Tag Archives: Dalvin Cook

How FSU Got to the Rose Bowl

On January 1st the Florida State Seminoles take on the Oregon Ducks in the semifinals of the first ever College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl. Seminole fans have endured an up and down season for Jameis Winston, horrendous first halves, and games that come down to the last drive even though they never should have. Even though the Seminoles haven’t displayed the same dominance they did last year, the Seminoles finished the regular season unscathed, and have extended their winning streak to 29 consecutive games.

Looking back at the Seminoles season, even though it was extremely stressful at times, it was also one of the most exciting seasons to watch in college football. I wouldn’t be saying that if the Seminoles had lost of course, but now that they are safely in the playoffs, we can look at the critical moments and plays throughout the season that got them to where they are today.

1. Jameis Winston’s running touchdown versus Oklahoma State in the first game of the season. Only up 20-17 in the 3rd quarter of the game, from the 28-yard line, Winston takes it upon himself, hurdles a defender than upon landing slides to the left juking another defender, and dives into the end zone. This moment not only took life out of the Oklahoma State defense, but it was the most impressive run Jameis Winston has had in his career, displaying mobility that many Seminoles fans didn’t know he had in him. The Seminoles would go on to win the game 37-31, and start the season 1-0.

2. Clemson fumbling the ball with 1:26 left in the 4th quarter, at FSU’s 20-yard line. This simply was a game that the Seminoles should not have won. The Noles were playing without QB Jameis Winston, giving backup QB Sean Maguire his first start of his career, against ACC rival Clemson. Maguire didn’t play very well, with his worst play being an interception with two minutes left in the 4th quarter in FSU’s own territory. With Clemson poised to run out the clock and hit a game-winning field goal, running back C.J. Davidson fumbled the ball at FSU’s 20-yard line that gave Sean Maguire this “Oh My God we got the ball back” reaction below. The Seminoles would go on to win the game in overtime and preserve their undefeated record.

3. The third critical moment of Florida State’s season was against NC State when they were down 24-7 at the end of the first quarter. This was the first real situation for the Seminoles where they were in a deep hole, and needed to have a big comeback in order to win. Unfortunately this would foreshadow the rest of the season for the Seminoles, with the whole “Winston and the defense will start slow and then they get it together to finish the rest of the game,” technique beginning in this game. The Seminoles would go on to win the game by scoring 56 points, and established the Seminoles ability to come back in games that have awful beginnings.

4. This next play, or call by the referee, rivals the Clemson fumble as the most crucial play of the year; the offensive pass interference call on Notre Dame, that nullified a touchdown with 13 seconds remaining in the game. With the Seminoles up 4 points, the Fighting Irish drove to the goal line with time expiring in the 4th quarter. On 4th and 2, Notre Dame lined up three receivers on the ride side of the field, and used two of those receivers to illegally pick two Seminoles defenders, springing the third WR to a wide-open touchdown. A flag was thrown on the two Notre Dame receivers, nullifying the touchdown, and forced a 4th and goal from the 18 yard line for the Irish, that ended up being picked off by the Seminoles, preserving the 31-27 victory.

5. Dalvin Cook’s 26-yard touchdown run against Miami when the Noles were down 3 points, giving the Noles a 4-point lead with 3 minutes remaining in the game. This wasn’t only the game winning score of the game, this run, and this game, established true freshman RB Dalvin Cook as the lead running back for Florida State as he turned 7 carries into 92 yards in this game. In the next three games against Boston College, Florida and Georgia Tech, Cook would go on to rush for 397 yards. Cook’s explosiveness and ability to turn a 4-yard gain into a 30-yard gain, was something that Florida State’s offense had been missing all season from the running back position.

