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Nolecast: Can Deondre Francois go from good to great?

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Deondre Francois was good as a redshirt freshman. Can he become great?

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Bud Elliott and Ingram Smith return with another episode of the Nolecast, the No. 1 FSU podcast.

The Nolecast is available on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Stitcher, Google Play Music, Soundcloud, Overcast, and many other fine podcast providers.

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Reviewing 2016

  • Stats: 235-400, 59%, 3350 yards, 8.4/attempt, 20/7 TD/INT ratio, 142 rating. Damn fine redshirt freshman season.
  • What we said in 2016: “Capability to make the big throw, but will also misfire on the simple throws more often than people like.”
  • How to square these two stats: 1) On third-and-4 or more, Francois had a passer rating of 155.5, 10 touchdowns, zero interceptions, and five scrambles for first downs, and 2) Standard down stat: Pass success rate on standard downs: 49% (45th), which is way too low with defenses focused on Dalvin Cook.
  • What we said in 2016: “A guy who trusts his arm, and will likely throw more picks than you want because he will try to fit balls in.”
  • What we said in 2016: “I think the best case we could see out of Francois this year would be the fourth best QB season Jimbo Fisher has had at FSU, behind the two Jameis years and 2009 Ponder.” In actuality, it was probably the 5th, behind those three and 2012 Manuel.

What he showed

  • Jimbo can coach him hard. Listens to what Fisher says, as opposed to how he says it.
  • Toughness, and does not show up his teammates when he gets hit, and he was hit a lot.
  • Not a super vocal leader.
  • Strong arm (when healthy, which he wasn’t always)
  • Quick release
  • Usually made the right decision, but being slow to make it hurt him because he would have to speed through his mechanics
  • Holds the ball way too long, so a decent number of sacks and hits were on him.
  • Accuracy is a problem (47% against ranked teams per CFBstats.com, and over a big sample of 125 throws)
  • At his worst in the biggest games (QB rating 93 v. Louisville, 121 v. Clemson, 107 v. Florida, 119 v. Michigan)

Questions

  • Can he become more accurate? If he does, will interceptions increase as a result of more throws being in the strike zone?
  • How much will FSU run Francois? Last year, removing sacks, he had 74 rushes for 485 yards. They need to to win, but if you believe it increases his injury risk, does it also increase the risk of a four-loss type season because of who you have as a backup?

Over/Unders and predictions

Bud and Ingram predict the following stats over or under:

  • Completion % v. Ranked teams: 55 (2016: 47%, 80th nationally)
  • QB Rating v. Winning teams: 140 (2016: 135, 30th nationally)
  • Over/under TD/INT ratio: 20/7 (this is what he had in 2016 as well)
  • The backups: What is Francois’ “Value over Replacement Player?” One win? Two wins? This is more of a discussion than a prediction.