TALLAHASSEE -- As Florida State begins to prepare for this weekend’s ACC championship game, it will face an option offense from Georgia Tech that should put plenty of pressure on its defense, especially when it comes to maintaining responsibilities.
“Everybody in the box has to play their assignment,” FSU junior defensive end Bjoern Werner said. “They can’t get greedy and try to make a play. Everybody has to just play his assignment, what they’re supposed to do, and then we’ll be successful.”
The Yellow Jackets rank third in the country in rushing offense, averaging more than 300 yards per game. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s offense uses a lot of misdirection and substitution packages to create favorable matchups to exploit on the ground.
“It’s tough,” FSU senior defensive end Toshmon Stevens said, “because 10 men can play their assignment perfectly and if one guy is off, they can score a touchdown.”
Another thing the Seminoles defense is preparing for is a Georgia Tech blocking scheme that regularly uses cuts to open up running space.
Florida State works on fighting off cuts in spring and summer camp, but come the start of the regular season the team isn’t allowed to cut starters in practice.
“I love hitting people,” said junior safety Terrence Brooks, who will play closer to the line Saturday to try to limit Georgia Tech’s option attack.
“But there’s a bad part of that when you’re getting cut, too. You kind of slow down a little bit and I’ve definitely seen them doing a lot of cutting. You just have to get off of it, to tell you the truth, don’t get cut and keep staying alive to make a play.”
With the current climate of conference realignment in college football and with the Atlantic Coast Conference continuing to lose respect and relevance by the week, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher was asked Monday if it was in the long-term best interest of the program to stay in the ACC.
“I think it’s best to stay where our powers that be and the decision-makers inside our organization decide to stay,” Fisher said. “We’ll play in whatever league they put us in. Our president and our board of trustees are very knowledgeable and very intelligent. They have the big picture of things, and that’s for them to do and me to coach football.”
The ACC went 0-4 last weekend against the SEC, including FSU’s 37-26 loss to Florida and Clemson’s 27-17 loss to South Carolina.
Florida State practiced Tuesday in cold, rainy conditions.
“It wasn’t cold but when it got wet, it was cold,’’ Fisher said.
“Very good practice [Tuesday, though]. The guys endured it well; we got a lot of work done.”