Alabama Football: The six keys to the Tide beating FSU

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Quarterback Jalen Hurts
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Quarterback Jalen Hurts /
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Alabama football will face FSU quarterback, Deondre Francois
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – DECEMBER 30: Deondre Francois (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Getting to Deondre Francois

Noles fans may disagree but we see FSU’s 2017 success contingent upon a strong defense and the arm of Deondre Francois. Gone is Seminole all-time great running back Dalvin Cook. At times in 2016, Cook put the FSU offense on his back and rushed to victory.

Francois is a dual-purpose quarterback. He gained more than 500 yards rushing last season. He also surrendered over 300 of those yards being sacked. When not being sacked or scrambling in desperation he was very good throwing the football. Francois passed for almost 3400 yards and 20 touchdowns.

The FSU backfield is not bare in 2017. Junior Jacques Patrick can ground out some tough yards. Two 5-Star freshmen, Cam Akers and Khalan Laborn may become great players. Jimbo will not ask too much of the freshmen against a youngish and somewhat inexperienced Alabama front seven that is also deep, massively talented and hungry to chew up some ballcarriers.

Most of FSU’s offense must come through the air. If the Tide can get pressure on Francois with four rushers, the Noles will be in big trouble. The offensive line is a weak link for FSU but even so, getting pressure with four is not guaranteed for Alabama.