Deondre Francois Could Be the Answer If He Can Receive Help

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 03: Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) drops back to pass in the rain during the game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Virginia Tech Hokies on September 03, 2018, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois fell victim to Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison last season in the teams season opener. His ACL was torn with 4:28 left to play in the 4th quarter of a 24-7 football game, and his season was over. The Seminole program struggled through 2017 with James Blackmon at quarterback, a lanky 6’5″ 165 pound basketball player who was destroyed by the porous Seminole offensive line.

Francois had an incredible freshman season in 2016. He appeared primed to make a run as a Heisman contender in 2017. Fate had other plans for Francois as he lost his chance to contend.

Now he has returned. Francois has come back to a program that had the same problems that led to his injury a season ago. A porous offensive line that cannot hold back an onslaught at the quarterback.

Monday Night, Florida State hosted their rivals Virginia Tech to open the season. What was expected to be a close, conference rivalry game ended up being an ugly showing from an offense that tried to mask the issues it has up front.

Deondre Francois could be the answer if he can receive help

The statline

Francois had almost no time throughout the entire game. The pass rush was fiercesome, he was knocked around all game, and the offense was lackluster. Willie Taggart (How do people say this name without thinking Blazing Saddles?) was suppose to bring a gulf coast offense to utilize Francois’ abilities. Instead, game one limited Francois ability as the Hokie defense swarmed the perimeter with their secondary. They forced Florida State to turn to a more vertical passing game, and that allowed the pass rush to become very active.

Francois went 22 of 35 on his attempts, a 63% completion percentage despite some horrid drops (including a touchdown that would have made the game 10-7 in the 2nd quarter). He threw for 233 yards and 3 interceptions.

The pressure forced every interception. Francois was left to fend for himself and try to make something happen. He would throw up a prayer and the Hokies defense capitalized on it.

Any positives to take from this performance?

While Francois did struggle mightily, he did make some pretty wow throws. In the first quarter, he threaded the needle through four defenders and his his man for a first down on third and long. He delivered a beautiful touchdown throw that was dropped in the end zone. He flashed the ability to pick apart a defense with good decision making from the pocket. His accuracy and ball placement is on point when he is given time.

However, that’s part of being a quarterback. Not every quarterback has the luxury of time. The most important position on the field needs to make the biggest plays under pressure.

At the same time, when Francois delivered, his teammates let him down. If Francois can get some help from his teammates, Florida State could be really good. But for now, we need to see this offense be a more cohesive unit before Florida State is really a threat again.

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