This was not the type of season FSU’s second-year head coach Jimbo Fisher, center, had in mind after last year’s improved 10-4 record. Fisher’s Seminoles have not only lost three in a row — including a stunner to Wake Forest last weekend — but their two wins have come against a still-winless Charleston Southern team and a two-win Louisiana-Monroe program. Additionally, FSU still doesn’t have a 100-yard rusher this year in any game.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's dreams of climbing back among the college football elite will have to wait at least another year.
The Seminoles (2-3, 0-2 ACC) have dropped three straight games to fall from being ranked No. 5 nationally to out-of-sight, an unexpected free fall that prompted a team meeting that resulted in the players deciding to put away their social media accounts this week until at least the end of the season.
"Who would have thought back in August that this would happen to us?" junior quarterback EJ Manuel asked Monday. "But it has happened. You've got to fix it."
The Seminoles last lost three straight games in former coach Bobby Bowden's final season two years ago.
"There's disappointment, there's doubt, there's questions," second-year coach Jimbo Fisher said. "That goes with athletics."
And his team will have to get back on the winning track without starting tailback Chris Thompson and offensive tackle Andrew Datko, who faces shoulder surgery. Thompson is out for the year with two broken vertebrae suffered on his first carry in Saturday's 35-30 loss at Wake Forest.
"We've got things we've got to fix," Fisher said. "We need to play better football."
Florida State ranks 113th nationally in rushing, 116th in turnover margin and its once thought-to-be vaunted defense has surrendered 70 points the last two games. The Seminoles don't have a 100-yard rusher -- for the season. After five games, freshman James Wilder Jr. is the team's leading rusher with 86 yards.
Fisher's club hasn't won since Sept. 10 when it defeated lower-division Charleston Southern, which is winless this season and has a loss to a Division III team. Florida State's other win came in the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe (2-4).
Sunday's players-only meeting resulted in their decision to shut down all of their social media activity.
"We need to focus in and not be up at night worrying about Twitter and not be up at night worrying about Facebook and stuff like that," Manuel said. "It's just extra stuff we don't need right now."
Fisher, noting some of the harsh criticism aimed at players and coaches after Saturday's loss at Wake Forest, said he supported their decision.
"You find out they love you when you win and they're brutal when you lose," he said. "I don't think it's a good thing for college kids."
And while the Seminoles may be favored again for a third straight week when they visit an improved Duke team that has won three straight games, nothing is a sure thing for them anymore.
Some personnel changes are in store with Datko's injury and Thompson sidelined in addition to several youngsters moving past veterans on the depth chart, most notably freshman and former Westover star Rashad Greene, who is on a pace to become just the eighth Florida State player to reach 1,000 yards receiving in a season and is now listed as a starter on the tentative depth chart for Duke.
Fisher sounded confident that a turnaround was at hand. But whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen.
"You have to go through trials and tribulations to get there sometimes," he said. "It's not time to have a pity party. There's still a lot of things to play for."