James Blackman, in only two starts, has shown the games aren’t too big for him. In his short time under center the freshman has thrown for 399 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game winner last week against Wake Forest. Most importantly he hasn’t thrown an interception all season.
Against the Demon Deacons, Blackman and the ‘Noles threw for just 121 yards and were out gained in total yardage 367 yards to 270.
“There’s no sense in putting that pressure on his back until you have to.” Said Head Coach Fisher
The ‘Noles have struggled mightily up front. The Florida State offensive line give up 4 sacks per game, allowing opposing defenses to get to Blackman 9 times in his young career. The ‘Noles rank last in the nation in tackles for loss given up with over 10 per game.
Coach Fisher isn’t blind to the offensive line trouble stating. “They’re pretty banged and bruised, but I think we’re going to be okay. We expect most of those guys all to be healthy, just some injuries, and that’s things they’ve got to fight through.”
Florida State ran the ball 43 times against Wake Forest and with running backs like Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers. I foresee much of the same for the rest of the season.
“Winning football isn’t always pretty.” Said Fisher
Fisher may not put pressure on his freshman quarterback, but Mark Richt and this stout Hurricane defense most certainly will. Linebacker Shaquille Quarterman leads things for the ‘Canes with 21 tackles. This ‘Canes defense is very active in the trenches, only Wake Forest leads Miami in tackles for loss per game. Miami gives up over 296 yards passing good for 91st in the country, but the offensive line play of Florida State may make it difficult to exploit that part of the Hurricane defense.
The defense of Florida State, the strength of this team, must step up huge against Miami. The Hurricanes come in with the 11th ranked offense in the nation. Hurricane quarterback Malik Rosier has taken command of the offense passing for over 278 yards per game. Playmakers wide receivers Braxton Berrios and speedster Ahmmon Richards will have their hands full against Florida State DB’s Derwin James and Tarvarus McFadden who lead one of the best secondary’s in the country.
“I thought Kyle Myers really stepped up and made some plays, went in the slot an played the little guy really good, allowed us to free up Derwin [James] up. I thought Matthew Thomas did some outstanding things.” Said Fisher.” I thought Tarvarus McFadden played one of his best games of the year”
Matthew Thomas, the Seminole leading tackler, along with linebacker Ro’Derrick Hoskins must contain Miami running back Mark Walton who’s run for 403 yards and 3 touchdowns this season.
The game between the Seminoles and Hurricanes is shaping up to be a defensive battle. Florida State must open the playbook more for Blackman and allow him to develop along with his receivers. The plan is simple; continue to run the ball downhill with Patrick and Akers and control the clock. Blackman has showed great poise under pressure, but will need time in the pocket to take his shots downfield; which he’s proven he’s willing to do.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30pm at Doak Campbell Stadium.