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Jimbo Fisher praises Jacques Patrick, deep running back group in opening presser

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The head coach had a lot of positives about the group and named a starter...for now.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Florida State
FSU running back Jacques Patrick
Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Jimbo Fisher’s opening press conference of fall camp on Tuesday was another step in the direction of the return of football.

The Florida State head coach had a lot of overwhelmingly optimistic things to say about his team, as he does around this time every year.

That being said, one particular position group stood out as the most frequent in Fisher’s praise. He had a lot of good things to say about FSU’s running back group, even going so far as to name a leader for the starting spot at this point.

Jacques Patrick is the starting back. He’s earned that right,” Fisher said. “Jacques looks great, body looks great, he can catch, he can run, he’s proven he can do it at a good level. I love everything about him.”

The praise of Patrick aside, Fisher still asserted that the starting spot is hardly wrapped up. Instead, he is maintaining his stance that the most prepared player will start.

“We have to find out which young [running backs] are gonna step up and prove that they can do it,” Fisher said. “If other guys deserve reps, they’ll get reps.”

“We don’t know yet. We’re just coming into the first practice.”

Those young candidates each have their own cases to make this fall to work their way into the rotation along with Patrick. The obvious challenger is five-star true freshman Cam Akers, one of the highest rated offensive recruits of the Jimbo Fisher era.

However, perhaps because he has not yet seen him in a practice setting, Fisher did not make mention of Akers in Tuesday’s press conference. Instead, he highlighted a different young talented backfield option.

“All [Amir Rasul] does is go 700 miles per hour,” Fisher said. “He can run, catch, learn, block, has good size, is very hard to tackle, very strong. He has a chance to be a really, really good football player.”

Tuesday’s press conference was a perfect example of exactly how strong FSU’s embarrassment of riches of running back options is heading into fall camp.

Early offensive line starters named

Like Patrick in the backfield, Fisher named a trio of pre-camp starters along the offensive line on Tuesday.

Fisher shared that Rick Leonard will begin camp at left tackle, replacing three-year starter Rod Johnson, while Brock Ruble will start at right tackle.

Additionally, Alec Eberle, who is back to 100% after dealing with some offseason hip issues, will start camp with the first team at center.

Fisher was quick to add that each of these three will have younger players breathing down their necks for their spot, creating the competition a coach wants to see during fall camp. Fisher listed off Jauan Williams and Josh Ball as current backups at the tackle spots and Baveon Johnson and Andrew Boselli will likely push for playing time on the interior.

As with the running backs, FIsher stated that none of these spots are locked in and he expects hearty competition throughout the offensive line and the team as a whole.

“Just because you played last year doesn’t mean you will play this year,” Fisher said. “