Throughout the preseason, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher scheduled scrimmages for 11:30 a.m. so that his team would be used to the routine of preparing for Saturday’s game against South Florida.
When most students and fans are still sleeping after a Friday night of revelry, the 11th-ranked Seminoles and Bulls will have a morning kickoff.
Here are five things to watch when Florida State hosts South Florida:
HEAVY HEARTS: This will be the first game South Florida has played since the stabbing death of Elkino Watson, a defensive tackle who played for the Bulls from 2011-14. The team held a private on-campus memorial service Tuesday night for Watson and will wear gold stickers with No. 53 on them on their helmets. Taggart said the team has handled Watson’s death better than he thought they would.
BALANCING ACT: Florida State could follow the same game plan as last week, which is to establish the run early to give its young offensive line some confidence. Dalvin Cook had 156 yards in the opener, including 122 in the first half. Cook has four straight 100-yard games and is averaging 6.5 yards per carry.
BULLS’ MACK ATTACK: South Florida’s Marlon Mack led the American Athletic Conference in rushing as a true freshman last season. He had his sixth 100-yard game of his career last week with 131 yards on 23 carries.
CLEANING UP SPECIAL TEAMS: If there was one area where Florida State struggled last week, it was special teams. Roberto Aguayo had two kickoffs out of bounds and a fumble on a punt return set a Texas State touchdown. Jesus “Bobo” Wilson has taken over from Marquez White on punt returns.
LOTS OF FAMILIARITY: The rosters have a combined 161 players from Florida. Some of the players are used to facing each other from high school. Taggart sees that as an advantage since he doesn’t think players will be in awe of playing Florida State.