Week 4 Opponent Preview – Florida State Seminoles

What a difference a couple of weeks makes.  Ok, maybe just one week, but the Tigers corrected a lot of mistakes last week versus Florida Atlantic.  Even though the opponent was not at the same level, Clemson did what they had to do early in the game and turned last week’s game into a laugher.  

Week 4 is here and the match-up that most have been looking forward to since last year when the Tigers survived a comeback bid by the Florida State Seminoles en route to another ACC Championship run.  

Here is a look at everything you will need to know about the Tiger’s Week 4 Opponent:

Florida State University Seminoles

Location: Tallahassee, Florida

2023 Record – 3-0; Last Week: Win @ Boston College; 31-29

2022 Record: 10-3 overall; 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference

Head Coach: Mike Norvell – 1st Season – (Previous: HC – Memphis 2016-19)

Coach Norvell is in his 4th season as the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles.  After years of mediocrity, and borderline laughable teams, Norvell has brought a toughness to a team that would otherwise pack it in when losing games.  This was evident a season ago when down big to Clemson, FSU mounted a furious comeback and Clemson needed an onside kick recovery in order to secure the victory.  Norvell’s teams have played hard throughout his tenure in Tallahassee, and that is something extremely admirable about the head coach.  Norvell’s previous stops include Head Coach at Memphis University, and before that Arizona State, Pitt, Tulsa and Central Arkansas.  


Offensive Coordinator: Alex Atkins – 2nd Year as OC; 4th year on staff (Previous: Charlotte OC)

Alex Atkins inherits an offense, led by their dynamic playmaking quarterback Jordan Travis, in his 12th year* as starter for the Seminoles.  Atkins likes to get his playmakers the ball.  Travis gets the ball out quickly and has athletes all over the field.  There will be a ton of screens, some mis-direction runs, lots of motions and formation changes as well as quarterback designed runs as well.  

This will be, by far, the best offense Clemson will face to date.  FSU is averaging 47.3 points per game with 189.7 yards per game rushing and 273 through the air.  

*Travis has only been at Florida State for 5 years, and 39 games as a starter.

Here is a look at the projected starters for the Florida State University Seminoles, aka Transfer U, as well as some early season, 2023 statistics:

QuarterbackJordan TravisRS Senior#1354-84 729 yards, 8 TDs, 1 Int17 rush, 98 yds, TD
Running BackTrey BensonRS Junior#33 catches, 28 yds35 rush, 202 yds, 4 TDs
Running BackLawrance ToafiliRS Junior#97 catches, 64 yds17 rush, 85 yds
Wide ReceiverDestyn HillFreshman#71 catch, 18 yds
Wide ReceiverWinston Wright, Jr. RS Senior#14 catches, 36 yds
Wide ReceiverKeon Coleman (Michigan State)Jr.#412 catches, 170 yds, 4 TDs1 rush 2 yds
Tight EndKyle Morlock (Shorter)RS Junior#843 catches, 39 yds
Tight EndJaheim Bell (South Carolina)RS Junior#67 catches, 125 yds, 2 TDs1 rush, 4 yds
Left TackleRobert Scott or Bless Harris (both tackle positions)RS Junior or RS Senior#53 or #76
Left GuardCasey Roddick (Colorado)RS Senior#70
CenterMaurice Smith or Darius Washington (C or RG)RS Junior or RS Junior#53 or #76
Right GuardD’Mitri EmmanuelRS Senior#71
Right TackleJeremiah ByersRS Junior#63


Defensive Coordinator: Adam Fuller – 4th Season (Previous: Memphis DC)

Adam Fuller enters his 4th season with the Seminoles after working with Norvell at Memphis, taking over in Tallahassee.  Fuller has been at Marshall, Chattanooga, and Richmond among many places across 25 years.  He has a ton of talent on his side of the ball, and even convinced some sure-fire NFL draftees to come back for another season to help this defense.  Although not rated very highly across the metrics through the early part of the year, this defense is loaded with talent.  And it all starts up front for the Noles. 

The defense has given up an average of 22.0 points in their first three outings of 2023.  They have given up 123.0 yards per game on the ground and 268.3 yards through the air.  The Noles are +1 with the turnover margin through week three, having thrown 1 interception and picking off 3 balls, as well as caused a fumble and have lost 2 fumbles in the three games so far.  

Here is a look at the projected starters for the Seminoles on defense along with some stats from the early season:

Defensive EndJared VerseRS Junior#57 tackles, 2 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Defensive TackleBraden Fiske (Western Michigan)RS Senior#556 tackles
Defensive TackleFabien Lovett or  Joshua FarmerRS Senior or RS Sophomore#0 or #443 tackles / 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
LinebackerKalen DeLoachRS Senior#410 tackles; 4 TFLs, 2.5 sacks
LinebackerDJ LundyRS Junior#109 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1.5 sacks; 1 Int.
LinebackerTatum BethuneRS Senior#1517 tackles, 1 TFL
NicklebackJarrian Jones or Greedy VanceRS Senior or RS Junior#7 or #219 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Int. / 8 tackles, 1 TFL
CornerbackFentrell Cypress (UVA) RS Junior#238 tackles, 0.5 TFL
BuckShyheim BrownRS Sophomore#385 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
SafetyAkeem Dent or Kevin KnowlesRS Senior or Junior#1 or #36 tackles / 6 tackles
CornerbackRenardo GreenRS Senior#89 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sack, 1 Int

Special Teams 

Here is a list of the specialists for the Seminoles along with statistics from the first three games:

KickerRyan FitzgeraldRS Junior#883-3; long of 35 yds
PunterAlex MastromannoRS Junior#298 punts, 46.1 avg., long of 53 yds
Punt ReturnerKeon ColemanJunior#45 att. 17 yds; 3.4 yds avg., long of 19 yds.
Kick ReturnerWinston Wright Jr. RS Senior#13 att. 74 yds; 24.7 yd avg. long of 31 yds


Florida State received a lot of media attention in the off-season and backed it up with an impressive win against LSU in their season opener in Orlando.  They have also beaten Southern Miss and survived a scare from Boston College a week ago.  This Florida State team has garnered this much attention because 9 of 11 starters on offense have come to Tallahassee by way of the transfer portal; whether it be this year or last.  5 of the 11 starters on defense are also portal additions to the Noles.  

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but FSU’s resurgence has been built in 2…years.  This is a formidable foe for the Tigers.  So much so that Clemson is an underdog at home for the first time in a long time   

This will be a huge test, and one that Clemson would be fortunate to win.  However, the Tigers offense has been starting to click, and the defense has been stout.  As Dabo Swinney so often says, if the Tigers can play complementary football, they’ll have as good a chance as any to beat the Seminoles in Death Valley.  

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