Florida State Seminoles Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

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Florida State Seminoles Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Florida State season with what you need to know and keys to the season.

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Florida State Seminoles Preview
Head Coach: Mike Norvell, 3rd year at Florida State, 8-13
7th overall, 46-28, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 5-7 Conference: 4-4
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Florida State Top 10 Players | FSU Schedule & Analysis

Florida State Seminoles Preview 2022

Yes, kids. Florida State really used to be amazing at college football.

How weird have the last few years been? The last run of four losing seasons in a row was from 1973 to 1976. From 1977 to 2017, how many losing seasons did Florida State suffer through?

Zero.

There was a time when it took something otherworldly to slip a win past this program, and now it’s losing to Jacksonville State. Florida State – one of the annual superpowers of superpowers – has been lapped in the ACC by Wake freaking Forest.

But there were signs last year of things potentially being on the verge of starting to turn.

The Seminoles ran all over Notre Dame in a fantastic opening week loss. They pushed Clemson only to lose – and epically not cover – against Clemson, and they rallied late in the year when it all could’ve gone off the rails only to just miss out on a bowl game in a loss at Florida.

There’s experience returning, the talent level is getting better, and head coach Mike Norvell and the coaching staff have had a few years to settle in. If this is going to be anything close to the return-for-glory season Seminole fans have been waiting for, it starts with …

Florida State Seminoles Preview 2022: Offense

The running game should be dominant. Novell made his name at Memphis with an offense that ripped off yards in chunks as the lightning fast running backs took off through wide open spaces. That happened over the first half of last year with 199 rushing yards or more in six of the first seven games, and then it all came to a screeching halt.

FSU failed to come up with more than 160 rushing yards in any of its last five games, and the passing attack wasn’t there to make up for it. As good as the running game was, it still finished sixth in the ACC with an offense that finished 80th in college football. But again …

The running game. The parts are there. Leading rusher Jashaun Corbin is gone, but Treshaun Ward averaged well over six yards per carry, and ready to take over is star transfer Trey Benson from Oregon.

The offensive line – the Achilles heel of the program over this slide into mediocrity – wasn’t able to keep anyone out of the backfield, but along with star transfer Bless Harris from Lamar for one tackle spot, it’s loaded with veterans who worked the last few years in the system. There’s no excuse to not be a whole lot better and far more consistent.

The passing attack has to be more explosive. QB Jordan Travis grew into the job as a passer – he was okay – and he’s a good runner, but the offense was hit or miss on the big downfield plays.

The experience is there at receiver, but the production and talent have to come through. Ja’Khi Douglas averaged over 18 yards per catch on his 14 grabs, and Ontario Wilson is back after leading the team with just 382 yards and five scores.

Adding Mycah Pittman from Oregon and Johnny Wilson from Arizona State will help. Camren McDonald is a decent tight end who needs to be used more.

Florida State Seminoles Preview 2022: Defense

The offense needs the most help, but the defense has to be a whole lot better considering the talent level and experience returning. The Seminoles were a pedestrian sixth in the ACC in overall defense. It was terrific at getting into the backfield, but it got bombed on too easily and didn’t do enough against the run.

Again, though, the veterans are there, and help from the transfer portal and recurring class are on the way.

The defensive front has to replace the pass rushing production of New York Jet Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas on the ends, but overall this should be a plus.

It’s asking a ton for Albany transfer Jared Verse to match Johnson’s production, but he’s a pass rushing terror who should rise up on one side. There will be a decent rotation of young parts on the other.

The ends might be a wee bit of a question, but the tackles are set. Fabien Lovett, Robert Cooper, and Jarrett Jackson are big body veterans who did a good enough job for a run defense that only allowed 3.6 yards per carry.

Verse was the big transfer, but Tatum Bethune from UCF – if 69-tackle DJ Lundy doesn’t hold on to the gig – might end up being the leading tackler from his new spot in the middle. Kalen DeLoach is a hybrid outside linebacker who tied with Lundy for third on the team in tackles and can get into the backfield.

The secondary was only okay considering all the help it received from the pass rush. All-around star and leading tackler Jammie Robinson is back at one safety spot – he was all over the field seemingly making things happen on every play – and he’s not alone.

Akeem Dent was a massive recruit for the Seminoles, and he’s been good so far at free safety – he’s overdue to come up with a special season. Omarion Cooper is a rising factor at corner, but again, the FSU secondary – particularly on the outside – have to be more consistent to go along with all of the interceptions.

Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Florida State Top 10 Players | FSU Schedule & Analysis

Florida State Seminoles: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT

Florida State Seminoles: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats

Florida State Seminoles: Key To The 2022 Offense

The offensive line has to be better at keeping defenses out of the backfield.

