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53 posts from September 2013

September 20, 2013

A Little More on Jalen Ramsey

If you haven't had a chance to check out the feature on Jalen Ramsey from this morning's paper, you can read it here.

One of the worst parts of writing a feature with space limitations is what ends up left out of the final story. I had a chance to talk to both of Jalen's parents and his high school defensive backs coach and there were plenty of other good tidbits and insights from those interviews. Fortunately, the Herald FSU blog is a great place to put a lot of that.

For instance, there wasn't much opportunity to talk about Ramsey's competitive nature, but he thrives in competition according to Jamie Redmon, his coach at Brentwood High:

“Jalen is a very, very competitive kid. In high school you would love to play man coverage and sometimes you can’t because you don’t have the confidence to do it, [but] from the time Jalen walked on campus we started playing man coverage almost every game," said Redmon.

"He’s just a phenomenal athlete because you know he has the size, the height, the arm-length but most of all he’s very competitive, the higher the stakes he’s going to play at that level. He’s just a tremendous athlete as well.”

Redmon also mentioned that Ramsey wants to lockdown the best player on the field, he's not interested in a matchup that gives him an easy game.

“He has tremendous confidence in his abilities, big time," Redmon added. "If I told him in the game ‘hey you’ve got their best receiver,’ he wants to challenge that receiver every down. There’s no doubt in my mind

“He loves going against someone that’s very good, he doesn’t shy away from competition, at all.”

Here are a few other tidbits:

##- Jalen's mother, Margie Tidwell, was highly confident he would start from day one:

“Jalen’s very confident and he’s always been that way, we had no doubts - his father and I - had no doubts that he would be starting if he continued to work," said Tidwell. "He worked hard during the Summer, he never stopped working out, he did what he had to do to prove himself so I had no doubts that he was going to start.”

##- Without going into too many details, you got the idea that the problems at USC under Lane Kiffin may have been as big a factor in Ramsey flipping his commitment in the 11th hour as Pruitt's late push was:

“That was solely his decision and something where he felt comfortable with Coach Fisher and Coach Pruitt who were recruiting [him],' said Tidwell. "So you know there were a couple factors but that was something he decided he wanted to do."

##- Jalen's favorite player growing up was Devin Hester:

“Devin Hester, he liked him more because he was so versatile," said Lamont Ramsey, Jalen's father. "He was a wide receiver and running back also while he was in high school and actually he was ranked pretty high as a wide receiver coming out of high school too. He just liked the versatility that Devin Hester had too.”

Ramsey can also return kicks, per both his father and Redmon.

##- And finally, Lamont may be more nervous than Jalen before every Florida State game:

“I’m real proud of him, very proud but I’m [also] nervous at the beginning of every game, I want him to do so well that you get nervous about it, but very proud of him.”


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September 19, 2013

FSU Injury Report: Week Four (Bethune Cookman)



Florida State takes on Bethune Cookman on Saturday and they will be without both of their starting defensive ends. Mario Edwards Jr. is out after surgery on his hand while Eddie Goldman is out for breaking an undisclosed team rule. Senior LB Christian Jones is also out Saturday for breaking team rules as well.

Here is FSU's week four injury list. Goldman and Jones are not listed, but as mentioned will miss Saturday as well.


DT      Derrick Mitchell (knee)

Out for Game

TE      Jeremy Kerr (knee)
DE      Mario Edwards, Jr. (hand)
OL      Wilson Bell (knee) 

Out for Season

TE      Kevin Haplea (knee)
WR     Jarred Haggins (knee)


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September 18, 2013

The Tao of Jaboo (BC Week Edition)


Every Wednesday Jameis Winston speaks and every Wednesday we'll provide you the highlights of his interview in a weekly feature called, "The Tao of Jaboo."

Jameis Winston stopped bu on Wednesday to discuss BC, his performance last Saturday and his relationship with head coach Jimbo Fisher. 

Fisher - as has never been a secret - can be a bit hard on his QB's. As a former quarterback himself, Fisher demands more of his signal-callers than many have been asked to give up to this point in their lives. Fisher demands a near-professional approach (which is a big part of why his past three QB's were taking in the top 20 picks of the NFL draft) and settles for nothing less.

