Florida State has the No. 1 ranked rushing offense in the country according to the S&P rankings, and running back Dalvin Cook has been one of the top running backs in the country so far this season, running for 792 yards in just five games. Cook has run for 10-plus yards 21 times and 20-plus yards 12 times this season. One of the main reasons for Cook's success this season has been the downfield blocking by the Florida State wide receivers.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher has consistently praised the receiver's blocking, and that praise continued after the Miami game.
"That's where I think our receivers grew up the other night," Fisher said. "I was very proud of our downfield blocking, on our screen games, on our run game, all those type of things being physical. [Sophomore wide receiver] Ermon Lane stood out to me probably as skill blocker of the week. Probably Ermon Lane. I mean, he did a really nice job in the game. Those other guys were doing it; tight ends, backs. I've been pleased with Bobo getting much better. Bobo's strong. You think of him being -- Bobo in that weight room now, he's very compact, but he is a very, very strong guy. Really is."
Becoming a good blocker hasn't been easy for sophomore wide receiver Travis Rudolph, but he kept putting in the work because he wanted to play this season.
“It definitely didn’t come natural," Rudolph said. "I feel like last year I wasn’t good at blocking. But in the spring Coach Fisher kept calling us soft and honestly I don’t like him saying that. So I just felt like I did need to work on my blocking. I worked on it hard...That is what Coach Fisher always stresses, 'if you can’t block, you are not going to play for me.' So you definitely have got to block."
Coach Fisher knows how hard it is to block as a wide receiver. That's part of the reason he makes it such a priority in practice.
"Oh, that's hard," Fisher said. "Think about it. Linemen, they get two-way goes, the more space you get and the athletes you're blocking and you're thinking where the ball is going behind you, it's like driving -- would you drive the car like this, say where they at? I mean, it's almost like that. You're trying to get on it and then you've got to read the defender based on what he’s doing compared to where the ball -- I mean, that's hard. You get your hands on the ball and he separates, not to hold him, people do not understand how hard it is to block in space. I mean, it's extremely hard."
It's obvious that the receivers worked on their blocking quite a bit during the spring and summer, and it has certainly paid off for the team. Cook has nine touchdowns so far this season and leads the nation in average yards per touchdown run with an incredible 43.2 yards per carry. Not all of that is a by product of the receiver's blocking down field, but that number would be far lower if they hadn't made that extra effort.
The receivers will need to keep that going this Saturday as points, and yards, will be hard to come by on the Louisville defense.