Pregame: Florida State football set to open the season at home vs. No. 7 Notre Dame

Curt Weiler
Tallahassee Democrat

With kickoff less than two hours away, Florida State football season is nearly upon us.

The Seminoles open their 2021 season tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Doak Campbell Stadium against No. 7 Notre Dame.

FSU is looking to snap a two-game losing streak to the Fighting Irish. The program's last win in the series came in the last game played in Tallahassee when No. 2 FSU beat No. 5 Notre Dame 31-27 in 2014.

A win would start FSU well on its pursuit of its first winning season and second bowl appearance in the last four years.

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Here are some things to keep an eye on in the lead-up to the game getting underway.

Which quarterback is it anyway?

FSU head coach Mike Norvell has played his quarterback decision close to the chest.

He said the team would know before the game, but that no one else will find out whether it's Jordan Travis or McKenzie Milton until one of them takes the field with the offense once the game is underway.

Florida State head coach Mike Norvell shakes the hand of quarterback Jordan Travis after scoring a touchdown during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on November 7, 2020 in Tallahassee, Florida.

The FSU quarterbacks were the first players to take the field during the very early portion of warmups not yet in the full uniforms. When they did so, Milton was not among them. It was only Jordan Travis, Chubba Purdy and Tate Rodemaker.

However, when the quarterbacks took the field later in warmups in full pads, Milton was with them this time.

Depth chart clarity

FSU's depth chart is fairly clear entering the 2021 season.

The Seminoles have only seven sets of "or" co-starters on their Week 1 depth chart on offense/defense, well down from how many they had at the start of the last season.

A few of the battles that should be determined early in the game include the pecking order at running back, tailback and wide receiver, whether Travis Jay or Jarrian Jones starts at cornerback opposite Jarvis Brownlee Jr. and who emerges as the kick returners.

Some could be determined by watching pregame warmups and seeing who is actually working with the first-team units.

Any absences/players not dressed out?

Norvell has been quite happy speaking about the fact that FSU hadn't suffered any injuries during the preseason which he expected to keep players out of the season opener.

As the team has started coming out in full pads, a few players not dressed out have become clear. This list includes linebacker Emmett Rice, offensive lineman Thomas Shrader and defensive end Leonard Warner III. 

None of these are a surprise as they have missed the preseason while recovering from injuries.

Cornerback Jarrian Jones, who was limited until late in the preseason, was fully cleared earlier this week, Norvell said. He's dressed out and appears ready to play against Notre Dame with a cast on one of his arms.

Reach Curt Weiler at or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.

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