FSU vs. Charleston Southern: Five Things to Watch For

Photo by Logan Stanford

Five days after facing Ole Miss and executing the largest comeback in school history, Florida State returns home to face FCS Charleston Southern in newly renovated Doak Campbell Stadium.

As always, Florida State will likely not be challenged in their annual FCS matchup. They face the Buccaneers on only five days rest and Jimbo Fisher will be eager to pull his starters as quickly as possible to limit injuries. This will be a great opportunity to see some of the younger players get meaningful snaps, especially the true freshman that Florida State just signed. Charleston Southern is 1-1 on the year and will be playing their second string quarterback, as their starter is currently injured. They will likely want to get this game over with as quickly as possible as well.

Here are five things I will be watching for when Florida State takes the field versus the Buccaneers.

1. Can Deondre Francois and the offense come out hot?

Much was made of Deondre Francois’ fantastic performance on Monday night, but the redshirt freshman initially struggled versus the Ole Miss defense. In this game, versus a much lesser opponent, will he be able to come out hot and get the offense into a rhythm? Florida State will likely limit Dalvin Cook as much as possible and I’m sure Jimbo Fisher will like to see how his young quarterback performs when the talent disparity is so great.

2. What do the backup running backs look like?

As I previously stated, I’m sure that Jimbo Fisher would prefer to rest Dalvin Cook for this game, especially if there are any injury concerns with him. As such, this will be a great opportunity to see Jacques Patrick, Ryan Green and Jonathan Vickers play major snaps. Patrick made the most of his few plays versus Ole Miss, but can he be depended on as a No. 2 back? Meanwhile, Green and Vickers will likely be seeing their first snaps of the season against the Buccaneers. Can they make an impact and convince the coaching staff that they deserve major carries in meaningful game situations. Also, we might see talented freshman Amir Rasul in this game as well. It will be interesting to see if Florida State can utilize his elite track speed in their game plan at all.

3. Will the young pass rushers make an impact?

This year, Florida State signed two talented pass rushers in Brian Burns and Janarius Robinson. Both were blue-chip recruits and have very high ceilings as pass rushers. However, if they play against the Buccaneers, they will not be asked to pass rush much, if at all. Charleston Southern runs a triple-option offense, so their ability to play the run will be greatly tested in this game. If either of Burns or Robinson can put up a strong showing in this game, it is a great sign moving forward in terms of quality defense end depth behind DeMarcus Walker and Josh Sweat.

4. Which linebackers will play?

Perhaps the most interesting decision by the coaching staff in Monday night’s game was to send out walk-on Nick Patti in place of Ro’Derrick Hoskins when he went down with an injury. Patti was immediately targeted by Ole Miss and gave up a couple of plays in coverage. Interestingly, Patti was not listed on the official depth chart that Florida State released before the game. They chose to send him out there, perhaps valuing his experience, over more talented younger players. With backups likely playing most of this game, it will be interesting to see which linebackers play when Hoskins and Matthew Thomas eventually get pulled. Josh Brown, Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane, Emmett Rice and Dontavius Jackson are the other linebackers currently under scholarship that are options, but it would not be a surprise to see Patti back out there.

5. What will Doak Campbell Stadium look like at game time?

This offseason, Doak Campbell Stadium underwent massive renovations. I’m sure everyone has seen the new premium club seating and massive video board that Florida State added to their stadium. Saturday will be our first opportunity to see Doak in live game action after all of these renovations. I will not be attending the game, but I am excited to see how the new club seating looks on the live broadcast, as well as how well the new video board holds up in comparison to the old one. We will have to probably wait until October 29th when Clemson comes to town to see Doak Campbell packed to capacity, but Saturday will be a great opportunity to see the facelift that the stadium went under.

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