True Freshman Dalvin Cook has been a revelation at the running back position
True Freshman Dalvin Cook has been a revelation at the running back position for the Seminoles

6. In the biggest game of the season, Jameis Winston would buck his horrible start to games trend, and play a near perfect game against #11 ranked Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game. After throwing three interceptions against Florida in the previous game, Winston threw for over 300 yards, 3 touchdowns, and zero interceptions against Georgia Tech. This was the type of game that Florida State fans were looking for Jameis Winston to have all season. Looking past the ACC Championship game, Seminole fans knew that Winston would have to play much better football if they wanted a chance to win the National Championship, and the way that Winston played against Georgia Tech assured everyone that in huge games like this, with everything on the line, Jameis Winston will play up to his ability. It now appears that Jameis Winston is playing the best he has all year, and is poised to lead the Seminoles to their second straight National Championship.

These moments have all had huge impacts on the Seminoles season, and have gotten them to their birth in the College Playoff. These moments also point to how crazy the Seminoles season has been. Without a Clemson fumble, a offensive pass interference call against Notre Dame, and the emergence of Dalvin Cook, Florida State could easily have three or more losses right now. However, these pieces have all fallen into place, the #3 Seminoles are 13-0, and will face the #2 Oregon Ducks in the College Football Playoff semifinal on January 1st.

Virginia Football, Almost There…

I promise not to make songs on my playlist a regular part of these columns, but after the Virginia game against FSU and the state of the program 10 games into the 2014 season, the song “Almost” by Bowling for Soup off their Album “A Hangover You Don’t Deserve” seemed more than just a little appropriate as the thematic musical score for Virginia’s Football season.

As a 22 point dog in Tallahassee, Virginia almost got the game to a one-score differential midway through the fourth quarter. While it is hard to say that UVa was in a position to win the game against the Seminoles, they were in a position to make a statement and push the Seminoles to the edge. The Cavalier defense held the ‘Noles to their second lowest yardage total of the season. The Cavaliers were very competitive with the undefeated,  #2 ranked team in the country. Then, in a “Play it again Sam” moment, things went awry as they have all season. On the most important drive of the game Virginia stalled on the Florida State 5-yard line yielding zero points and crushing any chance Virginia had to win the game. Inexplicable play-calling and poor execution delivered another “almost” for Cavalier fans and “Ain’t that a Shame” was the chorus running through my head as Virginia almost made FSU sweat for their 10th victory of the season.

 

chopchat.com
chopchat.com

The burning question for Virginia fans is why is Virginia almost a good team versus actually being a good team? One answer is self-inflicted implosions through poor execution and/or mental mistakes. A pick-6 against UCLA, a fumble on the first offensive play from scrimmage against Florida State, the worst screen pass of the decade against UNC have resulted in almost-wins, otherwise known as painful losses. The coaching staff has made its share of gaffes to turn UVa into the ACC’s “almost” team. Terrible clock management against Georgia Tech, David Watford in the wildcat behind a patchwork offensive line in the red zone against FSU, too many screen passes & too few vertical passes are among the coaching miscues that have Virginia on the cusp of almost missing a bowl game for the third year in a row.

However, it is also hard to argue that breaks just have not gone Virginia’s way this year. A fluke “pop-up” fumble against UCLA turned into a game-winning scoop & score. A similar fumble by Florida State’s Dalvin Cook this weekend bounced harmlessly back into FSU hands. A 4th down conversion by Greyson Lambert against BYU turned into turnover when BYU stripped Lambert well after forward progress had stopped. The review almost went Virginia’s way…but didn’t and BYU scored a critical touchdown in what was essentially a 14 point swing.  UNC punter Tommy Hibbard punted three consecutive times trying to pin UVa deep in their own zone. Three times Hibbard’s punts almost made it to the end zone for touchbacks, but instead each was downed inside the 5-yardline. These things don’t seem to happen to other programs. They seem to happen every week to UVa.

Probably the toughest part of this weekend for Virginia fans was that the Florida State game seemed like the UNC game, which seemed a lot like the Duke game, which put us in mind of the UCLA game. Each of these games was to varying degrees “winnable” to “in-the-bag” yet Virginia lost them all. It is hard to dispute that the 2014 edition of Virginia football is almost a good team. They have almost overcome some incredibly bad luck this season.

