Florida State leads nation with 11 NFL Draft picks to establish a new school record, as six 'Noles hear their name called Saturday.
No. 12/13 Florida State's defense sets the tone and saves the day against Georgia Tech as the 'Noles earn an ACC Championship for the first time since 2005 and a trip to the Orange Bowl.
Subscribe to the free Seminoles podcast feed today on iTunes.
Florida State and Florida meet at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in a battle of two of college football's preeminent defensive teams.
It's one of college football's historic rivalries revisited. It's 'Noles vs. 'Canes and it all gets started started Saturday night at 8 p.m. live on ABC and ESPN3.com.
The Stoops File
Mark Stoops is in his 23rd season of coaching and his third year as Florida State's defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Hired by Jimbo Fisher in January of 2010 to replace the venerable Mickey Andrews, Stoops came to FSU from Arizona, where he spent six seasons serving the Wildcats in the same capacity under his brother head coach Mike Stoops. He is also the brother of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.
Stoops transformed Florida State's defense into one of the nation's best in 2011. FSU allowed its opponents to run for an average of just 2.35 yards per carry, which led the nation. The Seminoles ranked fourth nationally in total defense (275.0), second in rushing defense (82.69), fourth in scoring defense (15.1), eighth in tackles for loss (8.62) and tied for eighth in sacks (3.08 per game). His secondary ranked 20th in pass defense and 25th in pass efficiency defense. The Seminoles led the ACC in eight different defensive categories. Linebacker Nigel Bradham capped off his career leading the Seminoles in tackles for the third straight year - becoming the first Seminole since Marvin Jones to accomplish that feat. He ochestrated a defense that featured one of the deepest defensive line rotations highlighted by defensive ends Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine who combined for 20.5 sacks, 31 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hurries and nine pass breakups. The middle of the line featured stout tackles Everett Dawkins, Anthony McCloud and Freshman All-American Timmy Jernigan who combined for 14 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and a remarkable 80 tackles. With nine starters returning in 2012, the Seminole defense again figures to be among the nation's best.
Stoops is credited with overhauling the Seminoles' defense in his first season as Florida State's defensive coordinator in 2010. The `Noles yielded 19.6 points per game which was third best in the ACC and 20th in the nation. The Seminoles ranked 42nd nationally in total defense after ranking 108th in 2009 and ranked sixth in the ACC in 2010 after ranking last in the league in total defense in 2009. Florida State improved its overall defense by more than 80 total yards per game, mainly by limiting opponents to 75 less rushing yards per game. The Seminoles ranked third in the nation in quarterback sacks and 21st in tackles for loss led by second team All-American Brandon Jenkins who finished with 13.5 sacks (third-most in the ACC and sixth nationally) and 21.5 tackles for loss. FSU tied with Boise State for the national lead with 48 total sacks. In the secondary, he coached Xavier Rhodes to ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and National Defensive Freshman of the Year honors.
Stoops was instrumental in turning Arizona into one of the finest defensive units in the Pac-10 during his six-year stint. Arizona ranked 25th nationally in total defense in 2009 and was ranked among the top three in the conference in five statistical categories as the Wildcats finished with a second consecutive 8-5 season.
Stoops built an impressive resume by developing nationally elite units, especially in the secondary. Prior to his six-year run at Arizona, he spent three seasons at the University of Miami as the secondary coach. His 2002 and 2003 units led the nation in pass defense, while the 2001 Hurricanes - which won the national championship - led the nation in pass efficiency defense, scoring defense and turnover margin.
He spent the 2000 season as co-defensive coordinator at Houston, following a three-year run at Wyoming as the secondary coach. His first full-time college job came in 1996 when he was hired by USF to help with the start-up of the program.
A proponent of zone schemes, Stoops' pass defenses have been especially proficient and extraordinary at takeaways. The 2001 Miami team established a single-season school record with 27 interceptions and 45 takeaways. Miami's 2002 secondary tied an NCAA record by allowing just 9.5 yards per completion. The 2003 Hurricanes were second in total defense and fourth in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. The 1997 Wyoming secondary contributed significantly to its school-record 24 interceptions.
Stoops recruited and developed some of the finest defensive backs in the nation over the past decade, many of who have gone on to enjoy outstanding NFL careers. Among the notable are Arizona's Antoine Cason and Michael Johnson, Miami's Philip Buchanon, Kelly Jennings, Brandon Merriweather, Ed Reed, Antrel Rolle, Mike Rumph, Sean Taylor, and Wyoming's Brian Lee.
Like his brothers, Stoops played collegiately in the secondary at Iowa for Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry. Fry hired Stoops as a graduate assistant for the 1990 and 1991 seasons. The Hawkeyes won the 1990 Big Ten title and played in the Rose Bowl; duplicating feats Stoops also achieved as a player during a four-year career.
As a player and a coach, he has taken part in 12 bowls, including his first season at Florida State and both of his final two seasons at Arizona.
Before launching his collegiate coaching career, Stoops followed in his father's footsteps as a high school football coach. He spent four years at Ohio's Nordonia Hills as an assistant and the school's athletic director.
Raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Stoops played high school football at Cardinal Mooney.
Stoops' Coaching Ledger