Last year's Florida State defense didn't live up to the high expectations that were placed upon them in the preseason. They struggled to rush the passer, and finished the year 106th in opponent plays of more than 10 yards with 201. Seven of their 14 opponents on the season scored more than 25 points.
This year we've seen a quick turnaround from the Florida State defense. Through nine games none of their opponents have reached the 25-point mark. This year they're 28th in the country in opponent plays of more than 10 yards allowed, and passed last season's sack total during the eighth game of the season.
The NC State game from 2014 is a perfect example of the issues that plagued the Florida State defense. They missed 33 tackles in the game and allowed 41 points.
"We watched the film from last year and what we did wrong," Junior cornerback Marquez White said. "Missed tackles. A lot of it was just effort plays. We're a whole different defense than we were last year. Effort that we run to the ball, break out of the stack."
White believes that the effort on defense in 2015 is the biggest difference from last season.
"We play super hard," White said. "We are dog tired after the game. I know I do and I know a lot of my teammate do. You can tell the effort is there. I feel like that's the biggest difference from last year."
The defense knows that they can play with a lot more effort this year because of the increased depth at most positions.
"I mean with the guys we have this year we have so much depth," Sophomore defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi said. "At defensive tackle we have guys going 100-percent. Then if we're tired we have another person come in and they'll go 100-percent as well. So when you're ready to go back in, catching your breath, You'll go back in at 100-percent. It's not a change at all."
The defensive effort has been needed with the Florida State offense struggling as much as they have this season, particularly on the road. They will need to keep it up as they look to make it three straight against rival Florida, and as they look to win 10 or more games for the fourth straight season.