Early Look: Seminoles look to replace Cook, regain ACC supremacy
|Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 9:38 AM- -|
The battle for ACC supremacy should once again be between Clemson and Florida St. Like Clemson, the Seminoles have to replace one of the best players in program history in running back Dalvin Cook.
Florida St. finished 10-3 last season, but overcame a 5-3 start (and a loss to Clemson at home) to win their last five games of the season. That included a thrilling win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl, and with quarterback Deondre Francois back at the helm of the offense, the Seminoles will likely be the favorite to win the conference.
However, they have to replace Cook, who averaged 6.5 yards per carry over his three-year career, with 687 career carries for 4,464 yards and an amazing 46 touchdowns during his time in Tallahassee.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher was asked about replacing Cook, and Fisher said replacing great players is a fact of life at a program like Florida St.
“Well, Dalvin is Dalvin just like Deion (Sanders) was Deion, just like (Terrell) Buckley was Buckley, just like Warrick Dunn was Warrick Dunn, Charlie Ward was Charlie Ward. You'll never replace those guys. Jameis Winston was Jameis Winston. You know, I mean, you go in the history -- I mean, KB (Kelvin Benjamin) was KB. I mean, you know, (Lamarcus) Joyner was Joyner.
“You never replace those guys, but you know, we also have other great players and things come from other areas. Sometimes they can come from the same areas. Not saying I think the guys we have at running back can be very productive, but Dalvin was a very special, unique guy and had his own talents. We have to let those guys grow and see and see where our team and our personality and those yards and scores come. They could come from the back or they could come from receivers, tight ends, throwing the ball. But hopefully, the same production will be there as an offense.”
Leading the way to replace Cook is true freshman Cam Akers, who had a tremendous spring.
“He's done what he's asked to do. But there's a lot of other guys in that mix,” Fisher said. “Jacques Patrick did a tremendous job, Ryann Green had a great spring, so we're counting on him very heavy, Amir Rasul, and then Cam had his times, too, along with Jonathan Vickers at fullback and Nabers. There was a lot of other scenarios in there. I mean, Cam came in, was very -- just went to work, never said anything, had good workouts, and still was productive, but so were some of the other guys. To say Cam is our guy is not necessarily -- we have a lot of guys in that group, and right now Jacques and those guys' experience are playing right there with him.”
The Seminoles get a big test to open the season, playing Alabama in Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 2nd.
“Our culture is to stay true to the process. We're not worried about results or our opponents,” Fisher said. “We have to worry about ourselves, control what we can control, and that's what we preach here every day. That's what we live here every day.
“And you know, we play in big games at Florida State all the time. We've had big openers. We've had non-openers, we've had big bowl games, National Championship games, Conference Championship games. You know, that's -- when you play at a program like Florida State, you can't worry about that. You worry about what you can control, which is yourself and the process, which you're going to prepare to play those games and those competitions.”
Fisher said the ‘Noles will lean on the experience of past openers, but that the program can’t get too caught up in the opponent.
“Yeah. Without a doubt. Because we had Ole Miss as an opener, we had Oklahoma State as an opener, we had Pitt as an opener. We've had major games to start off every year, and it's still one game,” he said. “Doesn't matter. And then we have to play ULM, then we have Miami right after that. I mean, this is much bigger than a one-game season. We have to get our team ready to play a tremendous opponent, a league opponent. They've been tops in college football here for a while and done a great job. Nick is one of the best coaches in all of ball if not the best. I mean, they have great players. I mean, it'll be a great competition, but at the same time, we have 11 games after that, and we're looking forward to the competition, but at the same time, we have a lot of work to do to get ready for it.”