November 10, 2013

The rule is clear: Don't trust pre-snap assumptions against FSU D

Before the defensive eruption occurred, consider ESPN's Jeannine Edwards the one who warned the masses. In her field report before the first Wake Forest drive, Edwards spoke about the Deacon coaching staff's message to quarterback Tanner Price. Essentially, they told Price to throw the ball to the first open place he sees.

There are a couple of truths revealed through the course of nine games, all wins, for Florida State. One is don't blitz quarterback Jameis Winston. Though he did not perform his best yesterday, he did more than enough thanks to coach Jeremy Pruitt's defense. And that brings up the second truth: What you see pre-snap from the defense is not what you get when the ball is in play.

Against coordinator Mark Stoops, offenses could anticipate what they saw before the snap would hold true. But against Pruitt, it's not so simple. Yes, this is a concept revisited from the preseason, but the point could not have been driven home clearer (or more frequently) than it was in the 59-3 win Saturday.

Here are three key examples.

Terrance Smith interception

The first Seminole turnover was via a Price interception to linebacker Terrance Smith. On this play, Smith takes his first few steps toward the point of attack. In Price's mind, Smith is accounted for as a rusher.

But what Price assumed was wrong. After a few steps in, Smith released back into coverage in the seam and in position to make an interception that nearly went back for six points.

Andrews goes for six

Due to the concussion Terrence Brooks suffered a week ago, freshman Nate Andrews got his chance to play significant minutes for the first-team defense. And continuing a trend, Andrews made the most of his chances.

The first look says that Andrews is breaking towards the bottom of the frame to cover the seam to the quarterback's left.

However he reads the eyes and takes off to the right-hand seam to snag the ball in full break. Andrews' speed does the rest, and the first blush look fails the Deacons again.

Marquez White continues the trend

When the first-team defense got its deserved early rest, the defensive trend continued just the same. It may have been backup quarterback Tyler Cameron throwing the pass, but the concept remains: Keep an eye on the defensive backs at all times.

The split-second assumption is that Marquez White will be covering the flat.

But White alertly reads the quarterback's eyes and body language, revises his coverage, and flies up the sideline. Florida State's secondary speed is yet again on full display. It's a big reason why the 'Noles had six interceptions against seven total completions for Wake Forest.

Don't blitz Jameis Winston. Don't believe your eyes at the snap against the Seminole defense. These are the rules against the Seminoles in 2013.

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