Florida State running back Dalvin Cook came into the season with the spotlight on him for the wrong reason, but after the first two games of the season, Cook is shining in another way. He has racked up an incredible 422 yards in the two games and, with his 266 yards against USF, rushed himself into the record books with the second best single game rushing mark in Florida State history. Last season Cook became the first freshman running back in Florida State history to run for over 1,000 yards in a season.
So what makes Cook so good? Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher listed a multitude of things that make him great.
"Vision, patience," Fisher said. "He's really fast, extremely fast, but a lot of fast guys run into the pile. He can still run with great tempo, and he has great eyes. I don't care what back you say they have great eyes. They see things before that happen and they get that feeling, how they cut, and then he's a finisher. I mean, he has great speed to finish those runs, and he's strong. You look at him now, I mean, you think those little guys are fast, but he's at 205, '10 pound guy that's really big and strong, too, so he's a combination of everything."
There are plenty of running backs with most of those attributes, but the one that really makes the difference between being a great running back and one of the best in college football is Cook's ability to finish runs.
"Well, I think heart, desire, and then pure ability," Fisher said. "I mean, some of those -- you know what's good about coaching running backs? You coach them and you've got to get those cuts, but him and God has had a meeting, and I mean that as far as ability. I mean, he is blessed with great ability. But he works with that ability. He doesn't waste that ability. He takes care of his body, takes care of his mind, he studies. He does all the things he's supposed to do."
With all the players that Florida State lost from the offense last season, Cook knew that he was going to get more carries. So this offseason he went out and prepared for that every day. Even while he was not with the team.
"I got my mind ready for it," Cook said. "I know we lost a lot. We lost our staring O line, Jameis, Rashad, Nick and those guys. I know I was one of the guys that returned on this offense and I know coach Fisher was probably going to give me the ball a little bit more this year. I just got my mind for it."
Those extra carries have come and, so far this season, Cook has accounted for 38-percent of the team's total offense through the two games this season. Coach Fisher says that despite the expectations and heavy workload he's not worried about his star running back.
"That's what good players do," Fisher said. "Wasn't one on Jameis, either. That's why we recruit well. He did today, but other times, you know, Rudolph had some big catches in the second half, and those other guys. Right now that's what good players do. When you need them, they step up and do that. But guys had to make blocks for him to do that, too, so it was great. That's why you get those great players."
Cook knows that the team is going to rely on him quite a bit this season, but he's ready to make the most of his opportunities to help the team.
"I just go out there and I know Coach Fisher was relying on me a lot and the running game a lot and I go out and give him everything I got every play," Cook said. "Plays are going to be made from the offense and that’s what were gonna rely on, big plays this year. When the opportunity comes we got to make it."
Florida State will continue to rely upon Cook throughout the year, and the Seminoles will only go as far as he is able to take them.