Florida State vs Alabama: Complete position breakdowns

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Florida State and Alabama. #3 vs #1. One day away. We’ve been waiting for this game since the Seminoles pulled off a victory in the Orange Bowl against Michigan. Now, it’s FINALLY almost here.

These two teams match up extremely well, and this projects to be a close battle. The Crimson Tide are favored most places by about a touchdown, if I’m a `Nole, I’d take the under on that. Alabama will have to replace 10 starters from last season, and that’s no easy task, especially in game one.

The `Noles will have their struggles as well. FSU has to replace starters such as Dalvin Cook, DeMarcus Walker, Travis Rudolph, and Marquez White.

Offense: Click here

“Deondre Francois took 34 sacks last season and many of them ended up being brutal hits. However, the young QB continued to lead the offense despite nagging injuries from the beatings he was routinely taking on game days.

Francois would go on to drive the Seminoles to four fourth quarter rallies and two near-rallies that fell short against North Carolina and Clemson. Now, entering his second season as the `Noles signal caller, he knows he needs to become more of a vocal leader. After Dalvin Cook’s early departure to the NFL, Francois is the clear face of this offense entering the 2017 season. The run game behind him is relatively untested and has little collegiate experience. FSU may need to rely on their experienced passing game early if they are unable to generate anything on the ground. Francois has a great arm and has been working on his accuracy over the offseason. It’s time for him to be the man on this offense.”

Defense: Click here

“The Seminoles return two of the top defensive ends in the nation in Josh Sweat and Brian Burns. Sweat has made 19 starts over his two years in Tallahassee. He finished his sophomore campaign with 41 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks. All seven of his sacks came in the final eight weeks after the season which is a good sign that his health is finally on the up. Sweat missed the Louisville game in 2016 due to a meniscus surgery.

Burns was a terror of his own last year as freshman. He finished the 2016 season with 24 tackles and 9.5 sacks, the most in the country by a freshman. Burns seasons culminated with him being named a freshman All-American. Sweat and Burns have both continued to improve over the offseason and throughout Fall Camp. Expect them to be dominant off the edge.”

Special teams: Click here

“The Seminoles and Crimson Tide have certainly seen their share of mishaps with kickers.

In fact, both teams in recent years have had at least one disastrous mistake that ended up resulting in a loss. I’m sure you’re familiar with the Kick Six. The Crimson Tide were tied at 28 apiece with the Auburn Tigers in 2013. Alabama decided to attempt a 57-yard field goal to try and win the game in regulation with only one second remaining. The kick fell just short of the mark, instead going into the hands of Auburn’s Chris Davis, who then returned it 100 yards up the sideline for the victory. Auburn would go on to make it to the National Championship, where FSU finally ended their run behind a last-second Kelvin Benjamin touchdown.

The Seminoles would have troubles of their own in 2015 when they visited Atlanta to face Georgia Tech. Tied at 16, FSU decided to bring on Roberto Aguayo for a 56-yard field goal with only a few ticks remaining. At this point, Aguayo was one of the most accurate and reliable kickers in college football. When he stepped up for a field goal, you felt like it was almost automatic. The ball was snapped, Aguayo stepped up to kick it. It seemed he tried to go for a lower trajectory since it was such a long field goal, allowing the hand of a Georgia Tech defender to get on it. The ball bounced around the Georgia Tech 25-yard line before it was scooped up and returned by Lance Austin. Austin shook off a tackle attempt from Aguayo and walked into the endzone, giving the Yellow Jackets a huge upset victory.

Based on that recent history, it’s quite clear how quickly something can go wrong on a field goal. Two national title contenders dreams gone, just like that.”


Dustin Lewis
Lead writer for NoleGameday. Majoring in Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. Staff Writer for the FSView and contributor for Celtics Hub.

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