Preview: Florida State Defense

The Hurricanes are set to take on Florida State tomorrow night so lets take a closer look at the Seminole defense.

Overall: Only Alabama and LSU have played better on defense this year than Florida State. And that's after losing All-American defensive end Brandon Jenkins for the season during week one. They're loaded. They get pressure, cause turnovers, and are very tough to score against. Notre Dame played good defense but this will clearly be Miami's toughest matchup all season on this side of the football.

Defensive Line: After Jenkins went down they didn't seem to skip a beat. Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine form a pair of outstanding defensive ends. They each have six sacks on the season and will create a lot of negative plays for the opposition. Miami's young tackles will have their hands full trying to keep these two in check. They use a bunch of guys in the middle and they're all very similar. They're all over 300 pounds and very tough against the run. That's their specialty. They do a great job of eating up space and letting their linebackers make a lot of plays.

Linebacker: Christian Jones is the best of the bunch and is the leading tackler of the group. At 6-foot-4, he can rush the passer and drop into coverage so he's a three-down player for them. Vince Williams is solid in the middle while Telvin Smith is serviceable on the outside. It's the one area where Miami might have the edge.

Defensive Back: Xavier Rhodes is 6-foot-2 and is from the Miami area and went lightly recruited under Randy Shannon. He went to Florida State, has had a solid career, and is now FSU's top cornerback as a senior. He's tough to throw against and can provide run support. Nick Waisome isn't real feared on the other side as the second starter. Look for Miami to take some chances on him. Terrence Brooks is decent at free safety but the main guy here is Lamarcus Joyner at the strong safety spot. At just 5-foot-8, he's extremely physical and one of the fastest players on the field. He's had a very good career, including two good performances against Miami, after signing with FSU out of a Miami-area high school.

Special Teams: This is as good a unit that there is in college football. Kicker Dustin Hopkins has a big time leg and is a weapon anytime the Noles get inside the 40. Joyner and Karlos Williams are game changers as kick return men. Rashad Greene, a standout receiver, already has two punt returns for scores and can really change games around with his returns. They lost Greg Reid, who was probably the most feared return specialist in all of college football, during the summer but that hasn't slowed them down a bit.


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