First Impressions

Sophomore linebacker <b>Ernie Sims</b> made his first start at Florida State in the Seminoles' 34-7 victory over Alabama-Birmingham last Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium. Sims and the defense put on quite a show, registering eight sacks and limiting the Blazers to 144 total yards for an average of 2.9 yards per play. Sims, from nearby North Florida Christian, was happy to help the Seminoles rebound from their disappointing defeat at Miami. Click here for the details.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden doesn't hesitate when talking about the Seminoles' defense.

"Don't make mistakes. They've got a chance to be as good as anybody," Bowden said.

The Seminoles defense flexed its muscles in last Saturday's home-opening victory over Alabama-Birmingham.

FSU limited UAB to 144 total yards for an average of 2.9 yards per play.

The Blazers were just 3 of 14 on third-down conversions and had just seven first downs by either rushing or passing. They finished with 11 first downs overall, thanks in large part to FSU penalties.

In addition, the Seminoles finished with eight sacks.

"When I saw Miami and Florida State play, I said that might be the two best defenses in the country playing in the first game of the season," UAB coach Watson Brown said.

"I don't believe I have played a better defensive football team since I have been here than that one."

FSU also made a noticeable defensive change at linebacker, as sophomore Ernie Sims made his first career start at strongside linebacker in place of senior Ray Piquion.

The trio of Sims, Buster Davis and A.J. Nicholson -- a group FSU fans have long wanted to see on the field -- was extremely active.

Sims was pleased to help the Seminoles rebound from their season-opening defeat at Miami.

"Basically, UAB isn't really the big powerhouse schools, so we wanted to stay focus and we didn't want to let up," Sims said.

"As far as that went, we did well. It was a good, positive step but we did have some letdowns. That's something we have to work on."

Safety Pat Watkins, who snagged his second interception of the season, agreed.

"We just wanted to start where we left off the Miami game," Watkins said. "We didn't finish but we know we dominated as far as the game went. This time we weren't going to let up and play all of 60 minutes and show we are one of the best defenses in the country."

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