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Texas A&M Football

Around CFB: Three years later, Fisher can't be blamed for FSU's struggles

September 23, 2020
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Three recruiting classes have been assembled since coach Jimbo Fisher left Florida State for Texas A&M.

What that means is that it’s getting harder and harder to blame Fisher for the sorry state of the Seminoles’ football program.

When Willie Taggart went 5-7 in 2018 as Fisher’s successor, much of the blame was on Fisher. Local and national media said Fisher left Taggart with a depleted roster.

Never mind that Fisher’s last two recruiting classes ranked No. 6 and No. 3 in the nation. Also, never mind that running back Cam Akers was a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL draft.

And forget that current Seminoles defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and safety Hamsah Nasirildeen and receiver Tamorrion Terry — members of Fisher’s 2017 recruiting class — are projected as high picks in the 2021 NFL draft.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
James Blackman has struggled at FSU, but it seems as if the Seminoles don’t have another option at quarterback.

The argument is that the quarterback situation at Florida State is dire with struggling James Blackman, a Fisher recruit.

So, maybe Blackman hasn’t developed. That cannot be blamed on Fisher. Also, if Blackman is overmatched, why hasn’t a better quarterback arrived through recruiting or transfer?

That question didn’t matter to some. The fault was Fisher’s.

Except, in 2019, the Seminoles started 4-5 — and nipped Louisiana-Monroe, 45-44, in overtime — and Taggart was fired.

That led to the hiring of Mike Norvell, who had a successful four-year run at Memphis. But in Norvell’s Florida State debut, the Seminoles lost 16-13 to Georgia Tech, which started true freshman quarterback Jeff Sims. He passed for 277 yards and a touchdown.

That’s an ominous sign for the Seminoles, who next face dynamic Miami quarterback D’Eriq King. Last week, King passed for 325 yards and three touchdowns in a blowout victory over Louisville. A loss to Miami would put Florida State into an 0-2 hole, and they’ll be without Norvell, who has contracted COVID-19.

Five more currently-ranked teams await the Seminoles — No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 11 North Carolina, No. 24  Louisville, No. 21 Pittsburgh and No. 1 Clemson. A dismal three-win season is certainly a possibility.

Who would Florida State blame for that?

Heisman watch (If my ballot was due today)

1. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, QB: Lawrence followed up a 351-yard passing performance in the season-opening win over Wake Forest with another stellar showing in an expected blowout of The Citadel. In an abbreviated appearance, he completed 8 of 9 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown.

2. D’Eriq King, Miami, QB: The transfer from Houston passed for 325 yards and three touchdowns in a 47-34 victory over Louisville. That was after passing for 144 yards and rushing for 83 in an opening win over UAB.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Clemson has one of the best quarterbacks in college football, but Travis Etienne could be the best tailback in the nation as well.

3. Travis Etienne, Clemson, RB:  He only rushed for 68 yards against The Citadel. But he only had eight carries. His stats aren’t gaudy yet, but he hasn’t been unleashed either.

4. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama, WR: The nation’s most dangerous kick returner also will have a more significant role in Alabama’s offense. The bet here is he has more plays over 50 yards than anyone else in America.

5. Justin Fields, Ohio State, QB: Now that the Big Ten is playing again, Fields resurfaces as a major candidate. Last season, he passed for 3,273 yards and rushed for 484. He led the Big Ten with 3,757 yards. He also threw for 41 yards and threw just three interceptions.

Predicted playoff participants

1. Clemson: Even with Notre Dame as a temporary member, the Tigers still appear far and away the class of the ACC.
2. Alabama: The quarterback position is a concern, but then again, Alabama has won national championships with mediocre quarterbacks.
3. Ohio State: The Buckeyes only needed the Big Ten to play to be a national championship contender.
4. Oklahoma: The Big 12’s dismal showing so far reinforces the likelihood the Sooners will go unbeaten.

Games to watch

Mississippi State at No. 6 LSU: A postgame conversation between coaches Mike Leach and Ed Orgeron would probably be more entertaining than the game itself, but Leach’s offense might cause problems for the rebuilt LSU defense.

No. 23 Kentucky at No. 8 Auburn: There is some talk that Kentucky is a legitimate threat to Georgia in Florida in the SEC East. Maybe. Proving that would require winning at Jordan-Hare. Kentucky is strong at the line of scrimmage, but Auburn has a speed advantage at the skill positions.

No. 24 Louisville at No. 21 Pittsburgh: Sure, they might both be ACC pretenders, but at least for this week, it’s a matchup of ranked teams. One of them gets to stay in the rankings for at least another week.

No. 22 Army at No. 14 Cincinnati: The American Athletic Conference is gaining traction as a sixth “power” conference. A victory over Army would certainly help. Just two years ago, Army took Big 12 champion Oklahoma to overtime. Frankly, top to bottom, the AAC is probably already better than the Big 12.

No. 16 Tennessee at South Carolina: The Volunteers closed the 2019 season with a six-game winning streak. None of those victories were over a particularly good team, though. That includes a 41-21 victory over South Carolina. The Gamecocks seek revenge. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp’s job is in jeopardy. He needs a win.

Discussion from...

Around CFB: Three years later, Fisher can't be blamed for FSU's struggles

3,976 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by greg.w.h
Tegrity123
How long do you want to ignore this user?
It is ridiculous that the Big12 gets a playoff spot every year.
Agsuffering@bulaw
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Thank you. About time someone on the media pushed back on this trash.
greg.w.h
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Of course he can...look...they're doing it!!!
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