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Three thoughts from FSU’s win in Beantown

3-Odell.

That’s all that needs to be said following Florida State (5-5, 4-4 ACC) knocking off Boston College (5-5, 3-4 ACC) on the road in its first game under interim head coach Odell Haggins. Haggins is 3-0 as a head coach, he led the Seminoles to wins over UL-Monroe and Southern Miss in 2017 following Jimbo Fisher’s defection to Texas.

The success continued against Boston College behind a prolific offensive showing. FSU scored 38 points behind a different twosome of quarterbacks than we’re used to seeing, James Blackman and Jordan Travis. Blackman threw for two touchdowns while Travis ran for a pair of scores in his debut in garnet and gold. Florida State’s offense continues to be at its best when Alex Hornibrook is as far away from the football field as humanly possible.

At 5-5 with Alabama State coming to Tallahassee on Saturday, Florida State will likely get back to bowl eligibility. That means two extra weeks of practice for this team following the regular season and a chance to continue improving for 2020. Here are three thoughts on the ‘Noles big-time win up in Boston.

1. James Blackman and Jordan Travis are a heck of a QB duo

Blackman moved back into the starting lineup after taking a backseat to Alex Hornibrook against Syracuse and Miami, and boy did he put on a show. The redshirt sophomore finished 18/26 for 346 yards and two touchdowns while not turning the ball over. He proved exactly why he’s the best fit for this offense under Kendal Briles on Saturday. His deep ball has the potential to be elite.

He hit Tamorrion Terry in the breadbasket on a beautiful deep ball that went for a 74-yard touchdown after BC took a 14-3 lead to give the momentum back to the ‘Noles. Later in the game, he found DJ Matthews over the middle and the shifty receiver turned it into a 60-yard score. He had a few missed passes sure, like overthrowing Gabe Nabers in the endzone early in the game, but his big plays more than made up for the few mistakes.

The Belle Glade native was also excellent at evading sacks. The ‘Noles allowed ZERO (!!!!!) sacks on the afternoon and while a large part of that credit goes to the offensive line, you have to dish some Blackman’s way as well. On two or three different occasions, he was able to escape pressure and turn it into positive yardage. One in particular, Blackman was caught in the backfield but was able to cut back across the opposite side of the field and scamper for a first down. It was little plays like that that helped keep BC’s defense on their heels.

Another wrinkle that led to success, the insertion of redshirt freshman Jordan Travis. He got his debut on the first drive of the second half. On his first real play as a Seminole, he cut it up the right side, tip-toed the sideline and ran it in for six. Instantly, Florida State fans were googling #13, and no, it wasn’t Joshua Kaindoh.

A quarter later, he put the nail in the coffin in Boston. Travis carried it to the right side and cut up the field, it looked like he might slide to run out the clock but instead he turned on the jets and outran everybody 66-yards to the house. It was the longest run ever by a quarterback in FSU history. It was Travis’ third career carry. I can’t wait to see what he does against Alabama State and if he becomes a more familiar face on this offense.

2. AJ Dillon is a beast, but Hamsah Nasirildeen is a monster

The most talked about player coming into this game was Boston College’s star running back, A.J. Dillon. And for good measure, he’s one of the top players in college football and has carried the Eagles offense throughout the 2019 season. He continued to be productive against Florida State, amassing 165 rushing yards on 40 attempts.

One player on the Seminoles’ defense who earned the respect of every single Eagle on the roster, probably because he tackled them all, was defensive back Hamsah Nasrildeen. The North Carolina native recorded a whopping 22 total tackles with 11 solo tackles. Wherever Boston College went on offense, it always seemed like Nasirildeen was around the football. The 22 tackles are a career-high for Nas.

In two of his last three games, Nasrildeen has been extremely productive. Along with the outing against the Eagles, he also totaled 17 tackles and a sack against Syracuse. All in all, he has four double-digit tackle games this season and is on pace to finish in triple digits. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he tried to cash in on his productive junior season in the NFL following 2019. I can already imagine his athletic testing at the combine.

3. Odell Haggins is a perfect fit to be Florida State’s next head coach

From getting to 3-Odell to his fiery postgame locker room speech, Haggins bleeds Florida State. If things fall through with top candidate Bob Stoops, the athletic administration may want to give Odell a serious look, something Athletic Director David Coburn has already mentioned. He spent three seasons in Tallahassee as a player and for the last quarter of his life has dedicated himself to coaching the Seminoles. Everyone knows how it is, Odell Haggins comes with the house. He’s a mainstay for this athletics program.

But how about him as a head coach? Me personally, I think he would be an excellent fit, even a perfect one. Who knows more about what Florida State football is about than Odell? The passion, fire, and respect he brings to this team are more than noticeable. He led this team to success following Fisher leaving and has them on the right track again following Taggart’s ouster.

Here’s my gameplan. Pay Haggins between $2-3 million to be the head coach and use the extra $3 million you save on Stoops or another established candidate to build an elite staff. Keep Briles, Clements, Leavitt, and Dugans. Surround Odell with great coaches and let him be the true CEO of Florida State football. It’s a match made in heaven and one that Haggins would relish.


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