Florida State’s running backs are waiting in the wings, eagerly anticipating their chance to deliver a dominate performance.
Seminoles offensive coordinator Walt Bell said Tuesday morning circumstances prevented the run game from truly flourishing Saturday against No. 3 Notre Dame despite some progress.
“When you play from behind, you feel like you have to press to make a big play and get yourself back in the game,” he said. “That’s why there’s always been such a huge emphasis on the start. If we can start fast, you can play ahead, and now all of a sudden you get more chances to run the football.”
The Seminoles finished with 106 rushing yards against the Irish, eclipsing the 100-yard rushing mark for just the fourth time this season. Two of the other three performances were against nonconference opponents Samford and Northern Illinois.
The 106-yard gain was huge improvement from the 24 rushing yards FSU managed against NC State and -21 against Clemson.
Offensive lineman Alec Eberle said Tuesday the line is making progress, which in turn helped the run game see success. He added at this point, the Seminoles have a solid repertoire waiting to be put to use.
“Repetition [has helped]. Just practice. Taking advantage of what we’re good at,” he said. “The coaches have looked through all of our run plays this year and found what we were doing well and we started sticking to those more. Getting good at a couple things instead of a bunch of things and kind of just dumbing it down and taking advantage of what we have to bring.”
Running back Cam Akers said despite the constant lineup changes, the tailbacks and the offensive linemen have been able to develop some chemistry.
“We had a couple of guys banged up and a couple guys had to step in and step up at those positions,” he said. “Throughout the season, I think everyone who’s had to step up has progressed and I think they’ll continue to do that these next two games.”
Akers showed the good and the bad elements of the run game Saturday. He took a few direct snaps, eventually scoring a touchdown off the zone read. He also had a fumble, which brought back memories of FSU’s ball security struggles earlier this season.
Akers said “a number of different things” went into the fumble, but it’s something he expects to have rectified by the time FSU (4-6, 2-5 ACC) takes on No. 20 Boston College (7-3, 4-2) on Saturday.
Overall, he said the running backs are anxious for their opportunity to really shine.
“I know what we can do if we’re not coming from behind and we’re not putting ourselves in a hole,” he said. “I know what we can do in the run game. I’m eager to see that situation when we’re not coming from behind and we’re running the ball well.”
Until then, he said they’ll just keep their heads down and do their part to contribute.
“Just do whatever we’ve got to do at our position to help the team win,” he said. “Whether it’s blocking, catching, whatever it may be, we’ve got to do what we gotta do to at our position to help the team win.”