ST. PETERSBURG — Alec Eberle experienced all the recent highs and lows of Florida State football.
He redshirted in 2014, when the defending national champions stretched their winning streak to 29 games before losing to Oregon in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
And he was literally at the center of the Seminoles’ recent struggles, anchoring a leaky offensive line that led to FSU’s 5-7 season and the end of its NCAA-record bowl streak.
So what happened?
“I think that a lot of guys just lost their drive,” Eberle said Monday at Tropicana Field after practicing for the East-West Shrine Game. “I think Florida State’s been based off of guys who are gritty, who want to really push themselves and really work. That 2015 team was full of guys who came in there willing to work and ready to go. They weren’t super high recruited guys. They were guys who wanted to go to work. I think a lot of guys kind of lost that mentality the last couple years, but they’re getting it back.”
The last part is key, because Eberle remains optimistic about the Seminoles’ future. He, like others in the program, heard from plenty of upset alumni as FSU suffered its first losing season since 1976, Bobby Bowden’s inaugural season.
But Eberle said he has lots of confidence in coach Willie Taggart, who “knows what he’s doing,” and the rest of the program.
“Florida State, we don’t lose. If we lose, we don’t lose by 30 points,” Eberle said. “I think this last year, this past season will be the last time that the Seminoles lose a game by that amount of deficit. If they’re going to lose a game, it’s going to be a lot closer than that. But at the same time, I don’t think they plan on losing any games. I think they plan on getting the standard back to where it was a couple years ago.”
I’ll update this story later today with more from Eberle, FSU’s only prospect in this week’s NFL showcase event.