That could be a lot to endure if not for the trust Fisher engenders from his players, Winston in particular:

“It comes from me and his trust. I trust him 100 percent, and the better I trust him, the more comfortable I am with him," said Winston. "He teaches me what to do out there, him and [quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders], they tell me what I need to do, and it comes from me preparing and watching film to know the right decisions, but he basically teaches me out there, so he’s putting me out there on the field in his image so I have to do what he wants to do. That’s why we have to trust each other.”

But Winston was also asked if the pressure of Fisher's expectations could be burdensome. For some QB's it has been. 

“That’s what I would do if I were a coach. He’s competitive. He wants everything to go perfect. He’s a perfectionist, and that’s one thing you want in a coach," said Winston. "You don’t want a coach to allow you to do bad things and let little things go by.”

But is it ever too much? To many fans the only part of the relationship that is visible is the interaction between Fisher and his passers on the sideline. Often time Fisher can be fiery. Sometimes yelling is involved.

“I think when Coach Fisher tries to yell at me and intimidate me, he knows that I’m going to look at him like, ‘Coach, I know you’re trying to get under my skin.’ So it’s not necessarily going to work," joked Winston.

"But when I know he’s serious, I get a different type of attitude. I’ve got to lock in, because I know when he gets mad at a practice, it probably isn’t going to stop if I keep messing up. I can quiet him, but I can’t stop him from yelling the rest of the practice.”

More from Jameis:

##- On his excitement over traveling to Boston:

“I just love away games period.  I think they’re just fun games, and we get to travel, so that’s always fun.  I’ve never been to Boston before, but I’ve heard it’s pretty nice. We’re only there for one day, it’s not like a baseball trip.”

##- On what BC's defense has put on film:

“A lot of different things. They are very complicated, so it’s going to be a real fun game with a lot of different schemes and packages that they bring to the table, so it’s going to be fun.”

##- On his growing comfort with the offense:

“I still feel like I have a long way to go in the offense, but for the rest of the year, I’m going to be comfortable with the players that we have around us, and they actually help me more than I can help them. Like this weekend, I busted a play, but I was able to get out of that and my team backed me up. K.B. [redshirt sophomore Kelvin Benjamin] made a great catch and it was a touchdown. That was my negative, but it was the team’s positive.”


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The Tao of Jaboo (Bethune Week Edition)


Every Wednesday Jameis Winston speaks and every Wednesday we'll provide you the highlights of his interview in a weekly feature called, "The Tao of Jaboo."

Jameis Winston stopped by on Wednesday afternoon to talk Bethune Cookman, last week's game and a whole host of other topics, among them: EJ Manuel. Winston credits EJ with giving him a great example:

“It was great to have EJ there just for me to be available to observe him," said Winston. "He led the nation in efficiency, he was up there, he always made good decisions. I don’t know how many interceptions he had but I know he did a great job for me.

"Just being able to watch him and how he’s able to process things, I can kind of put that to my game because we have similar games, it’s just that the first two games have been real good, EJ had two tremendous first games. Just looking up to him, wow, I’m just sitting, but now I’m actually on the field. I can be able to use some of EJ’s ideas or be able to do something that he did last year.”

Winston also makes sure to watch Manuel every Sunday, as he did again last weekend:

"I was proud of him. I didn’t say much, I just said he deserved it. I was kind of mad because of the interception at what people were saying. But I was like, he got blitzed. It was pass interference and he went down there and scored a touchdown on his dad’s birthday. That’s love. To do that for your dad and being that it’s your first pro football win, that’s amazing.”

Here are some other highlights:

##- On his relationship with his wide receivers:

“That’s one thing about playing quarterback at Florida State. You have great guys that are going to get the ball; you have great people that are going to protect you. Those guys are amazing, Kenny (Shaw), Rashad (Greene), KB (Kelvin Benjamin), even Christian Green, everyone has been playing their role with this team.”

##- Despite my repeated assertions that Kenny Shaw is becoming Winston's go-to receiver (10 catches, 188 yards and a touchdown through two games), Jameis says he has a good rapport with all of his receivers.

