Ever since quarterback Deondre Francois tore his patella, Florida State football hasn’t been the same. The Seminoles have lost their first three home games—something that hasn’t happened since 1974—and are off to their worst start in eight years. At 2-4, FSU is in serious danger of missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 1982. But according to Boston College head coach Steve Addazio, the Seminoles are just as much of a threat as they’ve always been.
The fifth-year man still considers FSU one of the ACC’s elite, and reasonably so. Along with Clemson, the Seminoles are the only team in the Atlantic Division that Addazio has yet to beat. As of late, it hasn’t even been close. Over the past two years, FSU has outscored BC 59-7. During Addazio’s tenure, the Seminoles have outscored the Eagles 127-58.
Addazio maintains that FSU’s current record is no indication of its overall talent.
“Our players, they put the tape on, and they know what they see,” he told reporters in Monday’s weekly press conference.
Mainly, they see one of the best defensive fronts in the country and a secondary that can go toe-to-toe with any wide receiving corps in the conference. The Seminoles’ defense has carried the team thus far. And it’s had to, considering that the offense is averaging a shade under 20 points per game. FSU is consistently holding opponents under 25 points, but what concerns Addazio the most is the way the Seminoles play the run.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher’s unit has shut down both Miami and Wake Forest on the ground this season, in addition to holding Alabama—the eighth-best rushing team in the nation—in check. While Addazio has scripted more pass plays than ever this season, running the rock is still the foundation of his offense. Without a rushing attack, the Eagles are all but helpless on offense.
“We’re playing against an elite secondary and an elite front,” Addazio said. “Like I said, this team is going to try you in every way. And we have to have some balance against this outfit. There’s doubt about that.”
Two weeks ago, running back A.J. Dillon picked apart Louisville’s defense. The true freshman recorded 272 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Not only did he lead the Eagles to their first ACC victory of the year, but he also set them up for a few more down the line. After Dillon’s field day, Virginia had to respect the run, which, in turn, opened up the play-action passing game.
As evidenced by these last couple of weeks, BC’s offense is at its best when offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler can freely intermix run plays with an assortment of play-action passes. But, if the Eagles can’t run the ball against FSU, quarterback Anthony Brown won’t have the luxury of the play-fake, and, in effect, will most likely have to attack the Seminoles’ secondary from the pocket.
BC has scored 40-plus points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2002. But that streak could very well come to an end on Friday night.
“This is going to be one of those games where you’re going to be clawing for every bit of real estate you can get, and you’re going to get a very small number of opportunities,” Addazio said. “And when you get them, you better capitalize on them.”
The Seminoles may only be a 3.5-point favorite, but Addazio is treating them like the national title contender they were just a few short months ago.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor