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What To Watch For: Florida State

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The #W2W4 this week is all over the place.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

WILL JIMBO FISHER SPEED THINGS UP?

Florida State is the second slowest team in the country. Jimbo Fisher has never run much of a fast paced offense but to be this slow makes me wonder if it’s on purpose. Fisher has a true freshman at quarterback and I think that might make him a little uneasy when it comes to speeding things up and letting him take some control on the field.

Louisville is just not doing anything well on defense. I could see this as a game for Jimbo to try some things that they haven’t done yet. James Blackman is starting his fifth game and he’s coming off of a game where he completed all but 3 passes. Blackman’s improvement could lead to Fisher opening things up and that could burn out the Louisville defense again.

CAM AKERS COULD HAVE A DALVIN COOK BREAKOUT GAME

I think we all remember this play from a couple of years ago:

However, Dalvin Cook actually had his first breakout game against Louisville the year before. Cook had 9 carries for 110 yards and he sealed the game with a 38-yard touchdown run late in the fourth.

Akers has already had two 100-yard games but I think he could go for 200+ against a bad Louisville defense. The game isn’t a primetime game but a few highlight plays will make that a moot point. Louisville is apparently working hard on tackling this week in practice but I think their overall effort is the issue. They don’t get enough “hats to the football”. AJ Dillon’s long run is a perfect example. Chucky Williams came up in run support and was tossed to the side. No one else was even close to touching him after that. It’s like everyone expects the other guy to make the play.

That won’t fly at all against 215 pound Akers or 235 pound Jacques Patrick.

FSU’S KICK RETURNERS ARE DUE FOR A BIG ONE

Florida State is 6th in the country in kickoff return average but they still haven’t taken one to the house. Derwin James had a touchdown called back but they don’t have any points to show for their efforts so far. James is a freak athlete that can outrun you and make a subtle cut to avoid a tackler. Keith Gavin is the other returner but it’s doubtful that he will play. If I’m Jimbo, I’m putting D.J. Matthews back to replace him but George Campbell is listed as Gavin’s backup.

Louisville has already given up a touchdown to return to UNC. NC State also got a decent return. UofL is 116th in returns allowed per game. That’s a product of the defense allowing too many scores as well as Blanton Creque not getting the ball into the end zone enough. So just as much as FSU is due for a touchdown return, Louisville provides a lot of opportunity for them to do so.

LOUISVILLE NEEDS MORE ENERGY AND EFFORT

Do yourself a favor and watch the replay of last year’s game on youtube. You’ll be surprised to see a completely different Louisville team than we’ve seen since that game. It’s literally shocking to see how the players celebrated on the field and on the sidelines. Gameday helped and so did a crazy crowd but it is obvious that the energy and cohesiveness of the team was different.

Alex Kupper made a great point on the radio during the Boston College game. It was the fourth quarter and defensive players were walking onto the field to start a drive. Kupper called them out for walking and pointed out that Charlie Strong would’ve never allowed that. The Strong part didn’t mean as much to me as the fact that Kupper sounded genuinely embarrassed as a former player. He knows that these guys should be playing much harder than they are and it shouldn’t matter how tired you are. With the game on the line some players couldn’t muster up enough excitement to at least jog onto the field.

This starts with coaches getting players up for the game but at some point the players have to take it upon themselves to not want to be embarrassed out there.

CHARLES KELLY COULD COMPLETELY CHANGE THE NARRATIVE

You could make the argument that Charles Kelly has had the just as much talent at his disposal over the last four years as some of the top teams in the country. The Noles have brought in a handful of five star players and the NFL has recent Noles at all three levels. I doubt that any college football fan would say that he has taken advantage of that talent.

Kelly hasn’t been able to get his defense to show up in the biggest games on the schedule and I think that’s wearing thin on fans. Kelly isn’t getting the heat that Peter Sirmon is but it’s probably equivalent when you factor in the expectations in Tallahassee.

Saturday will give him an opportunity to change the narrative that Kelly is not a big game coach and not utilizing his talent. Lamar Jackson is still a ridiculous talent even though the team isn’t playing all that well. Stopping him and Bobby Petrino’s offense would likely quiet down a lot of the chatter calling for his job.