Nicholson focusing on team goal

Derek Nicholson is about half way through his final season in garnet and gold. He is once again leading the defense in tackles and providing senior leadership for the younger players he is on the field with. Heading into the second half of the season, Nicholson is focusing on what the defense can do as a unit as opposed to what he can do individually.

Nicholson led the Florida State defense in tackles last season and is on pace to do it once again this year. Through five games, Nicholson has recorded a team high 31 tackles and has had at least four in every game. He also leads the tackles for loss with 7.5. If Nicholson keeps it up, he will be in good shape when the NFL Draft rolls around in a few months.

But none of that even matters to the senior linebacker. The only thing Nicholson cares about is proving that his defense is better than any other one in all of college football.

When asked what type of identity this defense wants to accomplish by seasons end, Nicholson responded immediately.

"The best defense in the nation," the 'Noles leading tackler said. "Anything else other than that is a disappointment. We want to be the number one total defense, number one in scoring defense, number one in everything. And that's out goal. And if that's not any team's goal, then they have a problem."

A big key to the success of the defense thus far in the season is having one of the best defensive coordinators in the business and the goals he set for the team. And when Mickey Andrew sets goals, he doesn't let the team slack on them at all.

"We focus on everything," Nicholson said. "We have goals. First down goals, second down goals and third down goals; and we take pride in accomplishing those goals. Coach Andrews won't have it if we're not out there getting it done."

This week, Florida State will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the Wolf Pack. Last year, the Seminoles held them to only 10 points in a game that gave FSU their fourth win of the season. In that game, the Wolf Pack was held to just 268 yards, which are 38 more than the FSU defense is giving up on a weekly basis this season. While the Wolf Pack is down this year and arguably the worst team in the ACC, they still have the potential to be a good football team and the 'Noles know they can't overlook anyone.

Right now, Florida State has the second ranked total defense in the nation and the best total defense in the ACC. The 'Noles are only half way though the season though, so keeping up the play and getting better each week is a must.

"We improve and get better every week, because everybody else is," Nicholson said. "That's the key; to improve, get better and accomplish all of our goals every week."

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