The Florida State defense was a major question mark heading into the 2015 season after a sub-optimal performance by the unit in 2014. The Seminoles have only played one game this season, agaisnt an inferior opponent, but the signs are there for improvement. The first team Seminole defense was able to hold the Texas State offense to 3.5 yards per play before they were taken out with 11 minutes left to go in the fourth quarter. A lot of that has to do with the way the Florida State defense was swarming to the football on Saturday night.
Of the 73 tackles that the defense recorded on Saturday 46.6-percent were assisted. Compare that to the 2014 season where only 40.5-percent of the tackles were assisted. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said that was a priority for the defense heading in to the season.
"I thought we were swarming the football, tackling well, and getting to where we needed to get to," Fisher said. "They got the message. That's something we preached extremely hard in spring practice and fall camp."
Senior defensive back Lamarcus Brutus said the team really worked hard on that during camp, and that it's not just the back seven that's taking part in it.
"It was something that we worked on not just as the DBs, but the defensive linemen as well," Brutus said. "If you watch the film we’ve got Giorgio Newberry, Jacob Pugh, and Josh Sweat breaking out of the stack and flying to the ball. Making some tackles on some screens that maybe would have gone for 15-20 yards."
Fisher believes a lot of that has to do with star defensive back Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey doesn't quit on a play until the game is over, and that rubs off on his teammates according to Fisher.
"When your cornerback is a tough guy, when he's a leader, when he's that kind of guy, it's hard not to," Fisher said. "You see those skill guys play like that, it's hard not to when you're supposed to be the physical guys on the team."
Ramsey was very happy with the way the team flew to the ball as a unit.
"There are nine guys in the picture in every single play," Ramsey said "There’s nine guys around the ball and the two people who may not be around the ball are taking pursuit angles to get to the ball or they’re guarding their man. They’re playing their coverage and doing the right things. It’s just nice... That’s just the will and heart to get to the ball and pursue to the ball."
Last season the hunger and motivation of the defense was a serious question all throughout the season. This season the defense is making sure those questions are answered immediately.