TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State begins a short week of preparation needing to replace one of its offensive playmakers.
Unfortunately for the Seminoles, it’s a familiar theme.
Florida State will play at Boston College on Friday without running back Jacques Patrick, who will miss the rest of the season due to torn cartilage in his knee.
Coach Jimbo Fisher said during his Monday news conference that Patrick had an MRI on Sunday which revealed the tear. Patrick suffered the injury during Saturday’s 31-28 loss to Louisville .
Patrick is 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing, averaging 72.3 yards per game. The 6-foot-4, 234-pound junior was second on the team with 434 yards on 76 carries and a touchdown. He was also fourth on the team in receptions with 13 for 88 yards.
“He was doing a great job running with power and catching the ball. But he was also doing all the little nuances that kind of go unnoticed (blocking, chipping) but as a football coach you love,” Fisher said.
Patrick is the third offensive starter to suffer a season-ending injury, joining quarterback Deondre Francois (knee) and guard Landon Dickerson (ankle). Wide receiver Keith Gavin has also missed the last two weeks due to an ankle injury.
The injuries are a major reason why Florida State (2-4, 2-3 ACC) is off to its worst start since 2009 and in danger of not qualifying for a bowl game for the first time since 1982.
Cam Akers was splitting carries with Patrick but will move into the starting spot. The 5-foot-11, 213-pound freshman — who many recruiting services pegged as the nation’s top running back prospect in the Class of 2017 — is eighth in the ACC in rushing (75.7 yards per game) and has 87 carries for 494 yards and a touchdown. He also has gone over 100 yards in two of the past three games.
Fisher said that Akers has taken on a larger role than Dalvin Cook did as a freshman. Cook, who left school a year early to go to the NFL, had 1,008 yards as a freshman and four 100-yard games, but he didn’t start to factor into the offense until late in the 2014 season.
“Cam’s been forced into that role. He’s done a good job,” Fisher said. “Now he has to do all those little nuances that really make a difference in your offense. And that’s going to be another role that’s put upon him, he’ll have to do.”
Patrick’s injury puts additional pressure on quarterback James Blackman, who has had problems with turnovers the past three games. After not throwing an interception in his first 71 attempts, Blackman has six in his past 65. Blackman also had a fumble late in the fourth quarter that led to Louisville’s game-winning field goal.
Fisher said a big reason behind Blackman’s increased turnovers is that they have expanded the playbook and trying to stretch the field.
While Fisher was trying to look ahead to Friday’s game, he did say he did not regret getting in a verbal altercation with a fan after last Saturday’s loss.
Fisher told a fan who kept screaming that the program should hire coaches that he should “bring your (butt) down here and say that!”
“In the media, on social media, listen, guys, that goes with the territory. But to do that in our stadium, I don’t regret it one bit,” Fisher said. “I understand the fans’ passion. He was showing it in a different way that I didn’t think was appropriate at that particular time.”
With a tough remaining stretch, which includes games against Syracuse, Clemson and Florida, Fisher might be seeing a lot more frustration from fans. Boston College (4-4, 2-3 ACC) has won three of its last four, and has scored 40 or more points in its last two games.
Follow Joe Reedy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joereedy