TAMPA —Like Seminoles coach Willie Taggart, Florida State’s players remain optimistic that last year’s 5-7 season was more of an aberration than a sign of things to come.
“Playing with the guys I’m playing with now, I know we can get it back to where it was once before,” linebacker DeCalon Brooks said during the Seminole Boosters’ local stop Sunday. “I’m very confident in that.”
Brooks, a Gaither High alumnus and the son of FSU and Bucs legend Derrick Brooks, didn’t point to any schematic or personnel changes for his confidence. It’s more of an intangible shift in work ethic that makes Brooks think FSU won’t be in for another disappointing year.
“Everybody knows the standard,” Brooks said. “We’re holding each other accountable to that standard. That’s what really gives me confidence.”
FSU’s offense is in for bigger changes, starting at offensive coordinator. Walt Bell is now the head coach at UMass, which allowed FSU to make the high-profile (and controversial) hire of Kendal Briles.
“His track record speaks for itself,” said tight end Tre’ McKitty, a Wesley Chapel native. “He scores a lot of points, and he’s confident in that. I’m confident in that, as well.”
FSU’s quarterback situation has changed, too.
Last year’s starter, Deondre Francois, was dismissed in February and is reportedly walking on at Florida Atlantic. James Blackman is FSU’s likely starter, but Wisconsin grad transfer Alex Hornibrook will be a factor, too, even if it’s providing immediate depth to a position that needs it.
“I like him a lot,” McKitty said. “He’s going to help this team, as well…just because he’s had a history of winning. I think he just brings a lot to the table.”