- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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Florida State’s offense leads the nation in yards per play, and while Jameis Winston has gotten the bulk of the credit, the ground game led by junior tailback Devonta Freeman has been among the best in the country all season.
Freeman has set career highs in rushing yards (852), touchdowns (13) and yards from scrimmage (1,087) this season, despite averaging just 13 touches per game.
ESPN.com caught up with Freeman this week, as his Seminoles get set to take on Duke in the ACC championship game.
Q: Has it dawned on you yet that you might be just one game away from playing for a national title?
A: It’s scary. It hasn’t hit me yet, to be honest. It hasn’t even hit me yet that we’re No. 1. I don’t know if that’s natural or what, but it hasn’t hit me yet. It seems insane, but it’s kind of natural, too. We’re kind of used to the great success we’re having. Now that we’re No. 1, we know we’re supposed to be No. 1. I just feel like it hasn’t changed anything. Or maybe it hasn’t hit me yet. I don’t know which one it is.
Q: Florida State’s offense has a chance to have three receivers top 1,000 yards, and you’re on pace to reach that, too. Is that a source of pride?
A: I think that’s good, something to be accomplished here at Florida State. But I haven’t paid attention to it too much. But I think it’s a great thing if we accomplish that.
Q: Is it indicative of how everyone on the offense seems to get their share of touches?
A: Jimbo does a great job spreading the ball a lot. And we’re so hungry, we make plays. Any time we get the ball, we know we might not get it again until three series later, so we try to take advantage of the opportunities we get. We’re getting good YAC yards and things like that.
Q: You’re having a career year. James Wilder Jr. has been running well since returning from a concussion. Karlos Williams has had a full season to get used to playing tailback. Is this the best your position group has looked all season?
A: I think there’s still work out there. But I think as a unit, we’re getting better and better every day. I wouldn’t say we’re at our best, but I feel like we’re increasing.
Q: People don’t seem to be giving Duke much chance to win this game. Does it worry you when everyone is overlooking the team you’re about to play?
A: To me, those are the teams that are most dangerous. I remember in high school, I was in a similar situation. We were playing Miramar, and we weren’t worried about them. They shocked us. They beat us the game before state. So those are the teams you can’t take for granted. You have to prepare well for them, because they’ll bring their ‘A’ game.
Q: What stands out to you about Duke’s defense?
A: They’re going to be everywhere they need to be. They won’t have too many missed assignments. They have a lot of guys who do the right thing every time.
Q: Can teams like that be more of a challenge than ones that are very athletic, but not completely disciplined?
A: I think it’s going to challenge us to just be consistent. Be more consistent than them because we know they’ll be everywhere they’re supposed to be. And that will challenge us.