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2 Florida State

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

Jimbo Fisher does a good job of making sure the quarterback [DEONDRE FRANCOIS, a 6'1", 205-pound sophomore] makes the right reads and gets the ball to the right guys. Francois got beat up pretty good last year and still kept going. It's tough to replace a guy like Dalvin Cook. He was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. The freshman back [5'11", 213-pound Cam Akers] was a five-star recruit who can give them some of what Cook gave them. The little receiver Nyqwan Murray [a 5'11", 176-pound junior] can fly.

We have to wait and see what [6'3", 211-pound sophomore safety] Derwin James looks like coming back from the [torn meniscus in his left knee]. In the past you always had to know where he was on the field. You don't have to change your game plan, but you have to be sure your quarterback knows where he is. The last couple of years, they've recruited some leaner pass rushers. Those ends [Josh Sweat, a 6'5", 250-pound junior, and Brian Burns, a 6'5", 218-pound sophomore] are a little bit quicker off the ball. They've been down at linebacker the last couple of years. Not bad but not as good compared to their normal standard. But their secondary and defensive line are as good as ever.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % (33RD)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT (23RD)

COMPLETION % (71ST)

YARDS PER CARRY (38TH)

SACKS ALLOWED (108TH)

TURNOVERS LOST (68TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE (31ST)

YARDS PER PLAY (23RD)

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % ALLOWED (17TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT ALLOWED (53RD)

COMPLETION % ALLOWED (34TH)

YARDS PER CARRY ALLOWED (22ND)

SACKS (2ND)

TURNOVERS GAINED (38TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE ALLOWED (38TH)

YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED (37TH)

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING

53

The Seminoles' opener against Alabama (9/2) in Atlanta is the start of a punishing September, which includes visits from Miami (9/16) and a senior-heavy N.C. State (9/23). The ACC Atlantic title—and likely a playoff spot—will hinge on the trip to Clemson (11/11).

THE PLAYER TO KNOW

The Seminoles' hopes rest on the improvement of their offensive line, and center ALEC EBERLE is poised to make the biggest jump. Offseason hip surgery has allowed Eberle to once again participate fully in lower-body workouts, and the 6'4" junior has bulked up to almost 300 pounds after playing much of last season at 285. Florida State won 10 games last year despite allowing 36 sacks. If the line and sophomore QB Deondre Francois—who occasionally held the ball too long—can cut that number by even one-third, it should produce a more consistent offense and keep the defense from facing bad field position. Eberle and the line also need to generate a better push up front to help the young running backs.