Photo courtesy of Jacksonville State athletics
Following consecutive losing seasons, Florida State is off to an 0-2 start under first-year head coach Mike Norvell.
Let’s face it. Florida State needs a break.
This is especially true when you look at the abbreviated schedule that includes Miami, Clemson, and now Notre Dame. Typically in that situation, a team may look to the games it considers less daunting.
Perhaps an FCS school?
Like Jacksonville State?
In the words of former Seminole and ESPN great, Lee Corso, “not so fast my friend”.
Florida State’s first two losses can be attributed to many factors, one of them being having to face a dual-threat quarterback. FSU’s defense simply did not do a good job of accounting for that.
Jeff Sims, quarterback for Georgia Tech and once a commit of former FSU head coach Willie Taggart, rushed for 64 yards on 13 carries against the Seminoles. D’Eriq King, who transferred to Miami from Houston, led the Hurricanes’ ground attack with 65 yards on just eight carries.
Jacksonville State opens its season with Florida State this weekend in Tallahassee. The FSU faithful may be familiar with the name of the Gamecocks’ quarterback: Zerrick Cooper.
Cooper is the 6-foot-3, 225-pound former 4-star dual-threat quarterback. Cooper signed with Clemson and played backup, but later transferred to Jacksonville State.
Since the transfer to Jacksonville State, Cooper has 6,820 yards passing with 409 rushing yards in two seasons. He has thrown 60 touchdown passes, and is just one touchdown shy of tying the legendary Ed Lett’s career record at Jacksonville State of 61 touchdowns. Lett played for the Gamecocks from 1979 to 1981.
No doubt, he is able to push the ball downfield as a dual-threat. As for Florida State’s defense, it gave up the most points ever in its series with Miami this past Saturday — a 52-10 loss.
Cooper has thrown 28 interceptions in the past two years, which provides hope with FSU’s secondary. However, he also has to be pressured up front. To put it mildly, that has not been a bright spot of the FSU defense this year.
Given that Cooper has been sacked 45 times over the past two years and with his ability to run, that would be a good plan. Florida State, so far this year, has not managed to account for both the running and passing game simultaneously against a dual-threat quarterback.
With the fan base on edge after the past years, and the start of the 2020 football season, this is not a game Florida State can afford to lose. Cooper is the biggest key to make losing a reality for FSU.