Virginia almost won the UNC and UCLA games. If the gods had been with the ‘Hoos the Virginia fan base might almost be willing to give Mike London and the staff another year. Scott Stadium might almost be filled to capacity against Miami on the 22nd. The problem with athletics and college football in particular is that “almost” doesn’t get it done. It doesn’t score touchdowns, it doesn’t win games, and it doesn’t put fans in the seats. Many absentee Virginia fans are delighted by the fact that Basketball season is almost here.

In a year of “almosts” this week’s game in Tallahassee was clearly a hangover we didn’t need or deserve. Unfortunately it might be just one more reason that Mike London and his staff are almost out of a job.

 

Welcome to the Show, Freshmen

After watching Florida State play Louisville there are a few reasons for Seminoles fans to be encouraged. True freshman Dalvin Cook had a break out performance at the running back position, which has been a question mark for the Noles all year long. On top of that, true freshman receivers Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane each had a touchdown of their own.
Not only is the emergence of these freshmen a good sign for the immediate future of the Seminoles, but also for the future of the program.
The Seminoles defense didn’t play to the top of their ability, but they did come in clutch when they were needed the most. The Noles turned Louisville over on downs on the first drive of the game when Louisville was within the Noles own five yard line, and continued to come through in the end, even if there were a few bad plays sprinkled in.
True freshman RB Dalvin Cook’s play, along with the other true freshman WR Travis Rudolph and WR Ermon Lane were the real story. Florida State, even though they were only favored by 3.5 points, was expected to win, but not with four of their six touchdowns coming from true freshmen.
Jimbo Fisher has been recruiting great classes for the past few years, but never have they come in and made the kind of influence that these freshmen are making.
Don’t get me wrong, the vital pieces of this team played their respective roles. Jameis Winston, although ugly in the beginning, made almost every throw in the second half. Senior TE Nick O’ Leary had a crucial fumble recovery in the end zone that turned a potential turnover into a touchdown for the Seminoles. Rashad Greene had his typical game as a receiver and the Noles eventually ended up winning the game 43-31.
However this game was truly about the play of the true freshmen for the Florida State Seminoles.
Coming into the season there were big questions marks for the Noles surrounding who was going to step in and replace senior receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw. Well, that has been answered by freshmen Travis Rudolph. Ever since Rudolph has been inserted into the offense, he has produced at a pretty high level. Since his first game time against NC State, Rudolph has had three touchdowns in five games.

Travis Rudolph has established himself as a reliable option for Jameis Winston.
Travis Rudolph has established himself as a reliable option for Jameis Winston.

Rudolph has seemed to have taken hold of the number two receiving spot behind Rashad Greene this season, and it looks like he will jump right into Greene’s role after he heads to the pros next season.
Freshman RB Dalvin Cook broke out against Lousiville. He had been running well as a change of pace back for the Seminoles, but last night was his coming out party. Cook has been splitting touches with RB Mario Pender as the backup running backs and change of pace backs, as both Pender and Cook have an alternate running style from starter Karlos Williams. Williams has become the real workhorse at running back, with his straight ahead, lower your shoulder style running that he is so good at. But the Noles have been waiting for either Cook or Pender to establish themselves as the number two back that can come in and provide the running game with some explosiveness to compliment Williams. That’s exactly what Dalvin Cook did last night.
With Williams establishing the run to the tune of 16 carries for 72 yards, Cook came in and was given 9 carries, and sprinted his way to 110 yards. Including a 40-yard touchdown run, and a 38-yard touchdown run, showing off his ability to stick his foot in the ground and fly through a hole with his 4.4-speed.
Even though Mario Pender was hurt and unable to play in last night’s game, it is hard to see Dalvin Cook not getting more carries. Especially since Pender and Cook have very similar running styles, I expect Cook to come in to the next game as the true change of pace back, and take most of Pender’s playing time.
Even though it was a very frustrating game at times for Seminoles fans, it was also a very exciting game for the future of the program and the rest of the season. With talented freshmen stepping in and providing the offense with what they have been missing, in an explosive back and a reliable number two receiver, the Seminoles offense looks a lot more complete than it has all season.

