FSU RB Devonta Freeman could be one of the most underrated running backs in the nation. (September 22, 2013)
1. Devonta Freeman is one of the nation’s most underrated running backs.
It is difficult to define exactly what makes Freeman so good. The junior running back, at 5-foot-9, 203 pounds, certainly does not pass the eye test when compared to fellow running backs James Wilder Jr. (6-2, 229) and Karlos Williams (6-1, 223).
Despite not having prototypical size or blazing speed, Freeman just finds a way to produce.
Freeman ran for 112 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries against B-CU. While he hasn’t ran the ball more than 10 times in a game this season, Freeman – averaging 91 yards per game – is on pace to become FSU’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Warrick Dunn in the mid-1990s.
With excellent quickness, vision and power, Freeman dissected Bethune-Cookman’s undersized defense early in the game to set the tone for FSU. It seemed like, with solid blocking up front, that he could get whatever he wanted versus the Wildcats.
You have to wonder what his numbers would be like if he wasn’t splitting carries with Wilder and Williams, but Freeman has no problem sharing and the committee approach has worked for FSU thus far.
2. FSU must improve its open-field tackling.
This was evident from the game’s onset, when Bethune-Cookman marched into FSU territory on the opening drive. The Seminoles struggled bringing down ball carriers in open space, something FSU coach Jimbo Fisher addressed after the game.
B-CU dual-threat quarterback Quentin Williams was able to weave his way through the Seminoles’ D before a sack and then a poorly thrown ball resulted in a Telvin Smith pick-six to get FSU back on track.
The Wildcats run the closest thing to a true spread offense that FSU has seen this season. ACC teams like Clemson and Maryland (although Maryland uses a variety of formations) will try to create mismatches with wide spacing and will have much more explosive athletes than B-CU.
FSU must do a better job bringing down offensive players when they get away from the line of scrimmage or else some ACC teams could get into shootouts with the Seminoles.
3. Freshman LB Matthew Thomas is ready for an increased role
Thomas has slowly been integrated into FSU’s defensive rotation, but he showed Saturday that he can be a regular contributor.
At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Thomas has the frame and natural athleticism to be a pure pass rusher off the edge in 3-4 and 5-2 fronts. He displayed that Saturday, registering a sack and two TFL, and he was close on a few others.
While Thomas learns the nuances of the defense and adapts to a higher level of play, he should be able to contribute by simply wreaking havoc as an outside blitzer.