Florida State Football: 5 Biggest Questions heading into 2015
After a slow start and a week in week out nail biting season, the 2014 campaign came to a screeching hault at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California at the hands of Marcus Mariota and co. Considereing the lack of starting experience and youth, FSU has the talent to reload.The 2015 season could very well mirror the same storylines from 2014. Here are the five biggest questions leading up to the September 5th kickoff in Tallahassee against Texas State.
Can the new offensive line gel and be effective for Cook and the stable of backs FSU has?
Offensive lineman coach Rick Trickett lost four seniors to the NFL draft this season. However the coach is in high spirits knowing he is returning a future high-round draft pick in left tackle Rod Johnson. Johnson claimed the left tackle position midway through the 2014 season after moving Cam Erving to center. JUCO transfers Kareem Are and Chad Mavety are both solidifying there positions along the line as well. The versatility Are posseses will certaintly be appreciated at the gaurd position. Mavety did push graduate Bobby Hart at times last year for the right tackle position. Mavety suffered a concussion and missed spring reps. Other key contributers to look out for are Wilson Bell, center Ryan Hoefield, and Eric Ebrle.
After some staff shuffling will coach Kelly be able to turn his defense around this year?
Coach Sal Sunseri left FSU to take a position on the Raider staff. He leaves a solid group of defensive lineman and some promising blue-chips for ex Florida defensive ends coach Brad Lawing. Some fans are hesitant to like Lawing(probly cause he came from UF) but the guy is a huge hire by coach Fisher. Lawing coached for Spurrier at South Carolina, developing First overall pick in last years draft Jadeveon Clowney, and top five pick Dante Fowler Jr. for Muschamp at the University of Florida. Coach lawing has been in the game over 23 years developing 15 NFL lineman. The guy isnt a bad recruiter either, FSU has several five star defensive prospects that have the noles number one on their list simply cause Lawing is recruiting them. Dont look for much of a drop off in the secondary with a move to corner from safety by All-American Jalen Ramsey. Jalen's instincts and passion for leading will be the corner stone for the garnet and gold squad this season. If the noles cant get injured linebackers Terrance Smith and Reggie Northrup healthy by september, the running game may be similar if not worse than the 2014 group. Although the defensive line should be as good if not better than last years front four they cant stop every runnng back on every play. Redshirt junior linebacker Matthew Thomas needs to finally live up to his expectations and be a force in the run-stopping scheme for FSU.
Is Shawn Maguire the sure pick to replace Winston?
Maguire has the leadership skills and knowledge of the offense to grab the starting spot. Poise and decision making could be an issue. Noting J.J. Cosentino and DeAndre Johnson have never taken a college game snap, they could put some heat on Maguire's seat. Johnson has shown flashes during the spring and Cosentino has the biggest arm out the bunch. Coach Jimbo has expressed on more than one occasion, even after the spring game, that he is very comfortable with the New Jersey native. With that being said, Maguire should get the nod, but Cosetino and Johnson are gainging ground and grasping the offense, Deandre Francois starting classes in the fall, Maguire has little room for error.
Can the incoming blue-chips plug and play?
One would think after signing four top three classes in the last five years could be enough to keep the noles in playoff contention. Theres one problem, although its a good one. Coach Fisher is on the brink of setting a new three year draft record if the noles can get 11 guys names called during this draft. Which is highly possible. Safety Dewrwin James(see above) from Haines City, Florida headlines the 2014 signing class. Bringing along fellow five-star wide reciever George Campbell and four star(shouldve been a five star) running back Jacques Patrick. All three of these kids showed why they carried such accolades during the spring game. All scoring touchdowns during the game. There's no doubt these guys can ball, and should have no problem getting on the field and contributing this fall.
Can the noles actually make it to the palyoffs with such a young team?
ABSOLUTELY!!! Most experts say no. Most college football fans say no. Do you really think Coach Fisher and his staff think no? Absolutely not! Coach Fisher is 59-11 during his time at FSU, 39-3 over the past three years. Winning a national championship and three consecutive conference title's. Picking up his first loss in two years during the first ever College Football Playoff. Fisher is a mastermind of a coach, and one of the greatest halftime adjuster's in the game. Handpicking his staff that also carry the same attribute as he does. Not only does he hire great assistants, he also hires great recruiters. The staff holds verbals from three five star recruits for the 2016 class that is littered with four-stars and only three 3-star recruits to have the top spot in the recruiting rankings. If opponents are going to beat the noles it better be this year. The incoming class of 2016 and the past two top three classes getting acclomated, knocking off the noles could be harder than ever in the near future.