Florida State will now start the post Jameis Winston era, and it comes with a bunch of other new faces on both sides of the ball. Here's a breakdown from Jason Staples on "5 Things to Know" about FSU heading into the Saturday's game.
1) Florida State will look very different on offense in 2015 after the departure of not only quarterback Jameis Winston but also four of five starters on the offensive line, the starting tailback (Karlos Williams), the school’s all-time leading wide receiver (Rashad Greene), and the top tight end in school history (Nick O’Leary). The offensive two-deep has only one senior—transfer quarterback Everett Golson, who has only been in the system a few weeks. With such an array of new faces, expect to see lots of inconsistency on the offensive side of the ball.
2) There is, however, no shortage of talent on an offense that will feature the run more than in recent, with the offense running through last season’s leading rusher Dalvin Cook along with Mario Pender, freshman big back Jacques Patrick, and of course Golson’s legs. The left side of the young offensive line is outstanding, led by sophomore Roderick Johnson and huge junior Kareem Are, so look for the Noles to go left (or set up a cutback to the left) in key situations.
3) FSU will be handling the wide receiver and tight end positions by committee at this point in the season, as there is lots of young talent, led by sophomore WRs Travis Rudolph, “Pigg” Harrison, and Ermon Lane; freshman WRs George Campbell and Auden Tate; and TEs Ryan Izzo and Mavin Saunders. Juniors Bobo Wilson and Kermit Whitfield (one of the fastest players in the nation who will be used more on jet sweeps and in the option game) are slated to play a bunch, but it’s a matter of time before the bigger and more talented youngsters start to cut into the upperclassmen’s reps.
4) The Seminole defense has also changed quite a bit. The Seminoles are a bit smaller and more athletic on the edge than they have been in recent years and will attack with more one-gap penetration than they have the last couple seasons. Four high draft picks are gone from last year’s group, but the best player remains: boundary corner Jalen Ramsey, who is projected as one of the top picks in the next NFL Draft. Texas State is unlikely to challenge Ramsey much, and FSU will roll coverage away from him to take advantage of his ability. Terrance Smith is an outstanding coverage linebacker, and sophomore Jacob Pugh, who will play the same role Dante Fowler, Jr. had under new Edge Coach Brad Lawing at Florida last season, is the guy to watch for pressure off the edge.
5) Defensively, the biggest concern for Florida State coming out of camp is their ability to stop the run—something sure to be tested by Texas State’s run-first spread option offense. FSU runs a base nickel defense and will spend large percentages of their defensive snaps in dime personnel, so their defensive line, which had some struggles in 2014, needs to be stout. Keep your eye on the defensive interior, which will be the primary early indicator of how this game will proceed. If FSU’s defensive tackles are unable to control the interior, this game could be significantly closer than expected.