Florida State Seminoles' Defense Still Adjusting to New Schemes

By B.L. Lippert

The Florida State Seminoles have looked outstanding during their 4-0 start, but for the first time all year, they appeared vulnerable on defense during Saturday’s 48-34 road victory at Boston College.

All told, the Seminoles allowed just under 400 yards of offense and appeared confused about coverages on more than one occasion. The Eagles’ offense is traditionally run-heavy, so their 200-yard rushing performance isn’t particularly alarming. However, the Eagles took advantage of the Seminoles’ fast-flowing defense and exposed them to some degree with throwback plays for three huge gains.

On one such play, the Seminoles appeared to have linebacker Dan Hicks matched up man-to-man on fleet-footed running back Myles Willis. After play-action, quarterback Chase Rettig rolled left, then threw back to Willis on a wheel route that the 260-pound Hicks had virtually no chance at covering.

Ultimately, the Eagles had to resort to those type of plays to complete passes against a dominating secondary, so that was a positive sign. However, if Boston College is able to take advantage of over pursuing defenders, you can bet that more talented offenses like Clemson and Miami will as well.

New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has made plenty of changes to the Florida State defense, so inevitably there were going to be a few mistakes early on. A number of defenders have changed positions, and this version of the Seminole defense is blitzing with more frequency than they did under Mark Stoops. As a result, there have been a couple of busted coverages in each game thus far.

To this point, they haven’t hurt all that much, but in more competitive games (particularly a tough road test at Clemson) one of those plays could be the difference. The Noles defense is ranked 15th nationally in points allowed, but still have their issues to work through.

They better get them ironed out before Tajh Boyd comes calling.

B.L. is an ACC football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip or on Google.

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