Florida State football: Variety of weapons opening up offense for Seminoles

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The Florida State football team has multiple options on offense this season.

That's why the Seminoles have already featured four different leading receivers in four games, as well as four 100-yard rushing performances.

Last season, the Seminoles did not have any receivers cross 100 yards in a single game, and the last receiver to reach 400 yards in a season was Tamorrion Terry (1,188 yards) in 2019.

Through four games, FSU's receiver group is graded as the best in the FBS by Pro Football Focus with a grade of 88.4. Ohio State is second with a grade of 85.4.

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In the opener against Duquesne, Kentron Poitier led the way with four receptions for 84 yards. Against LSU, it was senior receiver Ontaria Wilson with seven catches for 102 yards and two scores.

Against Louisville following the injury to quarterback Jordan Travis, it became the Johnny Wilson show when he finished with seven catches for 149 yards and two TDs. Against Boston College, it was Darion Williamson who stepped up with five catches for 98 yards.

For perspective, those receiving yards totals would have been four of FSU's seven highest marks in the past two seasons.

"I think the offense is built to showcase the talent of the guys we have," FSU head coach Mike Norvell said. "We have a lot of talented players. But ultimately defenses are going to have their plans of what they want to do.

"We pride ourselves on being able to create matchups, but also it's one of those things that our guys are battling. We have been able to create some opportunities just by the way they are playing. I like what we're doing and we'll continue to get better."

Ontaria Wilson's PFF receiving grade of 84.8 is eighth in the nation, while Johnny Wilson (84.1) is 12th.

Johnny Wilson leads the team with 13 catches for 272 yards, two touchdowns, while Ontaria Wilson has added 12 catches for 225 yards and two TDs.

Mycah Pittman, tight end Camren McDonald, Williamson and Poitier also have over 100 yards.

One or more of the receivers should break the 400-yard mark, but with the depth of the room, it's unlikely anyone crosses 1,000 yards.

"I think it’s just making the most of your opportunity," FSU offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Alex Atkins said. "No, it’s not by design. We’re not saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to try to scheme up and do something different. It’s just a little bit of all of it. But those guys, when their number has been called, they’ve been able to make the plays they need to be successful.

"But I’m proud of that group overall. I always make a point of that group pushes each other. The best thing I see is whoever is having the success, you see the whole group swarm and be happy for them and almost beat them up on the sideline. As long as that energy is up, it’s a good room."

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Winston Wright Jr. making progress

Even more help could be coming to the deep WR room. Wright was running routes and catching passes during a portion of Tuesday's practice.

He was involved in a car accident in March that left him with a significant leg injury. Last season, Wright led the Mountaineers with 688 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 63 catches, earning second-team All-Big 12 honors

Wright is still working to get back into game shape, but he could factor into a game very soon.

"He was involved in a catastrophic car accident and it was nothing he could control," Norvell said. "The challenges, the emotions, the things he's had to go through. Now it's about physical rehabilitation.

"He is getting better and better every day because he is willing himself to that. You see him out working individually. He's getting in better shape. You take whatever it's been six, seven months, of going back to walking and that process. Then continuing to build the explosiveness and strength.

"There's a lot of factors that go into it, but his spirit is special. Just seeing him on the sidelines, encouraging teammates and being there. He does the same thing at practice and that's what makes him special."

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Trey Benson leading running back room

Of the seven 100-yard rushing performances, three came from quarterback Jordan Travis last season.

This season, all four have come from the running backs, with three of them crossing the plateau against Duquesne.

Redshirt junior Treshaun Ward leads the backfield with 54 rushes for 350 yards and three touchdowns. The Oregon-transfer Benson has 37 runs for 268 yards and three scores and Lawrance Toafili has added 142 yards on 27 carries and also has three touchdowns.

"It starts with the run game," Norvell said. "When you can run the ball, that's going to help create the opportunities outside. I think we have a really nice balance and it's what we want to continue to do."

Benson has been the most explosive and elusive back. Of his 268 yards, 181 have come after contact. He has broken 32 tackles in his 37 rush attempts. Benson's 87.3 PFF rush grade is tied for ninth in FBS.

Only Texas' Bijan Robinson has forced more missed tackles (34) in 30 more attempts.

Ward has a 82.8 PFF grade, good for 32nd in the nation. He has forced 21 missed tackles on 54 attempts.

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Other PFF notes

Versatile offensive lineman Darius Washington switched to left tackle after starter Robert Scott Jr. (lower right leg) went down with an injury against Louisville earlier this month.

Washington did not miss a beat, allowing just one pressure on 61 snaps.

"Assignment-wise, Darius knows what to do," Atkins said. "He’s played a lot of tackle here, started for two years. He’s played both tackles. I thought he did solidly, took him a while to get back in it. I think he only gave up the one pressure on a rollout. One time he had an outside zone, he missed the out call.

"Other than that I thought he played solid, consistent. He looked like his old self. I was proud of him for being able to execute like he did."

Travis ranks No. 4 in PFF's passing QB grade (91.8) and fifth overall (92.2).

Jared Verse, who missed the second half against Louisville and Boston College game, is the 27th ranked defensive player with an 88.9 grade.

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Florida game sold out

Two months out, the Gators' visit to Doak Campbell is sold out, the university announced Tuesday morning.

Florida (2-2, 0-2 SEC) is coached by first-year coach Billy Napier and will be making its first trip to Tallahassee since 2018 on Black Friday.

The Gators have won three straight in the series and lead the head-to-head 37–26–2, including a 24-21 victory last season in Gainesville.


Who: FSU (4-0, 2-0 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (3-1, 0-1)

When/where: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.; Doak Campbell Stadium

TV/Radio: ABC/94.9 FM

Live game updates: www.Tallahassee.com; @CarterKarels on Twitter; @Ehsan_Kassim on Twitter; @JimHenryTALLY on Twitter; @jackgwilliams on Twitter

Reach Ehsan Kassim at ekassim@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Ehsan_Kassim. You can also follow our coverage on Facebook (NoleSports) and Instagram (tlhnolesports).

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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Seminole football: Variety of weapons opening up offense for Seminoles