Florida State is beginning preparations for its week zero game against Duquesne next Saturday. However, it won’t be long until the Seminoles turn their focus towards a showdown with the LSU Tigers in New Orleans.
The matchup will be new head coach Brian Kelly’s first game with the team. Over the past few weeks, the Tigers have been progressing through training camp. The running attack has shown flashes during the preseason.
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However, it sounds like Kelly and his coaching staff are going to have some tough decisions to make. While addressing the media on Saturday, Kelly was non-commital about star running back John Emery being available for the season-opener against Florida State. Emery was forced to sit out the 2021 season due to an academic suspension.
“You guys know the situation with John Emery,” Kelly said according to The Advocate. “I really can’t get into the specifics of that because of the Buckley Amendment. He’s certainly a guy that’s going to be part of what we do this year.”
“There’s obviously, you know, things that I can’t talk about. He is in good standing in football,” Kelly continued. “Everything that he’s done, he’s done a great job with us in football. Everything that he’s done for us has been outstanding in football. Anything else that arises would not be anything that I can comment on because of privacy rights. So I think you guys can put the rest together.”
That doesn’t sound very positive, to say the least. The news comes on the heels of running back Kevontre Bradford leaving the team on August 5. The Tigers are potentially down to three scholarship running backs if Emery can’t suit up; junior Noah Cain, junior Josh Williams, and sophomore Armoni Goodwin. Cain and Goodwin project to play the biggest roles of the trio.
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Cain transferred to LSU this offseason after beginning his college career at Penn State. He appeared in 24 games, starting eight, with the Nittany Lions and set the program’s freshmen rushing touchdown record. Entering the 2022 season, Cain will be two years removed from a season-ending injury. Goodwin only recorded 16 carries as a true freshman but his role is set to grow this fall.
If Emery is unable to return for the beginning of the season, LSU will be without an experienced piece in the backfield. The Lousiana native has played in 19 games, starting three, during his four years with the Tigers. Emery has rushed 144 times for 566 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 8.3 yards per attempt in 2020-21.
Florida State allowed 144.6 rushing yards per game last season.
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