Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

More milestones, fewer licks on Deondre Francois' Year 2 wish list (w/ video)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As much as Florida State redshirt sophomore Deondre Francois loved Saturdays last fall, he hated what the next day brought.

The ice tub. The pounding at Miami that left him feeling like he got hit by a bus. The lumps that came from playing quarterback on an offense that allowed 36 sacks — tied for 17th-most in the country.

"I didn't like Sundays, man," Francois said during Thursday's ACC kickoff.

If FSU plans to live up to preseason College Football Playoff expectations, Francois and the rest of the Seminoles will have to make sure their performances on Saturdays lead to less pain the next day.

As deep as the ACC is — and every league official at The Westin Charlotte is celebrating it as the country's best conference — it's no longer loaded at quarterback. Of the six ACC quarterbacks who had higher passer ratings than Francois last year, only reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson returns. That means Francois' experience gives the 'Noles an edge over Clemson and the rest of the league … if he stays healthy and upright.

Francois called his debut season bumpy, for good reason. His completion percentage (58.8 percent) was tied for 66th nationally. In four games against top-30 pass defenses, he was 61-of-120 with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

ACC MEDIA DAYS: Heisman jinx? Louisville's Lamar Jackson isn't fazed.

But coach Jimbo Fisher has another word for it: "Tremendous."

Francois led all freshmen with 3,350 passing yards (258 per game). He was tied for 18th nationally in yards per attempt. His touchdown/interception ratio (20/7) was 32nd in the country, just below second-round pick DeShone Kizer.

More importantly for Fisher, Francois shined in some of FSU's biggest moments. His offense led the country in the red zone and ranked 33rd in third downs. Fisher credits him with five fourth-quarter winning drives — it's not Francois' fault that the late defensive collapse to North Carolina negated his gritty, go-ahead touchdown run with 23 seconds left.

"He was great in all those scenarios," Fisher said. "That's what I'm so proud of. That's very rare for a freshman to be able to accomplish."

ACC MEDIA DAYS: Derwin James: 'I do think I'm the best player in the country'.

And that's perhaps the biggest reason why the Seminoles will likely be picked to win the ACC when its media days wrap up today. If Francois was that poised and successful despite taking a beating in his first year as a starter, what can he do with an extra year of seasoning?

"Every game I feel like I learned a lot," Francois said. "There were so many things I thought about the game that I didn't know."

Like how to be patient. How to remain focused. How to take hit after hit and get back up each time.

FSU has plans to correct that last problem and avoid dipping into the shallow quarterback depth chart of redshirt junior J.J. Cosentino and early enrollee Bailey Hockman. The offensive line should improve with Landon Dickerson returning from an ACL injury. Even with the loss of star running back Dalvin Cook to the NFL, a deep, talented backfield should lessen Francois' burden. And Francois has spent the offseason on moving in the pocket and keeping his eyes downfield to avoid blows.

"I'm going to push our offense to the limit and see how far we can go," Francois said.

Hopefully for Francois, that means more fun on Saturdays and fewer trips to the ice tub on Sundays.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

More milestones, fewer licks on Deondre Francois' Year 2 wish list (w/ video) 07/13/17 [Last modified: Friday, July 14, 2017 1:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Jake Faria had his lucky rubber duck — OG, the original one he has had since high school — with him, and the Rays had nothing to worry about as he put his rocky Wednesday outing well behind him, working into the eighth while scattering seven hits.

  3. Rays journal: Rookie Jacob Faria continues to show veteran poise

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles threatened in the first inning and the second. They loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning with the top of the order up and seemed poised for a big inning. But those opportunities produced only one run because Rays rookie RHP Jacob Faria kept his composure and got the …

    Jacob Faria goes a career-high 71/3 innings, staying composed when the Orioles threaten.
  4. Rays vs. Orioles, 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    Sports

    Today: vs. Orioles

    12:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM

    Tickets: $15-$275; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within 5 hours of game time.

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Bruce Arena blends intense demands with humor to lead U.S. soccer

    Soccer

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Bruce Arena bites his fingernails religiously, a habit he has had since age 10.

    Among some other unmentionables.

    Bruce Arena