Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong at the linebacker position for Florida State. Over the past two years they've had two players transfer, one player kicked off, four major injuries, one player suspended (twice), and some minor injuries that have held players out of games. One of those minor injuries happened against Wake Forest and now redshirt senior Terrance Smith is out for the Miami game.
That leaves the Seminoles with just three linebackers, Reggie Northrup, Ro'Derrick Hoskins, and Lorenzo Phillips, as the only linebackers with any game experience. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher stated on his call-in show that true freshman Sh'Mar Kilby-Lane has been getting a lot of reps in practice, and will likely play against Miami.
Northrup knows that these things happen in college football, but says the team has taken the next man up mentality.
"We just got to keep working hard," Northrup said. "Clean up some of the little dings. They’re coming along well. I was just emphasizing to them, somebody goes down, it’s the next man up so you got to be ready. It would be bad if you’re name gets called and you’re not ready to go it’s going to look real bad. it’s pressure but we’re at Florida State, it’s pressure regardless.
Hoskins and Kilby-Lane are both underclassmen, and Lorenzo Phillips is a JUCO transfer that has only been able to practice with the team for just over a month. That's not normally a recipe for success, but Northrup believes that they have been doing very well.
"They’re doing good. I’m here to push them and lead them, get them lined up," Northrup said. "It’s helping them learn the defense better and learn how to communicate with everybody, D linemen, defensive backs."
Miami knows that the Florida State linebacker unit is thin and lacking experience, and will attempt to use that to their advantage. The linebackers that Florida State will put out there are all talented, but they're going to have to show more than that if the don't want to be a liability against the Hurricanes.