The Florida State defense had dealt with its lumps this season but heading into a Thursday showdown with N.C. State the unit finds itself ranked No. 3 in the conference in terms of total defense.
The Seminoles have allowed just 253.8 yards per game.
But in terms of getting into the backfield, FSU has struggled taking down the quarterback through four games of the season. And while the middle of the defensive line is missing starter Paul Griffin and Andre Fluellen constantly receiving double teams, much of that lack of production falls on the shoulders of the defensive ends.
Backup Neefy Moffett leads all ends with just eight total tackles and freshman Dekoda Watson leads the unit with just one sack.
Defensive ends coach Jody Allen has also had to deal with a revolving door of sorts of rotations and players moving. Former starting right end Alex Boston has since moved to the inside and linebacker turned end Watson is still getting the feel for the position as a freshman.
Perhaps the only constant, says Allen, has been the left side.
"Right now I think Darrell Boston has earned the right to call himself the starting left end for us," Allen said. "He's a senior and he's been here for us for a long time working hard his whole career and he's playing well."
And how does Allen feel about the right defensive end spot?
"Across from Darrell I don't think anybody is entrenched in anything," he said. "Right now, whoever has the best week at practice and is healthy is going to be the starter there. Right now that's Everette (Brown)."
Brown found himself inserted into the lineup for the game against Rice after redshirt junior D.J. Norris went down with a shoulder surgery. Norris is expected to be used for "spot duty" as Allen says against the Wolfpack so Brown will start the second game of his young career.
Making matters even more special for No. 99 is that he is a North Carolina native and there will be plenty of family and friends in attendance in Raleigh this Thursday.
"It's ecciting. I am excited to play in front of them," Brown said. "I am just trying to get better everyday so that I can go up there and help the team win. I have some friends that go to N.C. State so we've got to come out of there with a win."
Allen has been pleased the way the redshirt freshman has played this season so far.
"He's played pretty well, which is what we expected from Everette. We are looking for him to continue to improve and show us just how good he can be. He's worked hard at practice."
One thing is for certain, FSU will continue to look for more production from the defensive end spot. Thursday's contest will be just the second time all season that the Seminoles boast the same starting lineup as the game before.
But when it comes down to it, it's the practice fields that will determine if some consistent starting group will be established.
"I wouldn't say that it's his job to lose," Allen said when asked if Brown's spot is now his for the keeping. "Not that it will be given to D.J. when he comes back or if Alex slides back outside. It's not anybody's job right now "
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