Revisiting Our Preseason Predictions: RB

Prior to the season Jason Staples and I made our predictions for what we thought the 2014 season would look like for the Seminoles. Halfway through the season it’s time to check in and see how we’re doing with the final part of our three part series.

Running Backs

Wayne’s Preseason Predictions:

Karlos Williams: 200 carries, 1300 yards, 14 touchdowns

Mario Pender: 150 carries, 950 yards, 8 touchdowns.

Dalvin Cook: 100 carries, 600 yards, 6 touchdowns

Jason’s Preseason Predictions:

Karlos Williams: 200 carries, 1500 yards, 19 touchdowns

Mario Pender: 150 carries, 950 yards

Dalvin Cook: 100 carries, 700 yards

Midseason Stats:

Karlos Williams: 82 carries, 378 yards, 7 touchdowns

Williams is on pace for 175 carries, 810 yards, and 15 touchdowns.

Dalvin Cook: 59 carries, 270 yards, 3 touchdowns

Cook is on pace for 126 carries, 579 yards, and 6 touchdowns.

Mario Pender: 32 carries, 200 yards, 4 touchdowns

Pender is on pace for 69 carries, 429 yards, and 9 touchdowns.

How we’re looking on our predictions:

Can we just erase this from everyone’s memory and start over? Karlos Williams is on pace for almost half of Jason’s prediction for the season and 500 yards short of mine. He is finding the endzone quite a bit, so my prediction of 14 touchdowns seems feasible. Mario Pender and Williams have both been hurt this season and missed multiple games, which put Dalvin Cook in position to get more carries than I thought this early in the season and he is right on track for both of our predictions.

Jason: Mercy, these are embarrassingly off. There’s no doubt this is the single most disappointing aspect of this season as the offensive line has not been what any of us expected with four highly-regarded senior starters returning. The center position has been a problem, but it hasn’t just been one thing, as all of the returnees have struggled at times against quicker linemen this season. It looks to me like FSU got a little overweight up front this offseason. Karlos Williams also came into the season heavier than ideal and didn’t look as smooth or natural as he had 10 pounds lighter. He has looked better in his last two appearances, however, so there may be some reason to expect some improvement in the second half of the season.

Where do the Running Backs go from here?

I expect Pender to get more carries in the future and jump back ahead of Dalvin Cook there. I believe Karlos Williams will end up with less than the 200 carries that both Jason and I predicted preseason due to Pender and Cook earning more playing time with Karlos having trouble. A lot of that trouble can be laid at the feet of the offensive line, which has played far from what we thought they would be able to preseason. Returning four starters, with the fifth being a senior with multiple starts, the offensive line was supposed to be the strength of the offense. Instead, it’s been its biggest weakness. If the offensive line can get any where near what they were supposed to be this season, the running backs will have a much easier time getting close to our lofty predictions.

Jason: Without improvement in this area, I don’t see FSU winning out. Cook is still not quite at the level of the other two in the passing game, so I expect to see his carries reduced a bit as Williams and Pender get healthy again. I still can’t believe that FSU won’t find a way to get the running game kick started, though Louisville’s nasty front seven is probably not the best opponent for that to happen. Williams has looked much better to me the last two games and ran very hard against Notre Dame, so I’m projecting that he finds more success in the second half of the season. One thing FSU can do to make things easier in this area is to start better and play from ahead, which would allow them to pursue more balance. Nobody is going to run for much with eight carries from the top RB.

One interesting thing about this team is that as poorly as the offensive line has played in the running game in general, FSU is still the 6th most efficient short-yardage rushing team in the country and has had great success in power situations.

Wayne’s Final Predictions:

Karlos Williams: 150 carries, 780 yards, 14 touchdowns

Mario Pender: 125 carries, 800 yards, 10 touchdowns

Dalvin Cook: 100 carries, 600 yards, 6 touchdowns

Jason’s Final Prediction:

Karlos Williams: 175 carries, 1050 yards, 17 touchdowns

Mario Pender: 100 carries, 650 yards, 9 touchdowns

Dalvin Cook: 100 carries, 600 yards, 6 touchdowns




See what Florida State fans are saying here