September 8, 2013

Insider Report: Bye week blues, Jones likes the edge

Monday night games are great - but the hangover is a real pain.

FSU's hoping to avoid that problem with a bye in the second week of the season. For the Seminoles, it's a needed break just to get their mental calendars back on schedule.

"Right now we're going through the same thing as if we're playing a team Saturday," linebacker Christian Jones said last week. "We know we're not, but just knowing we'll be back on that regular schedule that should be good."

For the week leading up to Pittsburgh, FSU did everything on the schedule two days later: walk-throughs, practices, days off were all switched around from normal days.

In that light, head coach Jimbo Fisher said he didn't mind the early bye week. He compared it to an extension of fall camp.

"When you have a second one, I like it right now," Fisher said. "You come out of camp with a Monday night game. … Guys get banged and bruised and you can get almost another week of camp and they know what a game is like. They know what to expect."

Fisher said an early bye week is even more critical given FSU's youth on the depth chart as many primary backups in the secondary and in the receiving corps are underclassmen.

"Keep developing the backups," Fisher said. "Keep developing those guys and getting them plenty of reps and live at-bats with our defense."

Fisher said the Seminoles started game-planning for Nevada this Saturday to get a head-start on the Wolfpack.

Jones on edge
Christian Jones spent a fair part of FSU's season opener rushing the quarterback off the edge as a down lineman - and he didn't mind the change at all.

"That's something we've been practicing since the spring," Jones said. "I had a chance to get a few pressures. But it's exciting to know that it's almost there to get those big plays."

Jones is right: FSU flashed multiple looks with him and other linebackers in a three-point stance as edge pass rushers during spring and fall camp. And during the Seminoles' game against Pittsburgh, Jones and fellow linebacker Telvin Smith combined for three of FSU's seven quarterback hurries. Head coach Jimbo Fisher mentioned Ukeme Eligwe as a linebacker who could also come off the edges in passing situations.

As a whole, FSU's season opener showed a very different picture of quarterback pressure than in 2012. The Seminoles recorded two sacks and three quarterback pressures from linebackers or defensive backs. Last season, FSU only had three sacks come from players not on the defensive line and just 13 of 32 quarterback hurries.

And the defensive linemen say they don't mind feeling the extra pressure behind them of a blitz package, especially since that gives them more chances to be aggressive instead of having to plug holes.

"We might have this blitz coming in this gap, so we don't have to worry about it," Chris Casher said. "We can shoot this gap because we don't have to worry about two-gapping."

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