Charles Krupa
September 28, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Most everyone around the Florida State program knew there would be growing pains with the offense. The learning curve, however, has been steeper than imagined.

Coach Jimbo Fisher hopes being off last week has helped

Fisher said he was encouraged what he saw from Everett Golson and the offense. Whether the offense will be more consistent is one of the major questions going into Saturday's game at Wake Forest.

The struggles on offense after losing seven starters, including overall No. 1 NFL draft pick quarterback Jameis Winston, is also a why there are questions nationally about Florida State (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). Despite not playing last Saturday, the Seminoles dropped a spot in the Top 25.

Fisher said during the week off he saw signs of progress by Golson.

After throwing for 302 yards and four touchdowns in the opener against Texas State, Golson has thrown for 282 yards and two touchdowns the past two against South Florida and Boston College. Fisher though wasn't about to put most of the blame on the shoulders of the graduate transfer.

''We've got to make good throws. But we've also got to run a route better, got to catch better,'' Fisher said on Monday. ''There's a block or two we've missed when he's had an opportunity to make a big play or two.''

The offensive line has struggled with pass protection the past two games. The sacks allowed number would be higher if it wasn't for Golson's elusiveness. With the passing game inconsistent, Dalvin Cook leads the ACC in rushing with 476 yards and is averaging 7.4 yards per carry.

Golson's status as the starter does not appear to be in jeopardy but Fisher said he was encouraged by the progress of Sean Maguire as the backup. When Golson was named the starter on Aug. 31, Fisher did say that he thought Maguire would be called upon at some point during the season.

The one thing Golson has made improvements on is taking care of the football, which led to him being benched at Notre Dame late last season. The Seminoles don't have a turnover in their first three games.

Despite winning the past three meetings against Wake by a combined score of 154-6, Fisher believes the Demon Deacons (2-2) will be a challenge defensively due to the number of different blitzes they bring. They are 11th in the nation in pass defense, allowing only 145 yards per game.

The only significant injury for the Seminoles is to backup running back Mario Pender, who remains hospitalized due to a collapsed lung suffered during practice last week, and has been ruled out. Fisher said that Pender could be released on Monday or Tuesday.

Jacques Patrick and Johnathan Vickers will get carries with Pender out. Pender, a junior, has struggled with injuries. He missed the 2012 season due to a groin injury and missed five games last year due to a concussion and ankle injury.

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