Last season, Florida State had the 19th ranked total defense in the nation, and this year they look to be formidable once again and will prove an interesting matchup for a Rebels offense that will certainly try to spread the ball out and go to the air often. Senior receiver Quincy Adeboyejo said he was impressed with what he saw from the Florida State defense.
“They’re a really sound defense, they all play in-sync and that’s what makes their defense really good,” Adeboyejo said. “We watch so many plays and so many different things to just see ways that we can beat them.”
Quarterback Chad Kelly was also impressed by the fourth-ranked team in the nation.
“I think they have a great team, they always do,” Kelly said. “They have great players and they’re always at the top for a reason so we have to make sure we got out and execute.”
“Those guys in the back end are really good, they’re talented,” Kelly said of the Florida State secondary. “Same with those guys up front, they’re quick, they’re athletic, and they can move really well so we just have to make sure we move the ball and don’t have any negative plays.”
Kelly said he was impressed with how well-coached the defensive line was coached and with the scheme they ran.
“They’re a great team and they will cause some problems, but we have to make sure we come out and execute,” Kelly said.
The leader of the Seminole secondary is safety Derwin James, who, as a freshman, emerged as a star, racking up 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in his debut season. Now a sophomore, the 6-foot, 3-inch safety will be tasked with containing a talented Rebel receiver group.
“There are not many guys like him. He is a special talent,” Head Coach Hugh Freeze said of James. “I wish there were a lot of them, we would like to have a couple ourselves. To have that size and speed is pretty special. He is arguably one of the best, if not the best in the nation.”
Adeboyejo said he was also very impressed, but felt the Rebels could get the edge in the matchup.
“He’s fast, definitely, and he’s very physical. We think we can beat him in man coverage,” Adeboyejo said. “If he’s manned up we feel like our guys can win one-on-ones, that’s what we preach here, win your one-on-one every play.”
Freeze said he felt that one-on-one matchups would be key to beating the Seminoles cornerbacks as well.
“They have great players there too, but I love our receivers,” Freeze said. “I like them any week we play against anybody; I think we have a chance on any play to win a one-on-one. That doesn’t mean you always get it done, but I am always going to feel confident about that group.”