2019 Florida State Football Season Preview
Florida State doesn’t have losing seasons, but that is exactly what happened in Willie Taggart’s inaugural season. In year two a turnaround is expected–but will it happen?
2018 Record: 5-7 overall, 3-5
Head Coach: Willie Taggart, 2nd year, 5-7
The talent is there, the production was not last season–the team averaged just 361 yards and 22 points per game, scoring 14 points or fewer in five games–losing all five.
The offensive line must play better if the Noles are going to get back to the top-half of the ACC–they allowed the most tackles for loss in the conference last year, were pushed around in the running game and consistently had whichever ever signal caller running for their life. First and foremost, this must be fixed.
The quarterback position will be without Deondre Francois as he transferred to FAU (and then didn’t)–however, he could end up at the FCS level.
James Blackman is the presumed starter and is good enough to get the job done–he has completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,740 yards with 24 TDs and 12 INTs in 15 games with FSU. However, if he stumbles they have Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook waiting in the wings. Having him as a backup option speaks to the depth at the position.
Cam Akers is the one constant of the offense despite the lack of decent offensive line play. He is elite and a true NFL prospect–his yards per carry dropped from 5.3 to 4.4 last year and he failed to reach 1,000 yards but he can still make things happen with his legs. Khalan Laborn is a fantastic No. 2 option in the rotation and will see his share of carries.
Sophomore Tamorrion Terry leads the receiving group and is a rising superstar with home run hitting ability after averaging 21 yards per catch with a team-high eight touchdowns. Most of the other top receivers are still young and rising. 6’5, 245-pound Tre’ McKitty is a nice-looking tight end coming off a 26-catch season.
The Seminoles always had great defenses in Tallahassee, but last year–yikes. The team allowed 32 points per game, and was terrible in the secondary with the worst pass defense in the ACC.
However, there is room for optimism as 16 of the top 20 tacklers return and that so-called recruiting talent now becomes experience on the field.
The corner tandem of Asante Samuel and Stanford Samuels will eventually be a thing, 6’4 Hamsah Nasirildeen is a big-time tackler–he led the team with 91 stops, along with 6’3 Jaiden Woodbey.
Senior Dontavoius Jackson was the second-leading tackler with 75 stops and he’s back for his final season on campus. Leonard Warner is a big thumper while DeCalon Brooks is a good-looking young option. There’s enough depth to play around with, too.
The teams lost Brian Burns to the NFL, but they have Marvin Wilson, who is considered the next great lineman for the Noles. Defensive ends Joshua Kaindoh and Janarius Robinson must generate some type of pressure to help out the secondary.
A losing season will not be acceptable again for FSU–the program won ten games or more six times in seven years, and went bowling in every season from 1982 to 2016.
They have the talent to compete and at least begin to turn things around but the lines on both sides must play better. The schedule does not do them any favors as they have to go on the road to deal with Clemson and Florida. Just assume two losses there, and then a few more among the big battles against Boise State, at Virginia, NC State, Syracuse and Miami, and be afraid of trips to Boston College and Wake Forest.
Overall, it could be a nightmare, but I believe the talent in certain positions is too good to ignore.