To begin the season, Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher always had the same response: star running back Dalvin Cook’s health was just fine. However, it didn’t look that way to anyone with eyes, as Cook failed to rush for more than 100 yards in any of the Seminoles’ first three games, which came against Ole Miss, Charleston Southern, and Louisville.
Still, Cook was reportedly alright, per Fisher, despite Showtime’s A Season With Florida State Football series showing the former receiving shoulder treatment during an episode. Yes, players routinely get such work done throughout any season, if only as a means of preventative maintenance.
But something changed. Notably, Cook’s output, which equated to triple-digit rushing yards in eight of the last nine games to finish out the 2016 regular season. So, what was the problem? One would think, especially given FSU breaking in redshirt-freshman quarterback Deondre Francois, that Cook’s workload would have been particularly high early on, but the opposite was the case.
Cook toted the rock just 11 and 16 times against CSU and UL, respectively, his lowest two totals of the season. And thanks to an interview Fisher did with ESPN Radio’s Jeff Cameron, we may now know why.
During that discussion, Fisher cited several key injuries in explaining the Seminoles’ early woes that saw the preseason top-five ‘Noles start 3-2. And Cook’s name came up. Said Fisher: “People don’t realize how beat up we were in the first half of the season. With the schedule we played. Losing Derwin, losing Josh Sweat, Derrick Nnadi’s out, Christmas is banged up, Dalvin— I mean, remember Dalvin hadn’t gotten in his groove yet, he was still trying to get into it.”
There’s certainly no argument that, early on, Dalvin had not gotten his groove back, as he routinely looked to be favoring that same shoulder that was the target of treatment on Showtime. Maybe that’s why Jacques Patrick got 20 carries against USF, twice as many as he’s gotten against any other team in 2016. But if Cook was healthy, why did Fisher mention him along with a bunch of other guys alluded to as being hurt?