“I got great chemistry with all of my wide receivers. It was a run and this was my read. Coach tells me to throw that, if it’s open, just throw it. We just got in a groove that way; they weren’t covering it so we just kept on.”

 ##- On recovering well from his first career INT:

“That’s how I’m coached. That’s what I’m coached to do. A touchdown, I’m going to celebrate on the field, but when I get to the sideline that play is over with. An interception, I can put my head down or something, but when I get to the sideline, it’s over with because that’s the game of football. You’ve got to keep going, you never know what play is going to be the difference maker in a win or a loss.”

##- And finally, Winston was asked about his relationship with Jacob Coker - the guy he beat out for the Seminole starting QB job:

“You should just see us, just coming to practice and watch us. Nothing is different. It’s still like fall camp to us. We’re still out there having fun. We know that we can do the same thing, every quarterback that Coach Fisher has prepared, every one of those quarterbacks can go out there and do the same thing. And by us having the same guys around us, I said that earlier, any quarterback, young quarterback, it’s a young quarterback’s dream. And for both of us, me and Jacob, even Sean (Maguire), it’s fun to have guys like that around.


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September 17, 2013

FSU Practice Notebook: Defense Making Strides During Bethune Week


As Florida State came off the practice field on Tuesday afternoon, Jimbo Fisher took the chance to praise the Seminole defense and the progress they're making learning Jeremy Pruitt's new defense.

“Got a lot of work done, got some things in, the defense was really good today," said Fisher. "I was really impressed with a lot of things they did today I thought they were really sharp, sharper than usual.”

Asked to elaborate on what - in particular - the defense did so well this afternoon, Fisher added:

"I just thought they [looked good] in general. I was really impressed, I thought they flew around, they were very lively, legs were alive today I thought, I thought they had a really good day.”

Here are a few other tidbits from FSU's Tuesday practice:

##- Austin Barron is back at practice, but he wasn't there on Tuesday.

“He never practices on Tuesday, he’s got class," said Fisher. "He’s got to do that to graduate, he’s got to graduate, but he had a great day yesterday.”

##- Backup left tackle Wilson Bell, a true freshman, had an MRI on his knee and will be out 4-6 weeks after damaging his MCL.

“They said it’s not an ACL, which that’s what I said [it was]," said Fisher. "It looks like an MCL, they said maybe 4-6 weeks, something like that but it was not as bad as we thought, we thought it was an ACL when he first went. He’s still got a lot of rehab but it wasn’t as bad.”

##- A moment of unexpected candor came when Fisher was asked about the progresson of his freshmen. While several are really making an impact early on, others have started to slide.

“Some of them are regressing a little bit," FIsher admitted. "Getting a little tired, getting that freshman-itis, I’m not saying I’m disappointed, it’s kind of typical.

Then he added, "[But] I’m very pleased with them overall.”


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September 16, 2013

Mondays with Jimbo: Bethune Week Edition


Every Monday Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher holds his weekly press conference to discuss the week's opponent, the previous weekend's film and whatever else he feels like talking about that afternoon. We cover it in a weekly piece called, "Mondays with Jimbo."

Jimbo Fisher stopped by to discuss Bethune Cookman earlier today and wasted absolutely no time mentioning that his team cannot take BCU lightly, FCS or not. FIU lost to Bethune last weekend and though unlikely, Florida State could be upset if they sleepwalk through Saturday's game. 

"They’re 3-0 and averaging 38 points a game and giving up 9, that’s less than we are," he said. "They went out and beat FIU 34-13 and handled them very easily. Great win for them.

"They’ve been in the top of their league for the last three years. Coaches have done a tremendous job coaching them. They’ve got a great group, they’re athletic.  They’re running the ball very well on offense. (They are) very diverse on defense and sound in the kicking game, so we’ll have our hands full again and have another great opponent coming in.”

Yep, if you were playing Jimbo Fisher press conference bingo, go ahead and punch the "sound in the kicking game" space.

After watching the film from this past week Fisher is still very happy with what he sees out of his young QB. He took time to reiterate his point about Winston's resiliency in particular: 

"I liked the way he bounced back from that and also," Fisher repeated. "Not just bouncing back and getting completions, but not losing his aggression. He still stayed aggressive with the football and threw balls in there. From that standpoint, I thought he did a nice job.”

