Practice Report: Noles Preparing to Stop the Run
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A sweltering Tuesday practice at the Al Dunlap Practice Fields saw Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff going over the nuances of The Citadel’s unorthodox offense. While many of the current Seminoles have played against the unique triple option that is used by relatively few teams across the country (most recently in the 2012 ACC Championship Game against Georgia Tech), the words ‘gap control’ and ‘discipline’ were emphasized by Fisher in terms of defending it.
Although The Citadel fell in its season opener to Coastal Carolina last week, 31-16, its run-heavy attack gashed the Chanticleers for 358 yards on the ground. One overzealous play by a Seminole defender could result in a long run by the Bulldogs, a point Fisher made in practice by harping on staying in their defensive lanes.
“All football and defense is gap control,” Fisher said. “Everyone has responsibilities. The thing is you have your gap, but you can’t go jumping out of it and be greedy and want to make a play. You have to stay in there and then learn to play within the scheme and go. I’m not criticizing him, it’s just natural instincts.”
For a Florida State defensive line filled with guys trying to make the big play and earn their way atop the depth chart, the temptation will have to subside against The Citadel and their rushing approach.
“When it’s there, it’s there,” Fisher added when discussing his defense’s opportunity to make a play. “When it’s not in your gap, it ain’t there. It’s called discipline. People say ‘Well you don’t rush the passer and get a pass rush,’ so you rush up-field and give running lanes for a running quarterback. When you match routes down the field, man to man like we do in coverage and get all those interceptions, when you break out the quarterback runs for 30 yards. You have to understand what coverages you’re in, how you rush, other times you’re in spot zone you can go rush the quarterback.”
Greene, Edwards Capture ACC Player of the Week Honors
Senior wide receiver Rashad Greene and junior defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. captured ACC Player of the Week honors on Tuesday morning following their standout performances in No. 1 Florida State’s season-opening 37-31 victory over Oklahoma State in Saturday’s AdvocCare Cowboys Classic.
Greene was named ACC Receiver of the Week after tallying 11 catches for a career-best 203 yards and one touchdown against the Cowboys. Greene’s receiving yardage total was the most by a player in the “Power Five” conferences and the second-most nationally.
He ranks fourth in FSU history in career receptions (182) and yards (2,668) and sixth in touchdown receptions (23).
It’s Greene’s third time capturing the ACC Receiver of the Week award. He also nabbed the honor once each as a sophomore in 2012 and as a junior in 2013.
Edwards Jr. claimed the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week award after he had four tackles and a momentum-shifting sack for a 14-yard loss in the fourth quarter with FSU holding a narrow 27-24 lead.
The preseason All-American played every defensive snap in the win over OSU and now has 4.0 TFLs in his last two games, dating back to last season’s BCS Championship.
Additional Honors for the Noles
Redshirt sophomore kicker Roberto Aguayo was one of three players named a Lou Groza Star of the Week while also capturing Honorable Mention Specialist of the Week honors form the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA). Aguayo scored 13 points against Oklahoma State, going 4-for-4 on extra points and hitting all three of his field goal attempts.
Greene was tabbed a CFPA Honorable Mention Receiver of the Week and sophomore safety Nate Andrews was named a CFPA Honorable Mention Defensive Back of the Week after recording his second career pick-six in the opener.
Florida State Remains No. 1
Dating back to Week 15 of the 2013 season, the Seminoles have been ranked No. 1 for five consecutive weeks in both the Associate Press Poll and the Amway Coaches Poll.
FSU received 46 of 59 first-place votes in the AP this week and 57 of 62 first-place votes in the Amway Coaches Poll.
Head Coach Jimbo Fisher Post-Practice Quotes
“Much better Tuesday. More attention to detail, more consistency. I thought Bobo looked good, I thought he played really good. I thought Rashad (Greene) did some good things. I thought the young receivers did OK. I thought Pender and Dalvin (Cook) practiced well along with Karlos. Defensively, some of the young DB’s (did well) – Jalen. Some of the linebackers (did well) – Terrance Smith. We did a lot of situation. The defense will have to be disciplined, a lot of gap control, man control, leverage on the football with the pitch option. Much better practice in my opinion.”
On what makes sophomore wide receiver Jesus “Bobo” Wilson an effective receiver:
“Extremely fast. He can run, judge a ball, (he’s) strong. He has great body quickness, can stick his foot in the ground and change direction. Very good route runner. He’s becoming a very polished route runner.
On junior cornerback P.J. William’s injury status:
“Good. He had a lot of strain in that leg so we’re resting him a day or two. He had a lot of reps at corner carrying that leg and we knew he would have to.”
On the offensive line getting ready for Week 2:
“They know that they’re talented and they know what to do. They know they didn’t play like they could have played, at times they played well. They’ll get better. The sky’s not falling. They’ll play better, we’ll get better. I thought today they blocked well and had good hat on angles. They’re back to fundamentals.”
On the preparation that goes into The Citadel’s triple-option offense:
“Oh a lot. That’s a ton now, it’s a ton of meeting time. We had plans for it in the summer and come out and install it. That is a pain in the tail. It’s very disciplined, they know all the tricks off of that so we’re going to have to play very well. You have to be disciplined and physical at the same time.”
On emphasizing gap control against The Citadel’s offense:
“All football and defense is gap control. Everyone has responsibilities. The thing is you have your gap, but you can’t go jumping out of it and be greedy and want to make a play. As great as Timmy (Jernigan) was, the first two or three games (last year) a lot of the runs that came out early were Timmy trying to go and make plays. You have to stay in there and then learn to play within the scheme and go. I’m not criticizing him, it’s just natural instincts.”
On how hard it is to maintain gap control on defense:
“When it’s there, it’s there. When it’s not in your gap, it ain’t there. It’s called discipline. People say ‘Well you don’t rush the passer and get a pass rush,’ so you rush up-field and give running lanes for a running quarterback. When you match routes down the field, man to man like we do in coverage and get all those interceptions, when you break out the quarterback runs for 30 yards. You have to understand what coverages you’re in, how you rush, other times you’re in spot zone you can go rush the quarterback.”
On having to face an option team right after a hard-fought season opener:
“Option teams are a pain no matter when they are. You have to be willing to do all the work.”