Freeman isn't shy when it comes to talking about the chip on his shoulder associated with the Hurricanes.
A Miami, Fla. native, FSU's leading rusher plays with a little bit of an extra edge in this series because the Hurricanes didn't recruit him as heavily as the Seminoles did when he was a prep star.
In two career games against Miami, Freeman has led the 'Noles in rushing yardage in each game and has a combined 146 yards and two touchdowns.
"He is a team guy," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He'll do whatever you ask him. `You want me to block, coach? You want me to catch the ball? You want me to go stand out there at wide out?' He'll do whatever he does and he's just a tremendous football player and more importantly he's tremendous teammate and competitor. He understands the importance of being a great teammate that way and he affects the guys on his team. I could go on and on about him but whatever you want him to do and however you want him to do it he says, `yes sir' and goes 100 miles per hour."
Florida State has faced some capable tailbacks so far in 2013 but none with the skill-set of Johnson.
The speedy sophomore is Miami's best player and possesses the ability to run between the tackles, break games open to the outside or change the scoreboard on special teams.
Johnson enters Saturday's primetime showdown as the ACC's leader in all-purpose yards (182.9 per game) and is second in the league in rushing yards (117.6 yards per game).
"What doesn't he do well?" Fisher said. "We'd have a shorter conversation. The thing about him is that he makes big plays. He's dynamic. He gets in space. He changes numbers on the scoreboard. He makes you miss. The thing about him is he's very durable. He's strong. He's got great balance and body control.
"[He] catches the ball out of the backfield and he blocks. That guy is a competitor and a complete football player. He really is. He is one heck of a football player."
His statistics don't jump off the page, but Jernigan is having a stellar junior season for the Seminoles. Charged with eating up blocks, the Lake City, Fla. native is a focal point of each opposing offense and is more often than not double-teamed on each snap.
Against the Hurricanes, Jernigan's play will be critical in stopping the run as he matches up against a good 'Canes line.
As the noseguard in Jeremy Pruitt's defensive scheme, Jernigan's ability to occupy more than one man helps free up FSU's linebackers and pass rushers to make plays in the backfield and take down runners that get past the line of scrimmage.
Jernigan is a true impact player and those types of players always seem to step up on the biggest of stages.
A reserve defensive end as a true freshman a sason ago, McCord has become a consistent force at linebacker for the 'Canes in year two.
McCord hasn't started in 2013 but that hasn't stopped him from producing a team-best three sacks.
Against the Seminoles, the Tampa, Fla. native will be key in the Hurricane's quest to slow down Jameis Winston. McCord will likely be asked to keep contain on Winston and prevent him from escaping the pocket and making throws on the run -- something the redshirt freshman signal caller has done very well so far this season.
McCord is also tied for a team-high with two interceptions.
The 'Noles are playing Miami but Saturday's game centers around Duke -- as in star 'Canes tailback Duke Johnson.
It's no secret that Johnson is Miami's best player, and he's become even more important since deep threat wide receiver Phillip Dorsett went down with an injury against North Carolina. In Johnson, the Hurricanes have a capable 'back that can move the chains and break open games. The Hurricanes also have a talented backup in Dallas Crawford that can spell Johnson when needed.
"You're always getting a fresh guy," Fisher said. "You're always getting fresh legs. He's a big, strong and fast guy. The game that Duke (Johnson) got hurt, he came in and had 100-and-some yards. (He) played extremely well. (They're) two very capable backs."
For FSU, the key to slowing down the Hurricanes' running game is to be physical, intense at the point of attack and, above all else, do not miss tackles.
"You've got to be able to shed blockers and use your hands," Fisher said. "They're very good on the offensive line. Duke [Johnson] is a great runner and they're very multiple on how they do some things. They do a great job. We're going to have to be physical. We're going to have to give different looks and different combinations of things so they don't know what we're trying to block all the time but they're a very experienced line and a very well-coached group up front so, it's going to be a hard one to handle.
"We'll have to man up, there's no doubt."
2. What will Winston do in this "new enviroment"?
Winston gets his first taste of FSU-Miami Saturday.
Saturday's showdown is the latest chapter in the storyline of Winston's rookie campaign.
First the talk centered around the challenge of debuting on the road at Pittsburgh. Then it was the challenge of playing in the atmosphere of Death Valley against No. 3 Clemson. Most recently it was the challenge of playing a lesser opponent on the heels of a monster win.
Now the Winston storyline has shifted to the challenge of playing in his biggest home game to date. No matter what the environment has been, though, FSU's young super star has treated each game with the same focus and preparation -- and that is the case once again with Miami coming to town.
"I'm looking forward to it just like the Clemson game," Winston said this week. "This game is going to be more intense because it's an in-state rivalry. We are just going to do what we do every week. We are going to prepare the same. Obviously, we are going to have a little bit more in the inside, us being at home and not wanting to lose, and playing against Miami."
3. Can FSU's secondary keep taking the football away?
Jalen Ramsey and the FSU secondary has been lights out of late.
While the defensive line and linebackers will be charged with slowing down Miami's rushing attack, FSU's secondary will face off against 'Canes quarterback Stephen Morris and talented wide receivers Allen Hurns and Stacy Coley, among others.
If recent history is any guide, Morris is going to have his hands full.
The Florida State secondary has emerged as one of the nation's best in recent weeks at shutting down opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers and generating turnovers. In each of the last two games, an FSU defensive back has forced a turnover on the game's first possession (Lamarcus Joyner forced fumble against Clemson and Terrence Brooks intercepted a pass against NC State) that has quickly given the Seminoles momentum and put the team's potent offense on a short field.
Morris has struggled recently, too, as the senior quarterback has thrown eight interceptions this season.
4. What impact does the return of James Coley have?
James Coley surprised a lot of folks this past off-season when he decided to step out of Fisher's shadow at FSU and accept the offensive coordinator position at Miami.
A protege of Fisher's at both FSU and LSU when the 'Noles coach was offensive coordinator for the Tigers, Coley learned everything he knows about offensive gameplans from his former boss. That dynamic makes for interesting theatre and an interesting game of chess come Saturday night.
Will Coley's knowledge of Fisher's offense help the Hurricanes' defense during Miami's FSU preparations? Will he be able to give his fellow assistant coaches some tips during the game if he picks up on certain FSU tendancies? And will Coley's own offense be familiar to the Seminoles' defense because they are used to facing it every day at practice?
"He's added to what they've done and they're very well-coached all the way around the board -- offensive line, receivers, running backs and Coley has done a great job," Fisher said. "I always said that Coley is a great offensive mind. I think he's a very good coach and a great recruiter and he's got a great future in this business."
Fisher has said this week that the Seminoles will change some of their offenisve signals so that they are not familiar to Coley.