Another thing that has helped Winston is his vision as a passer.

'What he’s seeing and saying is exactly what I’m getting from the booth and what we’re seeing on the sidelines too and the reasons he’s doing things whether it’s right or wrong, it’s for the right reason."

More from Jimbo:

##- On RT Bobby Hart: “I thought he’s played well. Early in this game he had a few things – one of the sacks early. What I’m happy about there, (he) made a mistake, responded very well and didn’t go in the tank and played the next play like we always talk about and is maturing very well. I’ve been very pleased with how Bobby is playing. He’s really grown up.”

##- On LB/FB Freddie Stevenson: “That guy has ball skills. You saw him do two things. One, bounce a play on short yards and almost stick it in the end zone and then run a short yardage play and then get in and then catch a ball in the flat, make a guy miss, dip inside. That guy is 233 pounds right now is a freshman. He’s going to be a big athletic guy and if he were to go back to linebacker he can do that in a heartbeat, but he’s helping us out now."

##- On FB Chad Abram: "He’s a 235 pound guy with great ball skills. He was bothered by a shoulder a little a bit and we held him out with a little stinger and I will tell you, over the last week before the Pitt game and last week, that joker has been playing his tail off. Just mentally, physically, catching the ball, blocking. Those guys don’t get a lot of glory and he didn’t get a lot of snaps in the last game because of the way the game went, but a great special teams guy and he’ll have a chance to play at the next level because those guys are hard to find.”


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September 15, 2013

Going Polling: FSU Up to 8th in AP, Coaches' Polls


The Associated Press and Coaches polls were released earlier today and Florida State is now ranked 8th in both. The Seminoles jumped Georgia and Texas A&M, receiving 1,058 votes, in the AP poll. Meanwhile they jumped Texas A&M in the Coaches' poll to ascend one spot from ninth to eighth. 

Clemson stays at third in the AP poll, Miami drops one spot to 16, no other ACC teams were ranked. In the Coaches' Poll the Tigers are also ranked third and the 'Canes are 17th .

The top five are unchanged in the AP poll, 1-5 it's Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, Ohio State and Stanford. The Coaches have Alabama and Oregon as their top two but Clemson is fourth, with Ohio State third while Stanford is fifth in both.


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Thoughts From the Morning After: FSU 62 Nevada 7


Florida State's 62-7 win was a much stranger affair than it looks in the box score. The Seminoles mustered just 3 points over the first 25 minutes of the game and then over about a 20 minute stretch - ranging from the end of the 2nd quarter to the start of the 4th - exploded for 45 points on seven drives.

The guy who really sparked everything for the Seminoles was Kenny Shaw. 

Say what you want about Rashad Greene or Nick O'Leary, but if you had to ask me who Jameis Winston's go-to receiver is right now I'd say it's Shaw. 

“Kenny has become so dependable. He does so many things," said Jimbo Fisher after yesterday's game. "Kenny has such a great football I.Q. He’s very intelligent on the game and understands and now he’s applying it with consistency."

Jameis Winston looked to Shaw twice on Saturday to get his rhythm going early. On the Seminoles' first drive a false start penalty had Jameis Winston and the offense facing an obvious passing down on 3rd and 12. Credit Winston for making the right read and putting a good ball there, but it was Shaw he found working down the middle for 22 yards for his first completion of the day.

Then, a few drives later with the Seminoles' backs against their own endzone, trailing 7-3, Winston found Shaw twice on screens to regain his rhythm. Two drives earlier the redshirt freshman QB had thrown his first career interception. A first down sack killed the next drive and the Seminoles were content to run twice and play for field position. On their fourth possession it was two quick tosses to Shaw that got Winston going again. He didn't miss again that day.

He capped the drive by finding Shaw again, this time for a 24 yard TD. As the play broke down a little and the pressure got to Winston, he moved to his left and found Shaw with several steps on the defender for Florida State's first touchdown of the afternoon.

