As college football's pre-preseason gets under way this week with conference media days -- the SEC begins its session on Monday, while the ACC starts on Thursday -- it's time for another edition of the 3-2-1: Where we offer 3 things we've learned, 2 questions we're asking and 1 prediction.
Three things we've learned
1 -- There is an awful lot of confidence around the FSU program
Every sports team is hopeful before a season begins. Whether they are loaded with talent and experience, or even if they have glaring weaknesses, it's natural to look at that unblemished 0-0 record and think of all the possibilities. In 25 years of covering college football, I've never met any player or coach who thought, "Gee, we just don't stand a chance this season."
So, what I'm about to share should certainly be taken with at least a tiny grain of salt -- but several folks I've spoken with around the FSU football program in recent weeks have expressed a great deal of confidence about this 2017 football team. They think they've got a chance to be really good. Like really, really good.
Now, that's not entirely shocking. FSU is expected to be picked in the top two or three of most preseason polls, and the Seminoles are almost definitely going to be the media's choice to win the conference at this week's ACC Kickoff. But at the same time, it's not all that common for me to hear comments like this in June or July. People who work in college athletics know all of the pitfalls that can plague a team. They know that a couple of bad breaks or something as nebulous as poor team chemistry can derail a season.
So for more than a couple of different people to say, unsolicited, how excited they are about this 2017 FSU football team -- that could be a very good sign.
2. Jimbo Fisher is putting his trust in Deondre Francois
A lot of people seemed to shrug their shoulders when it was announced that Deondre Francois would join Derwin James as FSU's player representatives at this week's ACC Kickoff. And I get that to some degree -- he is the returning starting quarterback on an offense that doesn't exactly have a lot of established stars returning.
But I think it speaks volumes about how far Francois has come in the last two years. Like with a lot of freshmen, there were questions about Francois' maturity while he was redshirting in 2015-16. Even last year, after he had won the starting job, Jimbo Fisher was protective when it came to putting Francois in front of the media. Whether he was concerned about putting too much pressure on his young signal-caller or whether he was worried that Francois might say the wrong thing, Fisher rarely let Francois speak with the media in the days before a game. Nearly all of our interviews with him came in post-game press conferences.