#34 Florida State Football 2020 Preview

Florida State Seminoles
Overall Rank: #34
#6 ACC
 Florida State Logo
Florida State will embark on a new era in 2020 as they hired Mike Norvell away from Memphis to take over for Willie Taggart as head coach. Norvell went 35-15 at Memphis and led them to a Cotton Bowl appearance in 2019. Seminole fans should expect a high-flying offense as Memphis was always fun to watch win or lose. The defense will bring back ten starters and will be counted on heavily to take a step forward with their overall performance as a unit in 2020. If the fans can stay patient with Norvell, they should see their program get back towards the top of the ACC within a couple of seasons.
2019 Record: 6-7, 4-4
2019 Bowl: Sun Bowl vs. Arizona State (L 14-20)
Coach: Mike Norvell (First year at Florida State, 38-15 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kenny Dillingham
Defensive Coordinator: Adam Fuller
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Khalan Laborn, RB, 297 yards
Passing: James Blackman, QB, 2,339 yards
Receiving: Tamorrion Terry, WR, 1,188yards
Tackles: Hamsah Nasirildeen, DB, 101
Sacks: Marvin Wilson, DT, 5.0
Interceptions: Hamsah Nasirildeen, DB, 2
Other Key Returnees:  WR D. J. Matthews, CB Asante Samuel Jr., LB Emmett Rice, LB Amari Gainer
Key Losses: RB Cam Akers, QB Alex Hornibrook
James Blackman is back at quarterback and will be looking to improve upon a solid 2019 season. Blackman competed 63 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,339 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. The touchdown to interception ratio will need to improve for Blackman as that stat needs to get up at least a 2:1 ratio. Replacing Cam Akers is will be a challenge as he was drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. Khalan Laborn is the leading returning rusher for the Seminoles as he averaged 4.7 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns as well. Laborn will have the first opportunity to take the reigns as the number one running back and should flourish under this new regime. Texas A&M transfer Jashaun Corbin will push Laborn heavily for playing time at running back.  Tamorrion Terry was another big pickup for the new staff as he decided to return for the 2020 season instead of heading off to the NFL. He should see his numbers go up as long as Blackman has time to get him the football. Figuring out the offensive line will be an interesting challenge for this coaching staff as pass protection has been a huge problem. Opposing teams averaged 3.69 sacks per game against Florida State last season.
Marvin Wilson will set the tone in the middle of the defensive line for the Seminoles as he had five sacks in 2019 and will need to be a big-time leader once again in 2020. Emmett Rice is back at linebacker and is expected to build off of a solid 2019 season of 72 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss. Amari Gainer had 69 tackles last season at linebacker, along with 3.5 sacks, and will be another key piece of the puzzle for new defensive coordinator Adam Fuller. The secondary has got some serious to work to do as the Seminoles allowed 276.7 yards per game through the air last season, which simply won’t cut it in the ACC. There is talent within that unit as Hamsah Nasirildeen and Asante Samuel Jr. are returning this season for Florida State. Nasirildeen is the leading returning tackler from 2019 with 101 in addition to his three pass breakups. Samuel Jr. collected 48 tackles and also had an impressive 14 pass breakups in 2019.  
The Bottom Line:
The schedule will be an interesting one to say the least with a neutral site game in Atlanta against West Virginia and a trip out west to play Boise State in September. Fast forward to October where the ACC schedule will send the Seminoles to Raleigh to play NC State followed up by a visit from Clemson on October 10. The remainder of the schedule after the game against the Tigers is pretty balanced with manageable home games against Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, and Boston College. Trips to Louisville and Miami won’t be easy but if the team buys into the new coaching staff and can make progress they will be in good shape. Overall, look for around an eight-win regular season in year one for Coach Norvell in Tallahassee as Florida State should end up making some nice progress that will give their fans that feeling of excitement moving forward into 2021.
Projected Bowl: Sun Bowl
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 140.7 (93rd in nation, 11th in conference)
Passing Offense: 267.6 (34, 5)
Total Offense: 408.3 (60, 6)
Scoring Offense: 27.9 (73, 9)
Rushing Defense: 147.5 (54, 8)
Pass Defense: 276.7 (119, 13)
Total Defense: 424.2 (90, 11)
Scoring Defense: 27.8 (67, 7)
Turnover Margin: -0.23 (86, 8)
Sacks: 2.46 (44, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 3.69 (125, 12)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#10 Marvin Wilson
#28 Tamorrion Terry
#45 Hamsah Nasirildeen