The time is here! After the nightmare that was last season it’s time to put it behind us and it’s safe to say FSU is ready. FSU opens the year against Boise State in Jacksonville, Florida at TIAA Bank Stadium. Here’s my thoughts on how it might play out:
FSU has named it’s QB1 and it’s not a shocker it is, it’s who we all thought it would be….. James Blackman. Many people felt Blackman should have started last season. Admittedly, I was one of those people after seeing former FSU QB Deondre Francois struggle week after week. I think he brings a lot to the table and the biggest is leadership. It’s all we ever hear about from this guy and shows with how much the team rallies behind and backs him. Just watching Blackman in limited action last year and throughout the spring he looks light years ahead of when he was playing as true freshman. FSU fans seems to either behind Blackman all the way or not behind him at all. I for one, think he’s going to have a good season and it’s going to start against Boise State this Saturday.
Now, Back to Boise:
The Broncos will come to Jacksonville with a true freshman QB as the starting QB. After losing Brett Rypien to graduation and the NFL Boise will go with youth yet again as Hank Bachmeier has been named the starter for the Broncos. Bachmeier was a highly touted QB ranked as the #6 pro style QB in the country according to 247 sports. It’s a bold move by head coach Bryan Harsin but Bachmeier has a lot of qualities to love if you’re a Broncos fan. The kid can really sling it effortlessly and eventually I think he will become another great Boise State QB. However, he’s never been in an atmosphere like he will be in Jacksonville. It’s going to be interesting to see what kind of game Harsin calls and how the freshman handles live game action against a school with athletes like FSU.
Bachmeier’s supporting cast:
Luckily for the young QB Boise State is returning their whole starting offensive line. With a team like FSU who does not necessarily have a proven pass rusher it’s going to be interesting to see if defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett gets creative to generate a pass rush, as the one man wrecking crew known as Brian Burns is gone and off to the NFL. Of course, FSU has one of the top DTs in the nation in Marvin Wilson but the main concern will be the EDGE will Kaindoh finally step up and be the guy we thought he would be 3 years ago or will the Seminoles have to rely on a newly converted pass rushers in junior LB Leonard Warner and RS-freshman LB Amari Gainer to generate some type of havoc off the edges.
The O-line is not the only thing Boise State has going for them they are returning, they also return a fairly solid WR unit with senior wideout John Hightower leading the charge. Hightower will be the main guy to watch in the passing game as he looks to improve from last season as he accounted for 504 yards and 6 touchdowns along with 163 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns to go with it. It’s evident that Hightower is electric and FSU must account for him on every single play because the moment they don’t he can blow the top off the defense or take a end around to the house. Along with WRs CT Thomas and Khalil Shakir Boise State should be solid at the position. The Seminoles have one of the most talented DB groups in the nation, though they sometimes struggled mightily last year the talent is still there. I feel like they can make a statement to let people know that FSU is still in fact, DBU.
This guy is the biggest “X factor” of the whole game taking into consideration how talented and productive he is along with FSU’s O-line struggles over the last couple years. Weaver is considered a potential 1-2 round pick by most draft analysts and it’s easy to see why. In just 2 years he produced 20.5 sacks, and 28 TFL. He consistently wrecks havoc on opposing offenses. Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been drinking the Kool-aid on how FSU’s offensive line will be improved this season and I am especially fond of new coach Randy Clements, who I think was a terrific hire and it will show this season. However, Weaver is a first round talent (maybe even top 10) and it’s a tough task for a growing O-line in week 1. I think the quick passing game will help FSU slow down Weaver a lot, I do think we need to chip with TEs. Maybe even let Jalen Goss play some TE this game to be used as an extra tackle, he has been spotted working with them at some point in practices over fall camp.
FSU’s offensive player of the game: Cam Akers. Akers bounces back from a rough junior season with his first 100 yard game of the year in week 1.
FSU’s Defensive player of the game: Levonta Taylor. Just like Akers I think Taylor will bounce back from a not-so great season last year. His IQ and veteran presence along with his new found home at safety will allow him to have a big game against an inexperienced QB.
Someone to watch for on Boise’s offense: Andrew Van Buren after losing Andrew Mattison to the NFL Boise will rely on sophomore RB Van Buren to take a bulk of the carries this season. On only 34 attempts Van Buren averaged nearly 5 yards a carry and 2 TDs.
Someone to watch for on Boise’s defense: Curtis Weaver, I said it once and I’ll say it until about 10:30pm on saturday night. FSU have to find away to block this guy or it will be a long day from FSU QB James Blackman.
Score: 37-21 FSU. The Seminoles come into the game with their foot on the gas and keep it there. I think Boise will have their fair share of splash plays but all in all I think FSU wins this with control for most of the game. It will be fun to see how this plays out.