FSU Injuries Piling Up

The start to Florida State’s quest to repeat as National Champions hasn’t gone as smoothly as people had projected. Even though they remain undefeated, there have been multiple games that have been closer than they should be. Although troubling, the injuries that Florida State has been forced to deal with so far this season that they are not accustomed to dealing with. Last season when the Noles won the championship, there were only a handful of injuries that the Seminoles had to endure, this year, the Seminoles have regressed back to the mean in that department.
The injuries for the Seminoles began right from the beginning, when they lost two starting defensive tackles in Niles Lawrence-Stample and Eddie Goldman (Lawrence-Stample is out for the year while Goldman has returned since.) Continuing on the defensive line, the best lineman on the Seminoles roster Mario Edwards Jr. was forced to miss game time along with defensive linemen Derrick Mitchell and Demarcus Christmas. The defensive line for Florida State is clearly the most banged up, which could spell disaster for the Seminoles as this was already the weakest unit on their defense.

FSU's most dominant defensive linemen Mario Edwards Jr. has also been forced to miss some game time
FSU’s most dominant defensive linemen Mario Edwards Jr. has also been forced to miss some game time

Adding to this list, the worst injuries that have occurred to Florida State happened in this past week’s game against Wake Forest with three starters getting injured. Starting RB Karlos Williams suffered an ankle injury and is believed to be out this week against Syracuse. Starting C Austin Barron broke his arm in the game and is out for the year, and arguably the best receiver in the nation, WR Rashad Greene suffered a concussion and is also believed to be out this week against Syracuse. Not to mention backup QB Sean Maguire was injured late in the game with a hand injury.
For a team that was basically injury-free for the entirety of the year last season, Florida State is in a position that they haven’t been in, and have been relying heavily on backup players and an influx of freshman. However, the freshmen that have been coming in have been playing tremendously. DE Lorenzo Featherston has been a force since he has been inserted into the lineup wreaking havoc with his 6-7 frame, along with fellow freshman linemen Jacob Pugh who has also been forced into the game at times. Other freshmen that have stepped up for Florida State include receivers Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane, along with RB Dalvin Cook.
It could be worse timing, as all of these players hopefully will have adequate time to heal leading into Florida State’s biggest game of the regular season in Notre Dame. If WR Rashad Greene and RB Karlos Williams are forced to miss extended time, combined with the injuries that the defensive line have occurred, than the Seminoles will be trotting out an extremely banged up roster not only against Notre Dame, but for most of the season. We will see in the coming weeks what the Florida State Seminoles are truly made of.

What We've Learned about Florida State

Florida State hasn’t exactly lived up to the expectations that had been set out for them at the beginning of the season. Of course, Florida State’s expectations were through the roof, and a few mediocre performances have made people think that maybe the Seminoles aren’t who people thought they were, but here they stand, 4-0, having beaten one of the harder matchups on their schedule Clemson, with a back up quarterback. I’m not going to sit here and say that the Seminoles have had a great season so far, but given the poor play the Seminoles have displayed at certain times and the off the field trouble that has happened, the Seminoles have proved a lot by still being undefeated. However, there have been a few aspects of this football team though, that have been exposed through four games.
Coming into this season, running back Karlos Williams had an outrageous amount of hype surrounding him. There were a majority of people who thought that he would have a breakout season and was even a dark horse Heisman candidate. Through four games, it has become clear that he is not the type of running back that people had hoped he would become. A converted safety, Williams still hasn’t learned the nuances of being a running back and while he is a powerful runner, he rarely makes someone miss him in the open field. The backup running backs Mario Pender and Dalvin Cook have been playing well as complementary pieces and are deserving of more carries, if Williams continues to look like he has, which is a mediocre running back, than Jimbo Fisher won’t hesitate to bring in Cook or Pender, and these two will only get better as the season progresses.

