There’s been a lot of chatter about the “youth movement” that Florida State Seminoles football is seemingly going under.
Some of that is by choice, yes, but most of it by necessity, because FSU has the youngest college football roster in the country.
Per FSU Sports Info., freshmen and sophomores make up roughly 74 percent of FSU’s roster, the highest in the country. FSU’s 13 seniors are the 6th-fewest in FBS.
Here are some other stats, also courtesy of FSU Sports Info:
» This season, 19 Seminoles have made their first collegiate start, the most in the ACC and tied for the 4th-highest total nationally. Florida State started eight freshmen at North Carolina State, six on offense - including four on the offensive line - and two on defense. It was the first
» Florida State is the youngest team in the country, with 84 players that are freshmen or sophomores on the 114-man roster.
» The 73.7-percent underclass rate is the highest in the country. » Additionally, FSU has just 13 total seniors, the 6th-fewest in the nation.
» At NC State, Florida State started six freshmen on offense, including four on the offensive line - LT Darius Washington, LG Thomas Shrader, C Maurice Smith and RT Robert Scott Jr.
» FSU last started four freshmen offensive linemen in a game against Notre Dame in the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl.
It’s something that both head coach Mike Norvell and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham addressed yesterday during media availability — though both insisted the idea of a youth movement purely for the sake of it isn’t the course they’re currently taking.
“We’re trying to put the best guys on the field that help us win games,” Norvell said. “That’s been our focus. We’ve utilized Emmett Rice as an example of a fifth-year senior who’s continuing to grow, playing his best ball, getting better — it’s the same investment in him as the true freshman who’s running out there for his first career start.
“But as we’re growing as a team, it is, you want to see response. That’s how I judge that growth.”
“You don’t ever want to see anyone fail, we’re here trying to be the best that we can possibly be. We want to achieve success in all aspects, but it’s never going to be perfect. The only way for us to grow is to learn from the good and the bad, and we’ve seen both sides of it.
And obviously there are some growing pains when you’re dealing with players that don’t necessarily have that experience or they’re going through their first opportunities in certain situations, you just have to make sure that you do a great job as a coach addressing the moment, being able to paint the picture of the correction and then you have to be able to go apply it in practice.”
“Starting all the youth, it’s not a youth movement,” Dillingham said. “Those the best players we have in those positions. … We’re playing the best players on this football team to win. And right now those are the people that are the most productive. Now, their alignment, their assignment and their footwork, their grades are not always the best because that’s part of being young. But those are the best players we have on the roster. And we just got to continue to develop them, continue to get better. And when we improve their grades that we grade, you’re going to see a better football team.”
The Triple Option team addressed some of these storylines already in this week’s episode, but what do y’all think? What do you want to know? Jump in the comments.