Kelvin Benjamin gets credit for his size and speed and Rashad Greene gets credit for the highlights, but Kenny Shaw is the most workmanlike receiver on the team. He runs good routes, he makes the right reads and he is as tenacious blocking as he is with the ball in his hands. 

On the season Shaw has ten catches of 188 yards and a touchdown. The senior receiver has developed into one of Jameis Winston's most trusted targets and could be looking at a monster year.

"I used to get mad at Kenny more than anyone because I knew his intelligence level and instincts and now it’s really being consistent," said Fisher. "I’m very proud of him."

A Little More on the Receivers

"I thought [Kenny Shaw] and Rashad (Greene) and K.B. (Kelvin Benjamin) all played great [against Nevada]," said Fisher yesterday evening.

Added Shaw: “We like to call ourselves the trio - we’re trying to get that out more - when we both score we throw up the threes. That’s part of being 3Hunna too.”

Per Shaw, they run over 5,000 yards per day in practice, "we're always pushing each other." 

The three receivers have - out of neccesity - become the backbone of the Seminole passing game. FSU chose to get it done on the ground against Nevada in the second half of yesterday's game, but the trio lead the Seminoles in receiving once again on Saturday and Kelvin Benjamin was a heel away from all three having a touchdown reception.

Ramsey Turning Heads

Jalen Ramsey is the first true freshman to start a game at corner for Florida State since Deion Sanders did it in 1985 - Primetime started four that season. Ramsey has already started two games. Two weeks ago he became the first true freshman to start a season opener at corner for Florida State since Bobby Butler in 1977. He's already got a pick under his belt and on Saturday he snuffed out a fake field goal and was second on the team in tackles. The future seems bright for this kid.

Beatty Gets a Bounce

The most misleading statistic on the Seminoles' stat sheet was in the punting category. Cason Beatty only had one attempt on Saturday and he is credited with a 53 yard kick. Truth be told, he didn't exactly boom the ball off his foot though, rather he was the beneficiary of several kind bounces. The sophomore has a big leg and is capable of executing a very effective rugby-style punt, but struggled to find consistency at points last season.

This and That

##- Of Florida State's four tailbacks, James Wilder headed up the rear of the pack with a paltry 7.5 yard per carry average. "I'm slacking," joked Wilder last night. FSU had 377 rushing yards yesterday, most of which came in the second half. Wilder may not have had many carries (6 for 45 yards) but he was effective as a blocker, helping to spring Devonta Freeman on a 60-yard run to start the second half.

##- Ryan Green's 15.6 yard average lead the Seminole running backs. He had five carries for 78 yards and a touchdown.

##- 63 plays, 62 points, 617 yards. Nice day on offense.

##- Roberto Aguayo already has 25 points for his young career and is on pace to finish with 650. He won't, but it's not out of the question that he could break Dustin Hopkins' points record. Like Hopkins, Aguayo will likely be the kicker at FSU for four years, only Aguayo could potentially play with better offenses than Hopkins did early in his career. At his current rate, Aguayo would best Hopkins by the end of his junior year. Like I said, that pace won't continue, but Aguayo does have a very real shot to top Hopkin's mark.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

September 14, 2013

Tim Jernigan: The Helmetless One


Midway through the second quarter agaisnt Nevada, Tim Jernigan was called for a penalty that up until Saturday afternoon, he didn't even know existed.

"I didn't even know you could get a penalty for playing without your helmet," said Jernigan after the game. "This is the game of football, for Christ's sake."

Yes, it is, but a fairly newfound emphasis on player safety dictates you can't continue a play without your helmet, which Jerngian did on 3rd and two as Nevada's Devin Combs was sacked by Dan Hicks.

After getting his helmet popped off (a penalty in and of itself), Jernigan continued to give chase on the play, eventually stopping just short of Combs as he was dragged down on the play.

Sadly this was considered an egregious penalty, a personal foul no less and Nevada was bailed out with fifteen yards and a free first down.

"I was taught my whole life to play to the whistle so I was playing as hard as I can," said Jernigan. "I was just trying to get to the quarterback."

So how does one coach that? Surely you can't fault the effort or tenacity of a player who just charged full speed through an opposing offensive line helmetless and was willing to put flesh on the line to make a play.

