2013 ACC Previews: Florida State
By Eric Russell
As the college football season draws closer it is time to take a look at each team in the ACC and their outlook for 2013. We will look at what to expect from your favorite team and what it will take for 2013 to be a success. We will follow the predicted finishing order released during ACC media day, alternating between the Coastal and Atlantic Division. Next up is Florida State.
Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher (fourth season)
Last Season: The Seminoles hit a couple bumps in the road against N.C. State and Florida. However, Florida State put together another good year. They finished the season as ACC Champions with a 12-2 record and an Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois. The defense was big for them last season and EJ Manuel made several plays for the team on offense.
Key Losses: Florida State will be looking to replace big names on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The most notable is obviously Manuel. He passed for 7,736 yards during his career with the Seminoles. The team lost a slew of players on defense including Xavier Rhodes and Tank Carradine.
What To Expect On Offense: Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston will be the Seminoles starter, a fact many predicted from the start of spring camp. Winston will finally get a chance to live up to all the hype thrown his way during the offseason. He has the tools to be successful; it's a matter of seeing how they hold up in ACC game play.
Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. return in the backfield. Having the option of two talented running backs won't hurt. Winston will also have Rashad Greene to throw to. Greene caught 57 passes for 741 yards last season.
What To Expect On Defense: Mark Stoops left for Kentucky and Jeremy Pruitt came in from Alabama to take over as defensive coordinator. Fisher has said that the shift won't result in a drastic change in the defense.
What will change: The faces lining up on the defensive side of the ball. The team lost the likes of Bjoern Warner, Rhodes and Carradine, to name a few. Now they will turn to younger guys like Nile Lawrence-Stample, Mario Edwards Jr. and Eddie Goldman, all sophomores, up front. Even some of the familiar faces will be lined up at different positions. For instance, Lamarcus Joyner moved over to cornerback after playing safety last year. Despite the new faces and new coordinator, the defense isn't expected to have much of a fall off from last season in terms of production.
Breakout Star: Jameis Winston has been the most hyped new quarterback in the conference. He will get a chance to live up to the hype, and if he is what everybody expects him to be the Seminoles will be in good hands going forward.
Big Games: The battle for ACC supremacy will take place on Oct. 19 when the Seminoles travel to Death Valley to take on Clemson. Outside of the division showdown, the other big games for Florida State include rivalry games against Miami and Florida. The Hurricanes will come into Tallahassee to start off November, and Florida will be the final game of the regular season.
Outlook: Like many years in the past, Florida State will be one of the top teams in the conference. However, winning a conference championship could prove to be tough with Clemson returning so much talent. Winston will turn some heads with his performance, but the question remains: Will it be enough to lift them to a BCS bowl?
Predicted Record: 9-3 (6-2 ACC)