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Five Thoughts on Florida State Following the Win Over Wake Forest

Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook

In what has become a theme over the past season and a half, Florida State beat an inferior opponent in a not-so-impressive manner. This time it was Wake Forest that the Noles defeated, surviving by a score of 24-16.

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With their in-state conference rival coming to Tallahassee next week, Jimbo Fisher and his staff would have liked to have seen a complete performance against the Demon Deacons. They also would have liked to come out of the game injury-free. Unfortunately for FSU, it got neither.

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Here are my thoughts on the Seminoles after their fourth win of the season.

1. Dalvin Cook Better Get Healthy

With apologies to Reggie Jackson for stealing his famous line, Cook is definitely the straw that stirs the Florida State drink.  First touch, 94 yards for a touchdown. But after Cook left the game, it was a different story. Jonathan Vickers had a couple nice runs, but the running game for the most part was bottled up by a pretty good Wake Forest defense. Cook is currently listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against Miami. Going forward, they need Cook back and at 100 percent because...

2. Where are the Offensive Playmakers?

Besides Cook, they seem to be lacking. Travis Rudolph, despite an early drop, had a nice game and is having a nice season. But at this point, FSU is looking for something a little more than nice. Jesus Wilson did have a 51-yard reception that could have been a score if quarterback Everett Golson had thrown it a bit further, but those have been few and far between. If the running game is stalled because of Cook’s absence, there need to be more big chunk plays in the passing game.

3. Again, Lack of Defensive Pressure

Fisher said in his halftime interview with ESPN that Wake Forest quarterback Kendall Hinton was too comfortable in the pocket. Indiana sacked Hinton six times last week and FSU only got him twice. The freshman also was very adept at running the spread option. So in both aspects of the game, Hinton was hardly uneasy. With the Hurricanes' Brad Kaaya up next week, the entire defensive unit must raise its level of play and the front must get make it harder on the quarterback.

4. The Other Injuries

Linebacker Terrance Smith and safety Nate Andrews were also injured in the first quarter of Saturday’s game. Neither injury appears to be too severe, but it was enough to keep them out of action for the rest of the game. Like Cook, their status for Saturday is uncertain. Despite the lack of a consistent pass rush, FSU has the nation’s No. 6 scoring defense. However, without Smith and Andrews, Wake Forest moved the ball better than expected. Getting Smith and Andrews back as soon as possible is important.

5. Eliminate the Mistakes

Both Rudolph and Wilson had a drop early, but it was the penalties that were most concerning. These were not a flurry of offsides and false start penalties either. Many were big defensive miscues that resulted in Wake Forest continuing drives. That is something that Fisher will want to clean up pronto.

— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.