For No. 12 Florida State, Saturday is as much about itself as it is about Boston College.
The Eagles are giving up 29 points per game this season (84th in the nation), have yet to win against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent and drew speculation midweek that they were firing coach Frank Spaziani after the school announced a Wednesday news conference that was ultimately held just to name a new athletic director.
Last weekend BC lost to Army. But despite the Eagles’ woes, it’s Florida State that is reeling.
“Losses, when it’s a disappointment, a lot of guys look to point fingers and people want to [keep] to themselves and lock themselves in a box and kind of feel like the world is falling,” FSU junior safety Lamarcus Joyner said.
Last Saturday, Florida State (5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) suffered a devastating upset loss, falling 17-16 at North Carolina State. The Seminoles dropped from third in the AP poll to 12th, and many have now written FSU off.
“[But] we still think the world of each other, and we know we’ve still got a lot going. So we have to keep that team unity and get together and overcome this as a unit,” Joyner said.
That will be vital for FSU. With an ACC title still within its grasp and an outside chance to get back in the national title hunt, the Seminoles must avoid the hangover that has plagued the program for the past decade.
“You can’t change what’s happened, what’s already in the books,” senior kicker Dustin Hopkins said. “[But we’re] not trying to have a multiple-loss season like we have in the past after one letdown.”
In order to make sure that doesn’t happen, FSU needs to get over last Saturday and play a polished game against an overmatched opponent in BC (1-4, 0-2 ACC).
“We did not execute as much as we wanted to [last week],” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We have to coach them a little better, and we have to play a little better on some things, and then we’ll be OK. It’s not anything that is a drastic measure.
“[Now] we’re moving on, and we’re looking forward to Boston College. There’s a lot of football left to play. [I’m] very proud of our kids, the way they’ve responded. We’ve got great leadership on this team.”
That leadership has been tested all week and will be tested again early Saturday — when Florida State cannot afford to come out flat.
After last week’s setback, team leaders hosted a cookout aimed at helping players get over the loss.
Meanwhile, players-only meetings and extra film sessions have been a theme this week as Florida State tries to regain its footing and have a strong second half of the season.
“We needed a long week to get over this loss and get back in the groove of things,” Joyner said. “We’re not in a rush for this Saturday, but when this Saturday comes we’re going to play some good football. You know, try to have a good bounce-back [game] for the rest of the season.”