by Lilburn Nole for Chantrant.com
No matter if you’re looking at advanced statistics like the ones found at www.footballoutsiders.com or traditional statistics like scoring defense and total defense you’ll find the Seminoles as a Top 5 defense the last two seasons. However, if there has been one complaint about that Mark Stoops-led defense it would be a lack of turnovers and less aggressive strategy.
While Florida State has been near the top in most defensive categories, you have to scroll down the page a bit to find the Seminoles when it comes to turnovers created. FSU fans will be eager to see if new Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt (formerly on the Alabama staff) will install a more aggressive style defense with more blitzes and man to man looks mixed in with the zone heavy looks that have been the norm the last couple of seasons.
Pruitt has spent the last three seasons working under Nick Saban, so it is likely he will have been influenced working under arguably the top defensive mind in the game today. While I don’t expect FSU to switch to the 3-4 defense of Saban, I do expect to see greater variance in coverages and more blitz packages. Stoops relied much more heavily on a zone scheme mixing in man to man on passing downs. Saban’s philosophy is to run zone on running downs and man to man in passing downs with zone mixed in. There is no guarantee that Pruitt will continue to incorporate the schemes that he has worked with the last 3 seasons, but as this is his first time coordinating at the college level, and knowing Jimbo Fisher’s respect for Saban and his philosophies, I feel it’s a safe assumption.
Unfortunately, it may be difficult to get a good read on a defensive strategy in the spring as practices are closed and the spring game will most likely feature more vanilla calls both offensively and defensively. However, pay close attention to the player interviews and you may be able to gain an insight into what is being worked on and discussed in practices.