The Florida State defense has made it clear as blue sky that they are not afraid of Oregon quarterback and Heisman winner Marcus Mariota. It seems the Rose Bowl game against the No. 2 Ducks is just another day against another Heisman winner. Clearly, it’s not.
Seminole head coach Jimbo Fisher has been utilizing Florida State track star and scout team quarterback John Franklin III to get his defense prepared for the speed of Oregon and Mariota.
Franklin is an All-ACC member of the FSU track team, running the 4×100 relay, the 100-meter, and he posts a 6.82 second 60-meter dash. Florida State has used Franklin before, beefing up their reps with the speedy scout team quarterback in the practices leading up to last year’s national championship game against Auburn’s Nick Marshall.
FSU defensive end Jalen Ramsey couldn’t be more pleased with the job Franklin is doing. ”I think John’s probably the fastest quarterback in the country. Nobody can compare to him. He can do it on the track; he can bring it over to the field. He prepared us very well,” Ramsey said.
However, the elders at FSU know that Mariota is a different beast. Marshall and Franklin are no Mariota, not by a long shot.
Coach Fisher is slightly more realistic regarding Franklin’s ability to duplicate Mariota, the most efficient and dynamic quarterback in the nation with a regular season quarterback rating of 186.3, according to ESPN.com. ”That’s the Heisman Trophy winner,” Fisher said of Mariota. “That’s a different level, but it’s the best simulation you can get.”
Even Ramsey seems to vaguely acknowledge that Mariota has a special ability to extend plays. ”It’s gonna be just like [Franklin] had to do last year. He had to act like Nick Marshall at Auburn. I feel like it’s even more important this year because Mariota, he keeps a lot of plays alive with his feet, scrambling and everything,” Ramsey said.
Florida State hasn’t lost a game in two regular seasons, a high water mark for any aspiring football program. But they have done so in a tepid ACC. And never against a quarterback of Mariota’s caliber.
While Franklin may bring the speed to the FSU practice field, the Seminoles’ defense can’t fully prepare for the best player in the country: Oregon’s No. 8, Marcus Mariota.
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