The Florida State Seminoles are two wins away from becoming bowl eligible, but, standing in their way are the hated Florida Gators, who will host the 62nd game in the rivalry series Saturday in Gainesville.
The Seminoles are facing a must-win Saturday if they hope to keep the nation’s longest bowl game streak of 35 straight alive, and while you might think that would’ve been a focus during tonight’s Jimbo Fisher Call-In Show from the Downtown Sheraton, it actually never came up once.
Instead, callers asked about things like how Fisher thought the running game would fare against Florida, the Gators’ star kicker being a weapon and whether Fisher has ever played against an interim head coach like he’ll face in Randy Shannon at Florida on Saturday.
HOW TO ATTACK THE UF RUN DEFENSE: The first question Fisher got about playing the Gators on Saturday came from a caller who wanted to know if he felt the Seminoles’ running backs would be able to run straight at the Gators’ defense. The caller said he felt like in the last few years, Florida State has tried to “run around” the Gators’ defense and that “hasn’t worked very well.” Fisher laughed and took slight issue with the comment, remarking that “Dalvin Cook had a pretty good day against them last year — what’d he run for 200 yards or something?” Cook actually rushed for 179 in that 31-13 win last year and 183 yards the year before in 2015. Fisher did say this about how he plans to attack the Florida run defense this year now that Cook is gone and the team has different personnel: “Florida is so athletic. You have to run directly at them. And make then respect that. They’re very fast and athletic. You can’t run around them.”
UF’S KICKER AND FACING RANDY SHANNON: The first caller almost every week on Fisher’s Call-In Show is a guy they call “Big Mike from Jacksonville.” Tonight, he didn’t have a question, but he did want to know if Fisher was aware of Florida’s dynamite kicker Eddie Pineiro, who leads the nation in field goal percentage and is second in average distance. Fisher said special teams would be very important in this game and the Seminoles will need to control field position, because if Florida gets inside the Seminoles’ 35 yard line, it’s almost a guaranteed 3 points as good as Pineiro is. He’s only missed one field goal all season and last week against UAB he was 5 for 5 with a long of 50 yards. A later caller asked if Fisher had ever faced an interim head coach in his eight years at Florida State and Fisher said it was a “good question,” but he doesn’t remember a situation where that happened.
FEEDING BLACKMAN OVER THANKSGIVING: The Seminoles’ plans are to practice Thursday and then have a team Thanksgiving dinner before loading up the buses and heading to Ocala to stay overnight and prepare for Saturday’s game. One caller asked what Fisher thought quarterback James Blackman’s future was with the program, and Fisher joked they planned to “feed him a whole lot at Thanksgiving” and - going forward - get him in the weight room a lot. Blackman’s lanky, underdeveloped frame - 6-foot-5, 169 pounds - has been a topic all season that Seminole fans have both worried and joked about.
CONFUSION OVER FLORIDA STATE’S P.A.T. RECORD: Fisher’s Call-In Show host Gene Deckeroff stated tonight that Ricky Aguayo broke the school record with 11 PATs against Delaware State, but Fisher quickly wondered aloud if that was correct. Fisher asked how many Aguayo’s older brother, Roberto, had in the 80-14 win against Idaho in 2013 and Deckeroff replied “not sure, but he didn’t have 11 - I think we had some field goals in that game or something.” You could see Fisher was perplexed by this as he worked the numbers in his head, then he added that he thought both brothers had 11 and shared the record. Well, we looked it up and Fisher was right: Roberto Aguayo also kicked 11 PATs in that game, along with a field goal, to reach a school-record 80 points.
For more updates from tonight’s show, scan down and read the comments below.