Way-too-early look: Florida State Seminoles

Zach Lentz

With the football season less than 60 days from opening, today we take an early look at each of the Tigers' 12 opponents for the 2019 season starting with their Week 6 opponent, the Florida State Seminoles.

Head Coach: Willie Taggart enters Year 2 of his stint as the head coach of the Seminoles already on the hot-seat.

Year 1 of the Taggart experiment did not go as planned for the Seminoles, as they struggled to a 5-7 record and missed out on a bowl game for the first time in 35 years (1982-2017).

In Year 2, Taggart must find a way to correct the struggles of Year 1 if he wants to remain in Tallahassee for more than a couple of seasons.

Taggart has led remarkable turnarounds at each of his three previous head coaching positions. In the season prior to his hire, the programs Taggart inherited were a combined 7-29, and the best team he took over before arriving at FSU was a 4-8 Oregon squad. His overall record is 52-57, including a 30-19 mark since the start of the 2015 season. 

From 2015- 17, his offenses had the fourth-highest points-per-game average among FBS head coaches behind only Mike Gundy, Kliff Kingsbury and Urban Meyer.

FSU on offense: Former Baylor, Florida Atlantic and Houston offensive coordinator Kendall Briles will take over the Seminole offense that struggled for the majority of the 2018 season.

Briles, who will have primary play-calling duties, comes to FSU having served as an offensive coordinator at Baylor during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Florida Atlantic in 2017 and Houston in 2018. 

Briles coordinated one of the most explosive offenses in the nation in 2018. Under his direction, Houston averaged 43.9 points per game, ranking fifth in the nation, and 512.3 yards of total offense, the seventh-highest total in FBS. 

The Cougars were one of three teams to rank in the top-25 in passing and rushing offense, averaging 295.5 passing yards and 216.8 rushing yards per game to rank 16th and 24th, respectively. The offense scored at least 30 points in each of the first 12 games, including an NCAA-best 10 games of at least 40 points, and scored in 47 of 52 quarters in 2018. Houston opened the season with a program-record eight straight games of 40 points or more. 

FSU on defense: Harlon Barnett enters his second season as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach in 2019. 

 In 2018, he directed a Seminole defense that held opponents to only 3.52 yards per rush. The run defense held nine of 12 opponents under their season yards- per-carry average, kept three teams from reaching 100 yards on the ground and allowed only 16 rushing touchdowns, the fourth-lowest total in the conference. 

The Seminoles ranked defense, third-down defense and passes intercepted.

The early line: Last season, the Tigers dominated the Seminoles to the tune of a 59-10 beatdown in Tallahassee. While the Vegas prognosticators do not see the Seminoles being 49 points worse than the Tigers this season, they do not see the Seminoles posing much of a threat--as they are currently 25-point underdogs to the Tigers.

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