For FSU, the objective will not to be to get into trouble.
The goal will be to cause a little of the right kind of it.
FSU, which began its preseason camp on Wednesday, has been the most successful program in the country the last two seasons with a national title and a playoff appearance. The Seminoles have won 39 games the last three seasons, the most in the country.
However, at FSU, much of the talk all off-season has been about players getting into trouble. For the Seminoles to turn that conversation back to football is the first checkmark.
So far, coach Jimbo Fisher has suggested that his team is “soft” and “nowhere close” to being ready. He suggests it needs to grow up.
The things to watch for:
- Quarterback: The world seems to expect Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson to eventually win the quarterback job from the returning Sean McGuire, whose only start was a victory over the Clemson. Even if Golson does win the job, it may take a couple of those easy early-season wins for him to do it in. One thing is certain: The suspension of running back Dalvin Cook could end up applying more pressure to the quarterback.
- The offensive line: The Seminoles had an experienced line last season, but it wasn’t as dominant as you might think for a unit where four players had a combined start on their way to the NFL. The Seminoles could end up with a freshman and two junior college transfers in the lineup.
- The pass rush: FSU had only 17 sacks last season, which ranked 114th in the country. hat’s far too low for a program the stature of Florida State’s.
- Linebackers: At first glance, you might think this was a strength for the Seminoles with Terrance Smith and Reggie Northrup. But three players have left the program in recent months, leaving the Seminoles a bit thin.
- Running back. Cook is a fine player, and if he’s lost to discipline this season – and Fisher has emphasized that he has no tolerance for domestic violence – then it will sting. Can Jacques Patrick fill the void?
The thing to remember is that FSU will be favored most of the time it takes the field. But to be a real contender, it has maturing to do.