Thursday, July 3, 2014 7:16 AM
ACC lookahead: Florida St.
by David Hood
Senior Writer

Clemson’s first Atlantic Coast Conference opponent this season is a familiar one.

Following a road date at Georgia in the season opener, a home contest against S.C. State and an off week, the Tigers renew acquaintances with ACC favorite and defending national champion Florida St. in Tallahassee in late September.

The Seminoles have lost 18 players to the NFL Draft over the last two seasons, but the ‘Noles are still loaded and head coach Jimbo Fisher said after the spring that he feels like his team has depth across the board, especially with seven returning starters on both offense and defense.

“I think we developed it definitely in the offensive line. Felt very comfortable with our running back situation,” Fisher said. “Our quarterbacks, our young guys really developed. Like I say, a lot of the receivers are getting a lot of reps, defensive line we're developing behind. The young linebackers were really fun to watch in the secondary. I feel like we've developed it (depth) kind of across the board. You never have as much as you need because you never know when the rainy day is coming, but from our depth perception right now, where we're at, it's as good as it's probably been since we've been here.”

The unquestioned leader of the offense is Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston, but Fisher thinks he has options if something happens to Winston.

“Well, I think Sean (Maguire) did a good job of grasping our offense, namely being able to execute it and things that he does well on the field,” Fisher said. “I thought he played well in the spring game. I think John Franklin Jr. is a very athletic guy who's got to continue his knowledge and growth in our offense but has the ability to make all the throws and is dynamite with his feet, just ran 10.7 -- he runs track for us and just ran 10.7 electronic 100 meters, so he can create plays with his feet in different situations. Those two guys are really developing. We feel comfortable with them, and then we'll have J.J. Cosentino coming in that we're really excited about.”

Fisher said that with talent across the board, the biggest issue his team faces this season is staying hungry enough to make another run at a title.

“I think just the ability to have hunger again and understand that they have to have the chip on their shoulder and they have to stay aggressive and keep refining the things we did well and continue to do them and gradually tweak the things that we didn't do well. And I think that's been the key,” Fisher said. “To me it's all about we have worked, we have talent, we will adjust and we may be a different team in several ways because our players may be different. But I think the critical thing which I've been very pleased with is their attitude and work ethic, especially second half of spring, how they came together and got that chip back on their shoulder.”

8-30-14 Oklahoma State @Arlington, TX
9-20-14 CLEMSON
9-27-14 at North Carolina State
10-11-14 at Syracuse
10-18-14 NOTRE DAME
10-30-14 at Louisville (Thur.)
11-8-14 VIRGINIA
11-15-14 at Miami FL
11-29-14 FLORIDA

David Hood can be reached at davidhood@tigernet.com