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Monday Mailbag: Tate Rodemaker, kicking woes, and Boston College

Grittiness, guts, a plate of crow, and plenty of bandaids.

The Seminoles enter week 4 still undefeated and on the cusp of a top-25 berth following a win at Louisville. Head coach Mike Norvell and Florida State are off to their best start since 2015. Trailing in a hostile environment on Friday night, the team showed plenty of guts and grittiness to pull out a victory over the Cardinals.

READ MORE: Recruits react to Florida State's comeback win over Louisville

Up next on the docket are the Boston College Eagles, who have struggled early in 2022. The Eagles are off to a 1-2 start and are averaging less than 50 rushing yards per game. A injury-plagued offensive line hasn't been enough to get the combination of quarterback Phil Jurkovec, running back Pat Garwo, and wide receiver Zay Flowers going. The Seminoles will be looking to rebound after an up and down performance on defense against Louisville.

Norvell stuck to the vest when providing injury updates during Monday's press conference. There's no telling at this point if quarterback Jordan Travis, defensive end Jared Verse, and other players who were injured on Friday will be back this weekend. It'll make for an interesting week of practice.

Let's reach into the mailbag and eat some crow on the performance of Tate Rodemaker on this fine Monday.

Thoughts on Mike Norvell picking Tate Rodemaker over AJ Duffy? - @kylereisman_

It doesn't really surprise me that Norvell went with a player who has been in his system for three years rather than one who just started learning it in January. Particularly, when you consider the situation the team was in when Tate Rodemaker had to enter the game; trailing on the road in a hostile environment.

The move didn't look like it would work out early on. Credit to Rodemaker and the coaching staff for going back to the board at half time and tailoring a game plan that fit his strengths over the final 30 minutes.

Were you expecting Rodemaker to be that good? - @brxzzyrai

No. Not at all. If you've read previous articles or listened to our podcast, Hear The Spear, I haven't been very high on Rodemaker in the past. He's displayed glimpes in practice but has never been able to carry that progress into a game.

In six career appearances prior to the contest against Louisville, the redshirt sophomore was a combined 20/37 passing for 152 yards and four interceptions with zero touchdowns. Rodemaker promptly entered the game and began 1/3 passing for -6 yards and an interception.

Something clicked in the second half and Rodemaker finished 5/7 for 115 yards and two touchdowns in the final two quarters to secure the comeback.

Hopefully, this will help Rodemaker turn a corner in his development and give him the confidence to step into the starting role if necessary. I'm ready to eat a plate of crow if it happens. I already spat out a few feathers on Friday night.

Why do you feel that Florida State struggles so much with athletic quarterbacks? - @chadkidwell

For one, they're just tougher to gameplan for, especially the true play-makers who can make defenders miss. Plus, teams don't tackle to the ground in practice that often anymore. The rules have limited contact and that means most defenses are trying to get in a groove early in the year. 

It's easier to scheme mismatches with the spread offenses in this day and age. A lot of the struggles in defending Jayden Daniels and Malik Cunningham came from miscues in pass-coverage that opened lanes for them to run.

The defense tried to prepare itself with Travis Jay as scout team quarterback but they'll need to continue to improve in all facets moving forward.

Thoughts on #10 Arkansas (down big to Missouri State Saturday) and #16 Ole Miss (hasn't played anyone at all) being ranked while we remain unranked? - Joshua Brice

I don't put much stock in it. Florida State hasn't gotten much respect nationally over the past few years while the program has struggled. Though the Seminoles are off to a 3-0 start, it seems like pundits want to see more proof before the team garners a top-25 ranking.

The coaches poll and receiving votes section of the top-25 both have FSU inside the top-30. If the 'Noles can add another win against Boston College, they'll finally leap back into the polls for the first time since 2018.

Can our secondary take a step towards getting better or is this their ceiling? If it is our ceiling how do we defend against Wake? - William Lyles

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The back end of the defense isn't playing even close to its ceiling. It's one of the deeper areas of the team but there are some questions about the reserve cornerbacks.

Jammie Robinson and Akeem Dent have been solid but a little less consistent than expected. Sophomore cornerbacks, Kevin Knowles and Omarion Cooper, have both had some struggles. Cooper might not be 100% healthy right now after missing the season-opener and only playing four snaps against Louisville.

Redshirt junior Renardo Green has probably been the top player in the defensive backfield. The rest of the cornerbacks will need to step up. Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said Monday that true freshmen, Azareye'h Thomas and Sam McCall, will get a shot in the rotation at some point this season.

Do you think Norvell plans on making a switch at Kicker? - @TLuke_96

Nope. Norvell said on Monday during his press conference that redshirt sophomore Ryan Fitzgerald is "our kicker." Later in the media availability, special teams coordinator/defensive ends coach, John Papuchis, spoke about how they're trying to build up Fitzgerald's confidence.

The Georgia native has missed three of his last four kicks. He's 3/6 with a long of 25 yards through three games. Fitzgerald is 13/13 on his extra-point attempts.

Do you think Tate Rodemaker could be a premier quarterback once Jordan Travis leaves? - @co_co_3000

I think that we need to have some patience with the young quarterback. Prior to Friday, not many people outside of Rodemaker and the coaching staff had faith that he would ever make significant contributions at Florida State. Go look at the reaction on social media when Rodemaker entered the game and after he threw the pick. It wasn't pretty, to say the least.

After only struggling in game action so far, it was pretty inspiring to watch Rodemaker lead the Seminoles to an improbable win. It just inspires even more confidence in what Norvell is building for the backups to be able to step in and perform when a starter goes down on the big stage.

Be happy with what Rodemaker achieved against Louisville. Hopefully that moment will provide a jolt of confidence after proving he can have success under the lights.

Can Florida State keep momentum going further into conference play? - @even.jonathan

Why not? Boston College and Georgia Tech have struggled. Miami didn't inspire a ton of confidence with its performance at Texas A&M while the jury is out on whether Syracuse is for real or not.

Florida State's season will be decided when the team hosts Wake Forest, travels to North Carolina State, and returns home to face Clemson during a three-week stretch after Boston College. None of the the three teams have looked unbeatable but the Seminoles will certainly have to be at their best. Some of that will depend on the health of the team.

Can Tate Rodemaker beat Boston College to give Travis an extra week to heal up? - @juicy_jordan

I've been very vocal about the fact that I don't think Boston College is very good. The Eagles have an average to above average defense but their offense has been abysmal. BC is averaging 48 rushing yards per game, that number drops down to 16.5 rushing yards per game against FBS opponents.

Starting running back Pat Garwo is averaging 2.9 yards per carry on 41 attempts. The Eagles top running back is averaging 4.0 yards per carry, he's rushed eight times. 

Jurkovec is only completing 59.4% of his passes. He went 38/69 (55.1%) for 418 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions while being sacked nine combined times in losses to Rutgers and Virginia Tech.

READ MORE: Florida State knocks out Louisville, advances to 3-0 for first time since 2015

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