Position Previews: UNC-FSU
Defensive Ends vs. Offensive Tackles
Pressure on quarterback key for both teams
The No. 5 ranked Florida State football team travels to North Carolina (0-3, 0-1) this weekend as they resume action following the postponement of last Saturday's games. To get you ready for this conference clash InsideCarolina.com and Warchant.com have partnered up to give Tar Heel and Seminole fans detailed position previews leading up the Saturday.
Preview #1: Defensive Ends vs. Offensive Tackles
FSU's DEs vs. UNC's OTs
Usually this is an automatic advantage for the Seminoles. Over the past few years Florida State has been the premier program in the nation for producing elite defensive ends. In fact, since 1997 four defensive ends from FSU have been selected among the top 10 picks of the NFL draft. Last year Jamal Reynolds won the Lombardi Award, given to the nation's top lineman/linebacker, and was picked No. 10 overall by the Green Bay Packers in 2001 draft.
Junior DE Alonzo Jackson
Never has this dominance been more apparent than against the Carolina offensive line. The Seminole pass rush has been a major factor in his match up getting to the UNC quarterback an average of six times per game over the last four seasons. The constant pressure on the Tar Heel signal caller has effectively stifled any passing attack Carolina attempted to muster.
Things are a little different in 2001 but the result may be the same. For the first time in recent memory Florida State does not have a sure fire NFL-bound defensive end on the roster. Alonzo Jackson (#48 - 6-4/255) is the most experienced starting six games so far in his career. The junior from Americus, Georgia, who has six career sacks, is an athletic and fiery DE who is equally adept against the run and pass. However, he doesn't possess the raw speed or strength of the players before him at this spot.
On the other side FSU will lineup either Kevin Emanuel or Charles Howard. Emanuel (#90 - 6-4/246) has been back and forth between defensive tackle and defensive end during his career. In the last game versus UAB the sophomore from Waco, Texas had five tackles in his first career start. Although the coaches are happy with Emanuel for his consistent and intelligent play, he isn't known for his pass rushing skills; instead he excels against the run.
If he is healthy, Charles Howard (#59 - 6-3/250) will likely get the start this weekend. The sophomore from Lake Butler, Florida was slated to be FSU's starter in the opener but a nagging hamstring pull has kept him out of action in the first two games. Unlike Emanuel, Howard is not as refined but is a much better pass rusher. With the week off to rest, it is possible he could get the start Saturday. Other defensive ends that may see action are Eric Powell (#93 - 6-4/270) and O.J. Jackson (#94 - 6-2/230)
Greg Woofter (#69 - 6-5/276) and freshman Willie McNeill (#76 - 6-4/289). Backing up Woofter and McNeill are two freshmen, Skip Seagraves (#75 - 6-5/275) and Justin Barton (#64 - 6-6/290).
UNC's DEs vs. FSU's OTs
Julius Peppers (#49 - 6-6/300) . Peppers is not necessarily limited to one side of the field or the other and will moved around from strong side to weak side. Peppers lead the country in sacks last season, and has surpassed the record set for a career at UNC by Lawrence Taylor.
On the other side of the line may be the best defensive end in the ACC you have never heard of, senior Joey Evans (#95 - 6-4, 264). Peppers gets all the ink, but Evans was highly productive last season splitting time with Ross McAllister and cannot be ignored by the FSU offensive line.
The Tar Heels like to rotate the defensive ends a lot, and sophomore Isaac Mooring (#92 - 6-3/2500, redshirt freshman Jermicus Banks (#90 - 6-4/2520, and true freshman Jacques Dumas (#42 - 6-6/248) get quite a few snaps throughout the game with the idea of having the defensive line fresh going into the fourth quarter. Mooring had a sack last week versus Texas.
Thankfully, the Tar Heel defensive ends won't have to face tackles Char-Ron Dorsey and Tarlos Thomas, who were first and second team All-ACC a year ago. The UNC defensive ends will instead face left tackle Todd Williams (#79 - 6-6/278) and right tackle Brett Williams (#72 - 6-6/317), who is considered a probable high-round NFL draft pick.
Behind Williams and Williams are a pair of red-shirt freshmen in Alex Barron (#70 - 6-6/302) and Ray Willis (#77 - 6-6/288).
Few if any tackles this side of the NFL match up well with Julius Peppers. He has three sacks this season, and needs only nine more to set the all-time record for sacks for a career at UNC. He also had six tackles for loss, and 16 tackles, 10 solo hits. Though UNC will rotate a lot at the end spot, look for Julius on every third down situation.
Evans is a senior, had a great off-season in strength and conditioning, and is having a good year with 2 tackles for loss and one sack to his credit. As a unit, the defensive ends have five sacks in three contests.