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Monday Mailbag: UMass, decommitments, and Jordan Travis

Say goodbye to the first half of 2021 as Florida State looks towards its final six games.

Entering this week, there's one thing I know for sure. Monday's feel a lot better with football to look forward to on Saturday. Florida State kicks off the second half of its season this weekend against Massachusetts. By all accounts, the Seminoles should handle the Minutemen in this one but we've heard that before. 

Coming out of a BYE week, it'll be important for FSU to continue building on the momentum it established with victories over Syracuse and North Carolina. The team is as confident as it has been all year and beating up on UMass would be a welcome sight with a date in Death Valley against Clemson looming on the schedule. 

READ MORE: IMG OL decommits from Florida State

This team doesn't have the luxury of looking ahead. Every single one of these final six games matters as Florida State fights for bowl eligibility. I'm interested to see the mentality of the players on Saturday. Are they still hungry or will there be some satisfaction after winning two straight prior to this matchup?

Let's reach into a packed mailbag to start the week. 

How devastating is it that Aliou Bah has abandoned our Tribe22? - Elprofetrol Zucked

Three-star offensive lineman Aliou Bah decommitted from Florida State on Saturday evening. Honestly, if it didn't faze me, I doubt the coaching staff didn't have a feeling this was coming. There has been talk dating back to the summer that Bah would eventually back off of his pledge.

While it's not ideal, the Seminoles do have Jaylen Early, Daughtry Richardson, Qae'Shon Sapp, Kanaya Charlton, and Antavious Woody still committed on the offensive line. Woody is trending towards Auburn but the other four are locked in right now. 

As long as FSU can close out the cycle with one or two more additions to the group, it's not a huge loss. Bah wasn't expected to contribute early in his career.

On the recruiting trail. Who is FSU recruiting hard? What linemen? - @jared_waldrip

Sticking with offensive linemen specifically, the top target on the board is Julian Armella. Head coach Mike Norvell was on the sidelines at his high school game over the weekend and Florida State is pushing hard. Armella is a legacy recruit and LSU could be fading due to the ouster of Ed Orgeron. His only official has been to the Tigers so look for the 'Noles to get him to Tallahassee before the season is over.

Elsewhere, it's a little bit of an unknown. Florida State offered Matthew McCoy earlier this month and Jacarrius Peak has received some attention from the staff. I wouldn't be surprised if they kick the tires on Emery Jones. The Seminoles were the runner-up to LSU in that recruitment. 

How do you feel about the chances with Julian Armella now with Bah decommitting? - @marvswaflehouse

I don't think they change much due to Bah's decision. Florida State was always going to pursue Armella no matter what. The main thing that has me feeling better about the Seminoles' chances to land the four-star offensive lineman are the changes going on in Baton Rouge.

With Florida and Miami falling this weekend, how do you adjust our chances of winning against them? - @carleton_mike

Definitely feeling better than I did earlier in the year. Miami has been a sinking ship and a loss to Florida State could be the final nail in the coffin for Manny Diaz. It's possible that the Seminoles could return the favor Diaz delivered in 2019 with a blowout loss that ended Willie Taggart's tenure in Tallahassee.

As for Florida, the Gators have a conundrum at quarterback and multiple holes on defense. It will be a raucous environment in Gainesville but there is certainly a shot. 

With Clemson nearly losing to Syracuse, do we pull this dub off in two weeks? - Jake Dipaula

It's tough. On one hand, Clemson's offense has been horrendous and DJ Uiagalelei hasn't blossomed as expected during his first year as starting quarterback. On the other hand, this game is in Death Valley, a building where the Tigers have won a school-record 31 straight. 

READ MORE: WATCH: No. 1 prospect discusses commitment to Florida State on ESPN

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The key will be for Florida State's offense to put some points on the board against an elite Clemson defense. The Tigers haven't allowed more than 27 points all season. It's too early for me to put a prediction on it but I'm leaning towards a close loss, which would've been good enough for many fans at the start of 2021. 

Do you see +/- 18 passes per game moving forward? - @gummy_being_gummy

Great question. The strength of this team is clearly the running attack behind Jashaun Corbin, Treshaun Ward, and Jordan Travis. When the ball is moving on the ground, Florida State can put drives together and have success on offense, as we saw in the win over North Carolina. In the victory, the Seminoles ran the ball 41 times to just 13 passes.

Moving forward, I think they'll continue to lean heavily on the ground game. If Florida State can get out to early leads and keep games within reach, they'll be able to use that approach consistently. I'll take the under and guess 15-20 passing attempts per game depending on the scoreboard and situation.

Are we flipping any LSU commits? - @bossmobsnackz

I expect Florida State and the entire country to try to poach some of LSU's current commitments. Here are five guys I identified as potential targets.

Seems like judging by the rest of the season, I actually think we can win or lose each game after watching all teams we play. Having said that, the UMass line I believe is like 37. Really? - Michael Carpenter

It's definitely an eye-opener but UMass is honestly that bad. Remember, this is a program that beat UConn two weeks ago for its first win of the season and the fans stormed the field. The Minutemen have been held to single digits in three of six games.

A focused and prepared Florida State team should blow them off the field. 

Can Jordan Travis be the answer at quarterback beyond the 2021 season? - @tavis.r

Jordan Travis has clearly taken a few steps forward in his passing game and he looks like he's starting to feel more comfortable each week. He was terrific in the wins over Syracuse and North Carolina, using his arm and legs to drive Florida State to victory. That needs to continue moving forward. I believe he could hold the job again in 2022.

That said, anything beyond that would kind of be an indictment on Chubba Purdy and AJ Duffy. 

Will Jashaun Corbin leave for the NFL after this year? - @brayden__daly3

Anything is possible. Corbin is four years removed from high school and he's in the midst of an outstanding redshirt sophomore season. The Florida native is among the top running backs in the country, averaging 7.4 years per carry.

READ MORE: Florida State opens as second-largest favorite in week 8

We all know that the shelf life for backs is short in this day and age. It may be unpopular but Corbin should go get paid while he can depending on his draft grade. 

Chances of FSU winning out? - @anthonynash264

Extremely unlikely. The second half of the schedule was always the harder half with road trips to Clemson, Boston College, and Florida. The Seminoles will get UMass, Miami and NC State, who has been tougher than expected, at home. 

It's hard to expect a team who just won its first road game in two years to suddenly win four straight away from home. I think the best possible finish would be 4-2. Beat UMass, Miami, Boston College and one of NC State/Florida/Clemson. That gets you to bowl season.

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