Running back Dalvin Cook receives most of the attention on Florida State’s offense, but Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois is dangerous as well.
The redshirt freshman has had an up-and-down year, but seems to be playing his best lately, having passed for an average of 308 yards over his past three games.
On the season, Francois is averaging 268 yards per game and has 10 touchdowns to three interceptions. He has also rushed for 133 yards and three scores.
“You can see his character, his toughness, his leadership. All of that comes through watching tape,” Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “He’s pretty special. He’s got an incredible future. He’s a big, strong guy that’s got a good pocket presence. He’s tough and physical for sure.”
Clemson sees some similarities between Francois and Heisman candidate Lamar Jackson. The FSU quarterback is not nearly as fast as Jackson but does use his legs to keep plays alive and will take what the defense gives him if there are running lanes.
“It’s tough because when you’re playing coverage you might have them locked down and then he’ll take off and get five or six yards,” Clemson linebacker Kendall Joseph said. “He looks really poised, and then his toughness. You watch the film and he’s taken a lot of big hits. He’s had a lot of pressure on him. He’s gotten banged up here and there but he always comes back in the game.”
PROGRESS BEING MADE
Clemson running back Tavien Feaster did not play against N.C. State despite Wayne Gallman going down with a concussion in the first quarter, but co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott believes Feaster made strides during the bye week and is close to earning more opportunities.
The highly touted running back has struggled at times with pass protection and knowing the playbook. Elliott said Feaster has to identify the defense and understand who is responsible for blocking who in the passing game for the first time in his football career.
“Coming out of high school he was a guy that you either handed the ball to or he ran a route,” Elliott said. “I’ve been very, very pleased with his progress. I’m pleased with where he is in pass protection, and I’m excited that he comes to work every single day.”
SAME OL’ FSU
The names and numbers change from time-to-time, but Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said every year when he turns on tape of Florida State the Seminoles look the same.
“They’re incredibly athletic. Speed all over the field, playmakers everywhere. ... It doesn’t matter what year it is, they always have great skill. They always have great receivers,” Swinney said.