threw the game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute against Louisville, he was bad in the losses to Syracuse in September and in the opener to Virginia Tech, also.

Bottom line, you can make the argument for trying something/someone else.

Two more things are apparent. One, Florida State is going nowhere this season and will be fortunate to make a bowl game with their remaining schedule.

And two, Blackman playing as a true freshman right away, showed potential in 2017, as the year went on leading the team and putting points on the board.

Further, after a day like Saturday where the Noles suffered their worst ever margin of defeat at Doak Campbell stadium in school history, you can’t do any worse.

Blackman, a sophomore out of Belle Glade, got 12 games worth of experience and in his last four games threw 10 touchdowns to just three interceptions and all four were victories. This included his Independence Bowl four scores in the win against Southern Miss.

Yes, the schedule is daunting for FSU, starting with the game at NC State next week and games with Notre Dame, Boston College and the Rival Gators to follow.

However it might do some good for Francois to go to the bench and watch. And, Blackman may be able to spark Florida State, where Francois clearly has not been able to in several losses this season.

Florida State Seminoles

FSU and LSU announced two game neutral site series Tuesday

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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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Deion tells Dan Patrick he’d consider coaching Hurricanes

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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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