Dalvin Cook has been an impressive freshman so far for the Noles
Dalvin Cook has been an impressive freshman so far for the Noles

A glaring weakness for the Seminoles that has quickly become apparent is the lack of talent at the linebacker position. Every linebacker on Florida State’s defense has been very bad at tackling, which is the most important aspect of their job. They go for huge hits, don’t wrap up, and as a result usually miss tackles, or allow the ball carrier to bounce off of them and keep going. The Seminoles linebackers only good aspect is that they are very good at blitzing the quarterback, simply because they are all amazing athletes. This hasn’t been a giant issue yet for the Noles yet since they haven’t played a team with a potent offense, but allowing NC State’s offense, especially their quarterback Jacoby Brissett, to constantly evade tackles and exploit the middle of the field to the tune of 41 points, is not a good sign going forward.
Another thing that has been a problem for the Seminoles has been their defensive line. The defensive line hasn’t been able to get pressure on the quarterback, and consistently allows big holes to open up for the opposing running backs. Part of the problem with the line has been a few injuries that have occurred to the starters including starting DT Nile Lawrence-Stample out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle. But there has been one bright spot with these injuries, with the best player on the defensive line DE Mario Edwards Jr. out for the game last week, true freshman DE Lorenzo Featherston got a lot of playing time and looked very good and could provide some much needed pressure on the quarterback with his 6’7” frame if his play continues to demand more playing time.
Featherston had a great showing at the NC State game last weekend
Featherston had a great showing at the NC State game last weekend

The Seminoles have had a somewhat shaky start to the season, and even though they have still managed to go 4-0, there are these few things that have become noticeable flaws for the Noles, and need to be remedied if they want to reach the playoffs and ultimately win the Championship.

Pre-Season Top 25: 1-5

With only a week and a half until the season finally gets underway, it’s time to unveil the year’s heavy hitters. These are the best teams heading into the season. Schedules, avoiding upsets, and dealing with expectations will determine if these squads will be successful in navigating their way to a college football playoff berth. My thinking is that only two of these five will likely make it. Check back next Monday when I tell you which two teams those will be and who from outside the Top 5 will be joining them.
 
