August 15, 2013

FSU D line puts on weight under Fisher

In one-on-one drill at a recent FSU practice, Timmy Jernigan needed no particular move to get past his opponent. Just bulk.

Jernigan crouched low and fired all his weight - 294 pounds of it - into offensive lineman Reuben Carter.

The battle was mercifully brief. The weight and power of Jernigan by itself were too much for Carter, and he ended up on the ground underneath Jernigan's exposed belly.

It's not surprising that Jernigan could use his bulk to overpower someone - he weighs in at 294 pounds. And even his weight is below the average defensive tackle weight on the roster this year.

As such, Jernigan provides a fitting example of the makeover on FSU's defensive line in the past five years.

In high school, Jernigan weighed in at 275 pounds. He's put on 19 since coming to Florida State. And he's just one example on a defensive line that's been overhauled for strength and size since Jimbo Fisher took over as head coach.

size="4">FSU's defensive line ave. weights - 2009-13
Year DE (weight) DT (weight) Overall (weight)
2009 243.25 272.25 257.75
2010 241.75 279.25 260.5
2011 268.25 301.5 284.8
2012 267.0 305.25 286.1
2013 271.25 304.75 288.0
* Weights are based on official preseason
depth charts

Redshirt senior Demonte McAllister has seen the process unfold. When he came to FSU in 2009, McAllister weighed 263 pounds and he was bigger than most other linemen on the roster.

His first few months at FSU were spent running a lot of 110-yard sprints, not bulking up.

"It wasn't really a focus on making guys bigger and stronger," McAllister said.

That changed the minute Fisher took over as head coach and brought in strength and conditioning coach Vic Viloria. McAllister said the Seminoles immediately started to get stronger. And bigger.

"We started eating the right things and putting the right things in our body, getting the right rest," McAllister said. "Now they've got GPS and everything to tell you what we're doing, how much we're doing and how much rest we need."

Now, McAllister weighs 297. He's put on 34 lbs since his high school days and says he feels the difference when taking on double-teams.

"I can feel my body if I was 270, 275 trying to do that they probably would have washed me out of there," McAllister said. "But now I'm 295, almost 300 pounds and they stand no chance if I've got my hands right."

Across the board, FSU's defensive linemen have gained impressive amounts of weight. Dan Hicks/db] has gained 18 pounds since high school. [db/]Jaccobi McDaniel has put on 28. And those extra pounds play a role in FSU's defensive resurgence. In 2009, FSU gave up 5.4 yards per carry. The Noles gave up just 2.8 yards per carry in 2012. Fisher said the size and power of the defensive line is crucial to that effort.

"You've got to be able to hold the point,' Fisher said. "Ant and Everette (Dawkins) were really good at that. It's creating a wad to free linebackers up and free people up behind them. And you've got to have the strength and power to do it."

McAllister even noticed FSU's newer defensive tackle recruits came in already close to 300 pounds. Players like Nile Lawrence-Stample and Eddie Goldman both pushed close to 300 pounds in high school. Even defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr. weighed in at 275 pounds as a high school senior.

"Every year it's like God, these guys come in 285, 290, 300 pounds and I'm like, 'Where was that when we were here?'" McAllister said. "All these guys are 290 plus and I'm like the small guy here. It's been a great change."

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