The Daily Nole

Column: Revisiting FSU Post-Spring Bold Predictions

Jeremy Esbrandt/FSU athletics

The calendar has flipped to 2017 and unfortunately for Florida State fans, that means the end of the 2016 season. The Seminoles finished the campaign with a 33-32 win over Michigan in the Capital One Orange Bowl to get to 10 wins for a fifth straight year and likely finish in the top 10.

As is the case with any football season, some things went as expected like ya know, Dalvin Cook obliterating opposing defenses. Some things came as a pleasant surprise like former 5-star receiver recruit Ermon Lane switching to defense midseason and making an impact.

Following the Florida State spring game, I posted five bold predictions for 2016. So, how did I do? We examine:

1. Deondre Francois Will Start at QB Against Ole Miss
Bingo. Francois also started against 12 others opponents in 2016. In hindsight, this prediction probably wasn’t that bold. As good as Malik Henry was in the spring game, the Florida State starting quarterback job was always a 2-man race between Francois and Sean Maguire and with Maguire missing the spring, Francois quickly became the man to beat. Francois went on to throw for 3,350 yards and account for 25 total touchdowns while being named ACC Rookie of the Year. Now, that would have been a bold prediction.

2. Auden Tate Will Rank in the Top 3 for FSU in TD Receptions
Nailed it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, this one doesn’t seem that bold either, considering that Tate is 6-5 and 220 pounds, he’s the perfect red zone threat. When you consider that he didn’t have a catch in 2015 though, I’m giving myself a little credit for this one. As a sophomore, Tate caught 25 passes for 409 yards and six touchdowns. Only Travis Rudolph had more among FSU receivers with seven.

3. Production from Tight Ends Will Double
Swing and a miss. Production from Florida State’s tight ends did improve in 2016, but it didn’t come close to doubling. In 2015, the trio of Ryan Izzo, Mavin Saunders and Jeremy Kerr caught 21 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Though Kerr didn’t add to his one catch for one yard and one touchdown stat-line of 2015, Izzo and Saunders combined for 29 catches for 409 yards and a touchdown. That means FSU tight ends increased receptions by 38 percent and yardage by 56 percent. Touchdowns decreased by 67 percent. No matter how you spin it, this is a miss.

4. FSU Will Have One of the Best Secondaries in the Country
Errrnnnttt. This is what is referred to in baseball as a whiff. No matter how loose your definition of “one of the best is”, FSU didn’t have that in 2016. Granted, this unit got immensely better as the season went on, but throughout the early parts of the year, blown coverages and getting gashed by competent quarterbacks was pretty routine. The FSU secondary was certainly hurt by the season-ending injury to safety Derwin James in Week 2, but this group was getting burnt long before that. As a whole, the FSU secondary ranks 32rd in completion percentage allowed, 65th in passing yards allowed and 78th in yards per attempt allowed. On a positive note, the Seminoles are 24th in interceptions with eight of their 14 picks coming from sophomore cornerback Tarvarus McFadden.

5. FSU Will Have More Sacks, but DeMarcus Walker’s Numbers Will Decrease
I’m going with half-right on this one. This is the prediction equivalent of a really good drive that goes from 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard-line to a short field goal. Florida State’s sack production increased from 17 in 2014 to 32 in 2015 to a nation’s leading 51 sacks in 2016. Making this all the more impressive is that FSU was able to do this without safety Derwin James, who ranked second on the team in sacks last season. James had 4.5 sacks in 2015. Five Seminoles had at least that in 2016, led by DeMarcus Walker’s 16. That number ranks third for a single season in school-history and is 5.5 more than Walker recorded as a junior in 2015. Note to self: never ever bet against DeMarcus Walker.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply