By: JJ Lanier
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
1976. Jimmy Carter was elected President, the first Rocky movie was released, and Apple Computer Company was officially formed.
It was also the last time the Florida State Seminoles football program experienced a losing season, until this past year.
Florida State’s decline wasn’t an obvious inevitability, staring you right in the face, but it’s not like there weren’t signs.
Entering last season, the Seminoles’ previous three seasons had all been worse, in one form or another, that one before.
It all culminated in a 2017 season that saw a program, only a few years removed from a national title, forced to play a make-up game against an inferior opponent just to make it to .500, while also losing their head coach to another program; neither of which Florida State was used to.
Obviously last year wasn’t any better, not only from a record standpoint (5-7), but from a competitive one, as well. Their average margin of victory in their five wins was 10.8 points; normally not something to scoff at until you realize none of those victories were against a team that finished the season in the Top 25.
Plus, their average margin of defeat in those seven losses, two of which were to their in-state rivals, was 24.14 points.
At this point I’m sure you’re thinking “I get it, last season was disaster. But, what about this year?” So, what about this season? Well, on paper, it certainly looks like there should be significant improvement.
With Deondre Francois gone, the QB job is James Blackman’s to lose. Considering the lack of support he received from the offensive line last year, Blackman did well in a role he was somewhat thrusted in to.
There is plenty of talent in the backfield and at the wideout position, the main question on the offensive side of the ball is the offensive line.
Can the line run block well enough to get Cam Akers a few lanes to run through and can they be just competent enough pass blocking to allow Blackman to utilize those weapons on the outside.
Regardless of your opinion on Willie Taggart bringing in Kendal Briles to run his offense, there should be a vast improvement.
On the defensive side it’s more a good news, bad news situation. The good news is they bring 8 starters from last year’s team. The bad news is the defense thought they were playing in the Big 12 conference, or at least they allowed the opposing offense to score like they were.
Does experience help if it wasn’t very good to begin with? With the potential Florida State has on the offensive side of the ball the defense doesn’t have to be reminiscent of years past, but they do have to at least be middle of the road.
The bottom line for the Florida State faithful is that after two of the worst seasons they’ve gone through in roughly 40 years they should start to see the roller coaster begin its ascent back up the tracks.
Their schedule still has a few too many question marks to expect them to win more than seven or eight games, but fans should see the foundation being laid. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind another 42-year streak.