Florida State Football: 5 Keys for Seminoles Against Wake Forest

Ravi LullaAnalyst IDecember 28, 2016

Florida State Football: 5 Keys for Seminoles Against Wake Forest

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    The Florida State Seminoles need to get their season back on track when they travel to play the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday. In order to do that, they will have to accomplish these five keys to victory.

    Florida State has had some fairly fundamental flaws in their last two games which have led to a pair of losses. The Seminoles must fix those flaws if they hope to get a win against Wake Forest.

Get E.J. Manuel off to a Fast Start

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    Starting quarterback E.J. Manuel has been a full participant in practice this week and appears ready to play this weekend.  Assuming Manuel gets the start, he needs to get rolling quickly to help avoid a quarterback controversy.

    While Manuel was injured, back-up Clint Trickett started to make a name for himself.  After a solid showing at the end of the Oklahoma game, Trickett went out and threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns against Clemson.

    If E.J. Manuel gets off to a slow start or the Seminoles fall behind early, expect FSU fans to be clamoring for Clint Trickett to come to the rescue.

Run the Football

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    If you have read any of my recent articles on Florida State, I am going to sound like a broken record on this one, but it cannot be overstated how embarrassingly bad the Seminoles ground game has been.

    The 'Noles have rushed for less than 30 yards in each of their last two games.  Perhaps more disturbing than that (if anything could be more disturbing than that) is the fact that Florida State only attempted to run the ball 15 times against Clemson, compared to 38 pass plays.

    Listen, I understand that football is a passing game now and no one likes seeing teams air it out more than I do.  However, without some sort of offensive balance to keep defenses honest, Florida State is going to continue to struggle no matter how good their passing game is.

Regain Their Swagger on Defense

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    After putting the clamps on an explosive Oklahoma Sooners offense, Florida State's defense got torched against Clemson.  Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd had a huge game against the Seminoles D as he threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns.

    It would be completely understandable if this may have shaken the confidence of Florida State's defense.  There is more than enough talent on that side of the ball for the Seminoles to have a good and possibly even great defensive unit.

    If the 'Noles can find the swagger they had against Oklahoma, it will go a long way in helping Florida State turn around the two-game skid they're on.

Clean Up the Mental Mistakes

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    11 penalties for 124 yards.  Call me crazy, but that sounds like more than enough to make up for the five points that made up Florida State's losing margin to Clemson.

    I'm not about to blame the entire loss on penalties, but I certainly believe the mental mistakes which manifested themselves in those penalties were a huge factor in the Seminoles' loss.  Mental mistakes were also a significant issue in the loss to Oklahoma.

    Florida State is good enough that as long as they don't beat themselves there aren't a lot of teams that can beat them.  If the Seminoles clean up their mental errors they should be well on their way to beat Wake Forest.

Focus on the Task at Hand

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    With two losses in a row, it could be very easy for Florida State to lose track of the fact that it can still achieve some major things this season.  While a national championship is no longer in the picture, that isn't the only goal the 'Noles should have had for this season.

    In the climb back to national prominence, there are a few steps between the Chick-fil-A Bowl and a national title.  Florida State still needs to accomplish the feats of winning an ACC championship and returning to a BCS bowl.

    If the Seminoles do not focus on these things their season could quickly become a lost cause.