It started at the end of the Jimbo Fisher era, Willie Taggart didn’t get time to fix it, and Mike Norvell might finally have the experience and the right five in place after a rough two years.

The offensive line. Florida State just can’t seem to make it work.

It was fine for the ground game, but it allowed an average of three sacks per game. It was the fourth year in a row allowing that many or more – by comparison, the 2014 team that got to the College Football Playoff allowed 1.64 per game.

To be fair, there was an improvement. The 2018 O line couldn’t give up tackles for loss fast enough, and the 6.67 given up per game last season were the fewest since 2016, but it was still a problem.

Longwinded blurb short, the faster the offensive line is great, the faster Florida State is a player again.

Florida State Seminoles: Key To The 2022 Defense

Keep the pass rush going.

A bit lost in another losing season was how much better the defense was.

It wasn’t always a rock, and it wasn’t always consistent, but it was better against the run, the takeaways were there, and the pass rush was the best it’s been in years.

The 2016 team averaged close to four sacks per game, but a great pass rush didn’t always equal obvious success – the epic national championship team of 2013 was just okay at getting into the backfield, and the great 2014 squad only came up with 17 sacks in 14 games.

The 2.75 sacks per game last season were the most since 2016, but that was because Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas went off with 18 of the 33.

There are plenty of good guys and options to take over on the ends, but the entire D got better because of the heat applied. There can’t be a regression.

Florida State Seminoles: Key Player To The 2022 Season

QB Jordan Travis, Jr.
The Florida State quarterback play has been fine post-Jameis, but it hasn’t been anything special.

While Clemson has enjoyed a slew of epic quarterbacks over the years, and several ACC teams had someone rocking under center last season, Florida State’s quarterback play hasn’t been anything special.

Everett Golson was decent, Deondre Francois had his moments, James Blackman was okay before leaving for Arkansas State, and Jordan Travis has been …

Fine.

Most of the pieces should be in place on both sides of the ball to come up with a great season, but Travis needs to be more accurate, do a better job on third downs, and Florida State needs its quarterback to be stronger than the middle of the ACC pack.

Florida State Seminoles: Key Transfer

OT Bless Harris, Jr.
Pass rusher Jared Verse (Albany) might be a bigger deal overall, Trey Benson (Oregon) might lead the team in rushing, linebacker Tatum Bethune (UCF), and WR Mycah Pittman (Oregon) will all make a splash, but Florida State needs Bless Harris to step in and be an instant star.

To keep hammering this home, the offensive line has been a problem, but now there’s hope. There’s a good base of veterans returning, and if the 6-5, 315-pound transfer from Lamar really is as good as advertised,

Florida State Key Game To The 2022 Season

at Louisville, Sept. 16
The Seminoles rolled up the yards against Louisville last year. The offense was balanced, the defense wasn’t awful, and it didn’t pay off in a 31-23 loss as part of an 0-4 start. This time around it’s the ACC opener coming off a 12-day break following the game against LSU, and a win would be a big, big deal.

Four of the next five games are at home, but Boston College, Wake Forest, and Clemson won’t be easy around a road date at NC State.

A win over the Cardinals might not mean the world – it didn’t in 2018 or 2019  – but a loss would be a big, big problem.

Florida State Seminoles: 2021 Fun Stats

– FSU 1st Quarter Scoring: 54 – 2nd Quarter Scoring: 135
– Red Zone Scores: FSU 38-of-42 (90%) – Opponents 24-of-34 (71%)
– Onside Kicks: FSU 2-of-2 – Opponents 0-of-0

O, D Breakdown | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Florida State Top 10 Players | FSU Schedule & Analysis

Florida State Seminoles Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT

Florida State Seminoles Season Prediction, What Will Happen

Just how much has Florida State improved?

It got better as last season went on, and it would’ve and should’ve been bowl eligible if it didn’t gag away a loss to Jacksonville State, but it has always been something over the last few years.

Florida State hasn’t been great at creating its own breaks.

It’s what makes figuring out the 2022 version so hard. Yes, there were several big improvements across the board, but it was still a 5-7 season.

And yes, FSU was this close to being 8-4. And yes, FSU was this close to being 3-9.

Set The Florida State Seminoles Regular Season Win Total At … 6.5

Barring something crazy, the Noles will beat Duquesne to start the season, and if they don’t beat Georgia Tech and Louisiana at home just forget about everything else.

There aren’t enough sure-thing wins, but they should be good enough to come up with a home win over Boston College or Wake Forest, and they should be dangerous on the road at Louisville, Miami, and/or Syracuse.

Enough is enough. Florida State has to get to at least six wins, and even with the sneaky-tough slate – this actually isn’t going to be easy – it has to be the problem team for everyone else on the slate.

Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Florida State Top 10 Players | FSU Schedule & Analysis

2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams