In order to succeed without Francois, FSU should follow Florida's blueprint

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Florida State's opening-week defeat to Alabama certainly hurts the Seminoles, but it pales in comparison to the loss of Deondre Francois that was confirmed on Sunday for the No. 3 team in the country.

The knee injury suffered by the star quarterback late in the contest is bad enough to keep him out for the remainder of the season, with surgery needed on his patella tendon.

Related: Florida State's Francois out for season with patella tendon injury

With star running back Dalvin Cook now in the NFL, Francois was expected to lead the offense as one of the top returning quarterbacks in the country. It's now freshman James Blackman's chance to shine as he looks to be getting the start next weekend against Louisiana-Monroe.

Blackman impressed coaches with a big arm in training camp, and may very well have the talent to step in and keep the Seminoles afloat, but there's a better way to keep Florida State competitive than relying on the young pivot.

As blasphemous as it may sound, Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles should look down the highway to hated rival Florida for proof they can still win a boatload of games this year.

While many Seminole fans will laugh at that prospect thanks to Florida State's dominant wins over the Gators the past few years, Florida has won two consecutive SEC East titles.

Florida's offense has been downright dreadful under Jim McElwain, ranking 107th and 99th the past two seasons, and has been unwatchable for large stretches of time.

How is it possible that a team ranked that bad in offense still won division titles? The defense was absolutely nails all season. The Gators ranked eighth and 10th in the country, respectively, and won more than its fair share of games for the program.

Led by the great Derwin James, Florida State's defense is sure to be one of the top units in the country, and the Seminoles should be in every single game thanks to their excellence. If the offense can manage to avoid turnovers and convert just a couple first downs when needed, the brilliant defense should carry the load.

It might not be as pretty as watching Francois spin 50-yard spirals down the field, but Florida State can still be successful this season by following the Florida blueprint.

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