Fisher: FSU has 'viable options everywhere' along offensive line

Ryan S. Clark, Lead Beat Writer

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Gene Williams/Warchant

Only so much can be taken from a spring game. Look at Florida State's offensive line for example.

FSU's line pairings from last Saturday's Garnet and Gold Game combined to allow 12 sacks. The Gold team rushed for 196 yards while Garnet ran for minus-3 yards. At first glance, those statistics might not inspire confidence for anyone thinking the Seminoles have found their five best linemen.

That is until one takes a deeper dive. FSU was without three of its starting linemen from last season, who missed the spring game with injuries. For those who played, they often were thrust into playing alongside teammates they never worked with during spring camp.

"There were personnel matchups that would have never happened," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "The guys that needed to block, I thought blocked pretty good for the most part on the offensive line."

Fisher also pointed out that four of the linemen who played were nursing ankle injuries.

The Seminoles will open preseason camp in four months. From there, Fisher and offensive line coach Rick Trickett will continue working to find the strongest starting group, which can protect redshirt sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois and create space for the team's running backs to roam.

Keeping Francois upright and healthy is a top priority. FSU allowed 36 sacks last season, which ranked 108th out of 128 FBS teams. Of those 36 sacks, Francois took 34, which was tied for the 12th-most taken by a quarterback. The premium on securing Francois increases now that star tailback Dalvin Cook, who could change a game in one play, is bound for the NFL.

Spring camp gave Fisher and Trickett a chance to see how certain linemen have developed while others continue to recover from their respective ailments.

"I felt like the offensive line came out every day to get better," redshirt sophomore guard Cole Minshew said. "I feel like we really did that each day. Trickett always had us working very hard and had us getting better every day."

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