The preseason coaches’ poll was released just last week and the Florida State Seminoles were in an unfamiliar position… outside of the top 10. Now, there are a lot of factors to this such as new coaches, a new starting QB etc., but it is still weird to know that the Seminoles won’t be in any preseason top 10 polls like it has the last couple of years. But I urge my fellow Seminole fans to think about the situation.
We just had 11 players drafted in the NFL draft which is the most in FSU’s history as a program. EJ Manuel was drafted in the first round after leading us to an ACC championship and a win in the BCS Orange Bowl. Meaning we will see a new QB under center this upcoming season.
And to add on top of that we had to basically hire a brand new coaching staff that includes Jeremy Pruitt, our new defensive coordinator, who will introduce a more aggressive defense than we saw under Mark Stoops. The Seminoles also have to replace multiple starters on defense including first-rounders Xavier Rhodes and Bjorn Werner.
But even after all that we lost our new (and possibly improved) team has plenty of reasons to relish the underdog role this upcoming season. That new QB under center? He goes by the name Jameis Winston and will start as a redshirt freshman. If you didn’t know by now “Jaboo” was an all world 5-star QB in high school that chose FSU over multiple SEC programs.
In his redshirt year he participated on the baseball team and made jaw-dropping plays on the diamond. This all culminated in a fantastic spring game performance that forced former FSU QB Clint Tricket to transfer to West Virginia. We also have solid depth at all positions on offense except at TE, where injuries and transfers have not been fair to us this year. The Seminoles will have a veteran offensive line to protect Jameis Winston as well.
On the defensive side of the ball we should be fine at all levels as Jimbo Fisher has made it a point to recruit defense at a high caliber. The main question will be defensive ends where Mario Edwards Jr. and Dan Hicks will be full time starters this year along with a plethora of other young talent that will rush the passer for the Seminoles.
Both have game time experience and should do fine in ACC play. The defensive tackle position should be stout as well as the linebackers, each loaded with players who have played heavy minutes in past seasons. Corners and safeties are filled with returning starters and plenty of competition as well. They will hopefully pick up the new scheme rather quickly.
We also lost Mr. Golden Shoes himself Dustin Hopkins, who will be replaced by redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo, who boomed a 61-yarder in the spring game.
With no “hype machine” this year (that honor goes to the Clemson Tigers) the Seminoles have a chance to be the underdogs for the first time in quite awhile, and as fans and players alike, we should all relish it.
Because that’s just how Jimbo and company want it.
Jeremiah Zanders is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @JeremiahRantFSU