5. South Carolina
South Carolina has become one of the most consistent programs under Steve Spurrier. With eight offensive starters back this year they should find similar success. Though they will head into the year with a new starter at quarterback, Dylan Thompson has plenty of game experience in the last few years and is in his fifth year in the program. Playmaker Bruce Ellington will now be playing WR on Sundays, but Thompson will have the Gamecocks’ next nine top pass catchers back from a year ago. He won’t need to do much throwing though with an offense that will rely heavily on stud RB Mike Davis and an experienced offensive line, one that is one of the ten best in the country. The other side of the ball is a little more bleak. South Carolina will break in new starters at both DE and CB spots. Having both safeties back will make sure the pass defense doesn’t fall to sieve levels. Additionally, year after year the defense has been solid, giving up more than 20 ppg only once in the last half decade. The Gamecocks have won double digit games each of the last three seasons and are a good bet to make it four.
4. Oregon
For the Ducks, it all starts with Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota. The offense was rolling last year until he got injured, and who knows if they would’ve stayed undefeated had he not gotten hurt. Mariota will have to hope new receivers step up as the Ducks will not have four of the top five guys from a year ago. Regardless, Oregon should have no problem lighting up the scoreboard as usual with the help of a dynamite run game. Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner form a running back duo that will continue the success Oregon’s backs have had the previous half decade. Paving the way will be an offensive line that returns four starters and should be dominant, even with the recent loss of starting LT Tyler Johnstone. As far as stopping the other team, it will be interesting to see how the Duck defense performs. They have elite players in returning leading tackler Derrick Malone and potential Top 10 pick Ifo Ekpre-Olomu at corner, but it will be how the others on the unit perform that will determine if Mariota needs to continue putting up points or if he gets to watch from the sidelines most fourth quarters. While it seems like Stanford has Oregon’s number after winning the last couple matchups, the Ducks actually beat the Cardinal by 20+ in the previous two games when both teams were in the Top 10. They have to play fellow Top 10 team in UCLA on the road, but avoiding USC and Arizona State means Oregon will be in the thick of the playoff race until the end of the season.
3. Ohio State
I don’t think Ohio State is as complete of a team as the others in the Top 5, but when you have the impact players they do it makes up for a lot. Like Oregon, the Buckeyes season hopes start and end with a Heisman candidate QB. Braxton Miller has improved every year at OSU and comes into the year after accounting for 36 touchdowns last season and over 1,000 yards rushing. Miller will need to help out on the ground game early in the year as the Buckeyes find a consistent replacement for Carlos Hyde, but I think Urban Meyer would feel better if Miller decreased his rushing attempts drastically over the course of the whole year to make sure he stays healthy. Playmaker Dontre Wilson should be a bigger part of the offense this year and take some of that pressure off of Braxton Miller. The only worry might be an offensive line that breaks in four new starters. There shouldn’t be a ton to worry about on the defensive side. The pass defense could be a concern, but with a front seven that should be dominant that won’t be as big of an issue. The Buckeyes will roll out the best defensive line in the country, even with Noah Spence starting the year serving a three game suspension. And though they did lose first round pick Ryan Shazier, when was the last time Ohio State didn’t have another NFL caliber linebacker to replace the most recently departed one? Even with back to back losses to end last year, the Buckeyes have found themselves ranked in the Top 10 for 20 consecutive weeks, and will continue to add to that total for most, if not the whole season
2. Alabama
Alabama seems to be the most consistently top ranked team after consensus #1 Florida State, so I tried to think of reasons not to follow that trend. Clearly I didn’t find enough. I can understand the argument about Bama breaking in a new quarterback; I just don’t think it matters. Whether Jacob Coker or Blake Sims wins the job, the Crimson Tide have so much talent on offense that even a “Blaine Gabbert on the Jaguars” type of performance can’t stop them from scoring points. Arguably the best group of running backs in the country (TJ Yeldon, Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake would all be Heisman contenders if given 250 carries) will run behind an offensive line that returns three starters along with 5 star T Cameron Robinson. All the QBs have to do is get the ball to a talented group of pass catchers that includes future pros in Amari Cooper and OJ Howard. There are a few more question marks on defense. A’Shawn Robinson, Trey DePriest, and Landon Collins give the Tide an elite player at each level, but will that translate to a great defense overall? I lean towards yes. No matter who Alabama has lost to the NFL, Nick Saban has trotted out a defense that hasn’t given up more than 14 ppg since Tim Tebow won the Heisman (2007). The pass defense may not be up to Saban’s standards but fortunately for the Tide, they won’t play anyone in the regular season whose offense is led by a dynamic passing attack.
1. Florida State
The defense loses some of their top tacklers, a team with a great corner could shut down the Seminoles passing attack which has only one standout wide receiver (Rashad Greene), and the running game is relying on a player who didn’t start last year at running back and had only 91 carries. Those are the only potential reasons Florida State could struggle this year, and even those seem far-fetched. That running back, Karlos Williams, will likely do just fine after averaging over 8 ypc carry and 11 TDs last year. Any worries about workload are mitigated by Williams’ history (came to FSU as a hard-hitting safety) and the impact incoming 5 star RB Dalvin Cook could have. As far as the passing game, history has told us that Heisman winning, number one pick caliber quarterbacks can keep an offense humming no matter who’s catching passes. Jameis Winston will have all day to throw behind an offensive line that returns four starters back including two All-Americans. And the defense? Though it does lose some key leadership from last year, they have talent on D that would make SEC coaches drool. Mario Edwards Jr and Eddie Goldman are just two of many five star talents, both on the defensive line. The back seven is lead by Ronald Darby, PJ Williams, and Jalen Ramsey who help form maybe the best defensive backfield in the nation. The Seminoles even return Lou Groza Award winner Roberto Aguayo to knock home field goals. Florida State may fall short of winning back to back championships, but they are the clear favorite heading into the season.

