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GAME PREVIEW: Georgia Tech vs Florida State

Well folks, we are here. Some did not think we would make it, I myself writing this didn’t think we would have the opportunity. But we’ve made it. Game week. While this is not the same foe we thought we would face to start off 2020, we none the less get the opportunity to come together and watch our beloved ‘Noles play the game that we all love. With that said, let’s get into our first game preview of the Mike Norvell era.

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GEORGIA TECH: at a glance

The Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech had a disappointing start to the Geoff Collins era, going 3-9 after trying to transition from the infamous triple option of the Paul Johnson Era. Their offense really struggled, ranking 127th out of 130th in the country last season. While we do not currently know who the starting quarterback will be, rumors are swirling that either James Graham or former Florida State commit Jeff Sims will take the snaps. James Graham completed 45% of his passes for 1,164 yards for 12 TD’s and 7ints with 290 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Jeff Sims was a former 4 star prospect according to the 247 sports composite ranking and completed a little over 50% of his passes as a senior in high school. Jordan Mason, however, was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise horrid offense. He rushed for 899 yards while scoring 7 TDs on the ground and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. If this defense is to be everything thing we believe it to be, Florida State should shut them down.


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On the defensive side, Georgia tech was better, which is to be expected with a defensive-minded head coach. But this too was also not very good. They were 115th in sacks (next to last among the power 5), 89th in yards allowed, and 117th in both rushing defense and red zone defense respectively. Some players to watch out for on this side of the ball would be their leading tackler last year David Curry, who totaled 97 tackles. Their DB’s are fairly decent as well, with names to watch being Charlie Thomas, Tariq Carpenter and Junayeh Thomas.

Burning Questions 

Can James Blackman take his game to the next level?

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, James Blackman has been dealt one of the worst hands a collegiate athlete has ever been dealt. From being tossed in the fire as a true freshman in 2017 before he was ready, to Jimbo checking out on him, and dealing with Willie Taggart, there is no question that the coaches around him have failed him to this point of his career. But that’s all out the window now. Mike Norvell has seen quarterbacks flourish under him at every stop he has made. With no spring football, and learning a new offense, can Mike Norvell help get the best out of James Blackman in 2020?

Rushing attack without Akers?

For the first time in a while, the ‘Noles are little unproven in the backfield. FSU has been spoiled by a long lineage of great running backs making plays in Doak Campbell stadium. From Devonta Freeman, to Dalvin Cook, to Cam Akers, there has always been another guy to carry the legacy of what it means to be a running back at Florida State. But who will be that guy in 2020? Following the transfer of Anthony Grant and Khalan Laborn, the only familiar face that has experience in an FSU uniform is former walk-on Deonte Sheffield. The other upperclassmen in the room besides Sheffield are Texas A&M transfer Jashaun Corbin and JUCO transfer La’Damien Webb. Corbin transferred following an injury, however, before leaving College Station he did make the All-SEC freshman team. Others in the room are a trio of freshmen: Lawerence Taofili, Corey Wren, and Ja’Khi Douglas.

Can the defense be as dominant as we think it is?

No question about it, the past several seasons have been very disappointing. Mickey Andrews and Jeremey Pruitt have set the standard of what it means to play defense at Florida State. The word out of camp is that the defense has been dominant. While the defense should always be ahead in camp, people around the program really believe that the defense has great potential. A name that has been out there a lot is former 5-star Josh Kaindoh, who has been having an incredible camp. He has dealt with a lot of unfortunate injury luck during his time in garnet and gold. If he plays the way he has been practicing, he can be a missing piece in a defense that can have a lot of success.

Seminole fans around the country are anxiously awaiting Saturday. Soon enough all of the questions that people have about Mike Norvell and this team will be answered on the gridiron. Will this coaching staff and this team be able to overcome the limited time to implement what they want to do on offense and defense, and have success in 2020? After Saturday, we could know that answer.

Score Prediction

I predict FSU to ultimately pull out a win to start 2020. This roster is more talented than Georgia Tech, specifically up front. I predict the ‘Noles to win 27 to 14. This game will serve as a coming-out party for Warren Thompson, and he will emerge as another target next to Scary Terry. Questions will finally get answers as the ‘Noles prepare to kick off on Saturday at 3:30 on ABC.


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