4. Florida State Seminoles College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense was shockingly miserable. It was dead last in the ACC in sacks, close to last in total D, and it allowed 36 points per game. There weren’t enough third down stops, there weren’t enough big plays, and there were too many mistakes. It all starts with generating more pressure.
There’s help with South Carolina DT Keir Thomas coming into find a spot somewhere, but the leading returning defensive lineman in tackles for loss is Derrick McLendon, and he came up with just 2.5. There’s a 335-pound brick on the inside in Robert Cooper to work around, but again, there has to be more pressure from the outside.
– The Noles get back the top three linebackers who ended up all finishing in the top three in tackles, but second-leading tackler Emmett Rice hurt his leg this spring and is questionable going into the fall. 232-pound Amari Gainer led the team with 65 tackles – he can pop a bit – and Stephen Dix is a big rising hitter in the middle.
– To be fair, the secondary didn’t get any help from the pass rush, but the D picked off just eight passes and five of them – three coming from Asante Samuel – are gone. The transfer portal is interesting with the FSU DBs taking off so far – hurt most by S Jaiden Lars-Woodbey going to Boston College – and with three more coming in. South Carolina’s Jammie Robinson should be a top tackler at one safety spot, and there’s good corner help coming in.