of talent coming back to Tallahassee, including the reigning Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston.
But with a new year comes new challenges. The Seminoles lost plenty of players to the NFL and open the season against Oklahoma State in Arlington, Texas. Jimbo Fisher needs to have his team ready to go early this year.
As I stated earlier, the Seminoles will have plenty of talent on the 2014 team, the only question will be can this team live up to what Florida State achieved last year?
Here are a few areas of question heading into Saturday's spring game:
1. Who Will Be Taking the Majority of Snaps at Running Back?
Last season the Seminoles had one of the most feared running back trios in the country, featuring Devonta Freeman, James Wilder Jr. and Karlos Williams. Williams will be the only one returning this season, but he will have plenty of competition this spring, as Ryan Green and Mario Pender are nipping at his heels to take that No. 1 spot for the fall. Not to mention 5-star prospect Dalvin Cook, who will be back in the summer after suffering a torn labrum.
But Florida State hasn’t had much luck keeping any of its running backs healthy. Williams suffered a concussion last Saturday and Green is also recovering from a labrum injury. There is a chance that the Seminoles will be without a scholarship running back for the spring game this Saturday, as Pender is also “dinged” up.
2. Can This Defensive Line Be as Good as it Was in 2013?
This unit lost Timmy Jernigan and Jacobbi McDaniel, but is expected to simply reload. Mario Edwards, Eddie Goldman and Chris Casher should keep striking fear into opposing offensive coordinators around the country.
There are also some talented newcomers in Derrick Nnadi, Demarcus Christmas and Lorenzo Featherston. I think this unit was what made Florida State so difficult to handle in 2013. If Fisher wants to do damage in the new playoff system, this defensive line needs to be scary again this season.
3. Which Linebackers Will Step Up?
The linebacker unit lost former starters Christian Jones and Telvin Smith, who were both important pieces to last year’s defense. Plus, there isn’t a lot of experience at linebacker this season. Guys like Terrance Smith, Reggie Northrup, E.J. Levenberry and Ukeme Eligwe will be asked to fill roles.
Florida State has had tremendous success in recruiting linebackers in recent years, so there is plenty of talent at the position. Also: Keep an eye on redshirt freshman Matthew Thomas. Thomas was a highly-regarded recruit and could make some noise this season.