Impact of Incoming Seminole Freshmen

The recruiting class for 2014 that the Florida State Football team hauled in is widely regarded as one of the most talented recruiting classes in the country. But with so much talent already in the program and almost no starting positions up for grabs, it will be tough for any of them to get on the field and make an immediate impact even with their dynamic talent. Incoming freshmen can thank Jimbo Fisher for the many great recruiting classes that FSU has brought in previous to this year, although I’m sure many of them don’t want to wait until the future to make an impact. The question becomes; who can step up and prove to be better than the players already immersed in a season of Seminole football?
One player I expect to come in and be an impact player from the start is LB Kain Daub. Daub is one of those guys who looks the part off of the field (6’4”, 240 lbs.) and has more athleticism than you would expect from a kid his size. When you watch him play he jumps out at you as a guy that plays faster than you would expect, he has tremendous instincts when it comes to the run game, and rarely misses or fails to tackle a ball carrier. But not only is he a run stuffer, he is capable of dropping back on 3rd down to cover a TE or RB out of the backfield. His prowess however is definitely as a run stopper and a blitzer, and while the other things will come with time, Daub certainly has the tools and ability to become a staple in the beginning downs of the Seminole defense.
Kain Daub ba
Ermon Lane has gathered a lot of hype entering his freshman year because of his prototypical size (6’3”) and strength for an outside WR. He attacks the ball in the air, has strong hands and uses his body to fend off defenders. But Lane is not simply a receiver who catches the ball in traffic. Once the ball is in his hands, he has an elusiveness to him that you wouldn’t expect from a guy with his size and strength. He won’t sprint straight ahead and beat you to the endzone, but he will make you miss and weave his way for 30 more yards. I expect Lane to come into the season ready to contribute from the get-go simply because after Rashad Greene, the WR depth chart is wide-open. With Rashad Greene working the slot, I expect Lane to lock-up an outside receiving job, and can see him becoming one of Jameis Winston’s go to guys after they have a couple games to get familiar with each other.ERmon aagame
I recently wrote a piece about how much I expect from RB Karlos Williams this year, even saying that he could be the best RB in the country. But this was all assuming that he would continue to do what he did last year, this year, even though last year he was mostly used to close blowout games since he was the 3rd string back. With the top two backs from last season Davonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. gone, it will provide an opportunity for backs besides Williams to get some opportunities and playing time, especially if Williams hits a few speed bumps during the season. Meet Dalvin Cook, a 5’11” 200 lb. freshman running back with 4.4 speed. With the ball in his hands he is a magician, he’ll make you fly by him with a cutback move, he can zig-zag through your defense untouched, or he can just simply run faster than you on the outside. But don’t mistake him for a guy that likes to shy away from contact, Cook will just as easily lower his shoulder and bounce off of you as he has a low center of gravity and running style. He also isn’t afraid to run in between the tackles and bang for eight yards, where he will sometimes squirt out of the hole, get to the sideline, and blow by a pursuing safety. While Williams will most likely be the lead back that the Seminoles offense depends on, I expect Cook to get a lot of opportunities to shine and see him eventually forming a nice 1-2 punch with Williams out of the backfield. Dalvin
The 2014 Florida State Seminoles are already loaded with talent across the board on their roster, but don’t tell that to these freshmen. Ready to make an impact from the start, LB Kain Daub, WR Ermon Lane and RB Dalvin Cook are in a position to not only see their fair share of playing time, but will be given an opportunity to be a key contributor at their position. Each of these players have tremendous ability, and are in position groups that could use a spark plug. While they most likely won’t be All-Americans as freshmen, Daub, Lane and Cook will all be given the opportunity to contribute this season, and I don’t expect any of them to disappoint.