NoleGameday

FSU’s offensive line is crucial in tilt with NC State

Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire

As Florida State prepares for their home opener against NC State this Saturday, there are still a few concerns that remain after the three weeks off since the season opener. The main concern is going to be how well the team bounces back after the long break due to Hurricane Irma. One other major thing everyone is waiting to see is how the team will look after the loss of starting QB Deondre Francois.

One thing that has been a continuous worry among fans is FSU’s offensive line. Sometimes there are strong moments where they look unstoppable, but more often than not, things seem to fall apart. During the season opener against Alabama, FSU looked as if they had the advantage during the first half. But after halftime it was a completely different story.

In the first half, the Noles offensive line protected Francois well which opened up the pass game and a few running lanes. The OL allowed for Francois to create many opportunities and even score a touchdown. The second half definitely started out shaky. FSU never got back the momentum they were looking for, they lost the ability to create more scoring opportunities. There were a lot of missed chances and a huge lack in confidence once the half had begun to unfold. FSU and their OL ultimately ended up getting shut down and shut out in the second half.

NC State is a tough team defensively. We all know Florida State is as well, but the Noles’ OL is definitely going to have to step up and perform better than they did against Alabama. One thing the OL will have to work on is keeping their confidence. By doing this, it will bring some extra moxie to the new starting quarterback, true freshman James Blackman.

In recent years, the game has always been pretty close when FSU plays NC State. They normally come down to the final few plays to decide who ends up winning the game. Because of this, and being on the same side of the conference, these two teams have formed a sense of rivalry the past few seasons.

NC State’s key defensive players include four seniors that have been playing side by side since they showed up on campus. They all work together really well and play for each other, which is why they have found so much success over the years. A lot of teams will refer to their quarterback and do things in reaction to what he does, but the Wolfpack is a bit different. They see what their leaders on the defensive line are doing and use that to know what level they need to be performing at. Two players included in NC State’s pack of star defensive linemen are Bradley Chubb and Kentavius Street. Last season they combined for 15.5 sacks and 31 tackles for loss. These two and the rest of the four senior defensive linemen are definitely a threat to Florida State’s offense this weekend.

It will be interesting to see how FSU’s offense will perform this weekend against the powerful defensive line NC State possesses. There are a lot of questions on how well James Blackman will be able to play against these tough defenses that are all around the ACC. FSU’s offensive line is going to have to protect him very well, especially since this will be his first start. I am sure, regardless of the long break they have had, that the Noles will come out tough and ready to play. Along with regaining the “game week mentality”, the OL will have to be stronger, protect everyone more, and help create those opportunities for the offense to score more. There is no question about how good Florida State’s defense is. I think it will ultimately all come down to just how well the OL can perform under such adversity and hold it together for the ten straight weekends of football the Noles have ahead of them.

Haylee Blitch

Writer at NoleGameday covering Football and Baseball. Media and Communications Studies major at Florida State University.



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