Jacques Patrick spent the past two years observing and learning from Dalvin Cook at Florida State. With Cook leaving for the NFL, Patrick is looking to put those lessons to good use.

Patrick has shown during the first two weeks of preseason practices that he’s ready to take over as the Seminoles’ lead running back, despite two other highly-touted recruits pressing for playing time.

“I was behind Dalvin for two years, and I saw the blueprint that he laid out,” said Patrick, a 6-foot-3, 231-pound junior. “That standard and where the bar is set, you can’t go another way.”

Patrick made the most of extended playing time opportunities when he received them the past two years. He is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and has a pair of 100-yard games. In his lone collegiate start, which came against Syracuse in 2015 when Cook couldn’t play due to an ankle injury, Patrick rushed for 162 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns.

The Orlando native’s other 100-yard game came last season against South Florida (124 yards on 20 carries) when Florida State had 478 rushing yards in the 55-35 win.

Coach Jimbo Fisher also said that Patrick’s work ethic during the offseason has earned him the early spot as the starting back.

“He can catch, he can run, he has proven he can do it at a good level,” Fisher said. “He understands the urgency. He’s getting to be a junior.”

Sun Belt eyes New Year’s Day game

Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield understood the implication when Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson asserted that the league could have a team in New Year’s Day bowl game for the first time — and win it — as soon as this season.

While Benson didn’t name that team, Appalachian State, which

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