"Coach Fisher was just like 'you've got to learn the game, you can't do that,'" said Jernigan. "He was like 'I like the way you're playing as far as just trying to make the play and giving it everything you got but that's the rule,' so I've got abide by the rule."

But how DID the helmet get ripped off?

"I feel like it should have been a flag, but hey that's the game," joked Jernigan. "I can't make the calls, that's the ref's job to make the calls. My job is just to make plays."

Jernigan also lost his helmet a quarter later.

"Same thing, man," he said, eyes rolling.

Fortunately for Florida State (and probably the health of Jernigan's exposed head), he learned his lesson the second time around and was not flagged.

Still as the ACC reviews the tape of this game, they may want to make a concerted effort to try and figure out who's pulling helmets off in the future too, rather than just punishing the guy who lost one...


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Florida State Offense Firing on All Cylinders


Jameis Winston and the Florida State offense didn't come out firing on all cylinders at the beginning of Saturday's game against Nevada, but by the time they got there the Seminole offense was a sight to behold. 

The Seminoles averaged 9.79 yards and .98 points per offensive snap agaisnt the Wolf Pack. They finished with 62 points and 617 yards on 63 plays. And that's all made even more impressive when you consider the fact that FSU trailed 7-3 with just five minutes remaining in the second quarter and had just one possession - a field goal - in the first quarter.

Then the Seminoles proceeded to score on drives of 92, 56, 66, 65, 61, 45, 62, 69 and 64 yards. The longest drive took 4:42, the shortest was Karlos Williams first run clocking in at just :08. FSU lost the time of possession battle by a full six minutes and still outgained their opponent by 400 yards. 

Those numbers are absolutely absurd. And considering FSU had 41 points and 533 yards on 63 plays on the road two weeks ago, they also may not be an aberration. 

After a field goal on a first drive that felt like more of a misfire than a success, FSU tossed a pick and took a sack to force a punt on their next two possessions. Then they exploded to score on their next nine straight drives and put up 59 unanswered points. 

"Yes this has been [the best the offense has run since I've been here]," said junior WR Rashad Greene. "The offense started clicking and going a little faster than we have in the past years and I like it."

"Since I've been here, it has [run the best I've seen it this year]," said senior WR Kenny Shaw. "It's more fast, it's more uptempo and then the key is to get the calls and get lined up, that's the key to it.

"That just comes from repping it hard in practices, everything."

This could mean that finally Jimbo Fisher has the right group of experienced players at the right positions to run the offense he's always wanted to. Or it could mean that two games into the Jameis Winston era he's already got a better command of Fisher's system than his predecessor.

Now, the receivers weren't willing to compare the two QB's, "EJ is EJ, Jameis is Jameis," said Shaw. But given the way Florida State's offense has looked early on it's hard to argue that Winston isn't running the offense about as well as Fisher could hope for. 

“He has a great touch and he always knows where the defenders are," said Greene. "And he’s able to throw back-shoulder, just perfect balls, he throws them and I pretty much just have to put my hands up.”

There are still plenty of things for Winston to improve on, for instance he made a pick on a bad throw in the 2nd quarter of today's game, but once the offense started to get into its rhythm it was literally unstoppable (in that the only time FSU didn't score after their third possession was when the clock ended the game in the 4th quarter). 

And after the pick he threw, Winston was statistically perfect going 13-for-13 and tossing two long touchdowns to Shaw and Greene. 

"He grew from it, he knew what he did, we explained it to him," said Fisher. "[Jameis] was fine then, took the sack the next drive- didn’t panic and came back the next two drives and got us going. What I liked about it was he made a mistake and he didn’t get gun shy, he went right back into it and started making throws and making plays.”

Jameis Winston now has one more touchdown pass than incompletion on his young career. He is 40/45 for 6 TD's and 570 passing yards. He's also run for two scores. Based on his postgame interview, I doubt he's satisfied though.

"We gotta keep on, we've gotta ball," said Winston. "We've got to keep grinding."

This is a long season and eventually someone is going to scheme to stop Florida State's offense. But so far, Florida State fans have very little to complain about on that side of the ball.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...



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