Preview: Colorado Buffaloes Offense vs. Florida State Seminoles Defense

Coach: Bobby Bowden (302-81-4 in 32 seasons; 375-120-4 overall in 42 seasons)

In 2007: 7-6 overall, 4-4 in the ACC (fourth in ACC Atlantic).
Returning starters: Offense: 5. Defense: 7. Special teams: 1

Key losses: Offense-T/G Shannon Boatman, G Jacky Claude, WR DeCody Fagg, T David Overmyer. Defense-T Andre Fluellen, T Letroy Guion, LB Geno Hayes, FS Roger Williams. Special teams-K Gary Cismesia.

 

Colorado_helmet_medium        VS.        Florida_st_medium

Colorado Buffaloes Offense vs Florida State Seminoles Defense

DEFENSIVE STYLE:

I don' know why CU's offense is even showing up this Saturday. Anyone else hoping that CU hangs a 30 spot on these guys so we can stop hearing about how good they are! But seriously, the proper description for this defense is fast, athletic, strong and scary. They really don't do anything special except attack you from the first snap. The FSU defense will try and play the intimidation role early, getting teams to play timid. The Seminoles play a base 4 - 3 defense but is more like a 2 - 5 with their defensive ends almost like walk up linebackers. The big story for this week is the Seminoles get four possible starters back from suspension to add to their already stout defense. The Noles return CB Patrick Robinson (starter), DE Neefy Moffett (starter), DT Justin Mincey (back-up/starter) and LB DeKoda Watson (starter). Robinson is FSU's best corner back and DeKoda Watson will add another horse to what is already a stout corp. Yes, the defense will only get better but let's put somethings in perspective. This defense gave up 23 points a game last year. Let's also not categorize the three opponents FSU has played so far, two of which were FCS, as world beaters on offense. I am not saying the Buffs are a top 20 offense but I have a feeling Hawkins will have an offensive game plan that should challenge the 'Noles on Saturday. The question is, does he have the offensive talent to pull it off.

 

 

RANKINGS AND STATISTICAL LEADERS:

Team Rankings
Team   Stat National Rank
Colorado Buffaloes Total Offense
361 yards/game 68th
Florida State Seminoles Total Defense*
205 yards/game 4th



Colorado Buffaloes Rush Offense 143 yards/game 74th
Florida State Seminoles Rush Defense* 48 yds/game 4th



Colorado Buffaloes Pass Offense 218 yards/game 57th
Florida State Seminoles Pass Defense* 157 yards/game 19th



Colorado Buffaloes Scoring Offense 28.7 points/game 55th
Florida State Seminoles Scoring Defense* 6.3 points/game 2nd

* Two of the FSU's three opponents were FCS schools.

Key Players

Linebackers
#31 Toddrick Verdell - 18 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 Sack
#30 Derek Nicholson - 17 tackles, 3.5 TFL
#36 Dekoda Watson - First game back from suspension

Defensive Line
#99 Everette Brown - 7 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 Sacks

Defensive Backs
#9 Tony Carter - 8 tackles, 2 PD
#3 Myron Rolle - 15 tackles
#21 Patrick Robinson - First game back from suspension


WHO TO LOOK OUT FOR:

DE #99 Everette Brown. The guy only makes big plays. 4.5 TFL and 2 sacks has him as one one of the premier pass rushing ends in college football. Brown is 6'4" 252 lbs suiting his speed rush game well. OT Nate Solder, TE Riar Geer and RB Demetrius Sumler will be tasked with making sure they keep Brown from living in the Buffaloes backfield. Last year, FSU had 10 TFL and 2.5 sacks which resulted in one of the worst rushing outputs I can remember. The Buffs were embarrassed running 25 times for -27 yards. The linebackers are the key to the FSU defense, though. As much as Brown is a home run hitter with TFL and sacks, the linebacking corp are the consistent play makers. Last year, Derek Nicholson led the team with 11 tackles against the Buffs. Look for Nicholson to be the play maker at the LB position this year as well although the Seminoles can go 6 or 7 deep and not lose a step.  No doubt these players returning from suspension were expected to be key contributors but the thing I will be interested in seeing is if there will be any rust.

STRONGEST UNIT:

The linebackers. Derek Nicholson is the leader but Toddrick Verdell, Dekoda Watson, Nigel Bradham, Kendall Smith and Kenny Ingram can all make plays. This is probably the deepest unit in the country right along with USC.

WEAKEST UNIT:

This section was a lot easier for the offensive preview as you could pick between 3 out of the 4 units. The FSU defense really doesn't have a weak link. Maybe up the middle at the defensive tackle position but with help returning in the form of DE Neefy Moffett and DT Justin Mincey, this defense may not have a weakness. Can over aggressive be a weakness? Possibly, but the Buffs in the past have had a hard time handling athletic and aggressive defenses. The Buffs are superior on offense compared to the past couple of years but I still don't think CU can feel confident that they can match FSU on pure athleticism. But a good scheme can do wonders against an aggressive defense.

So what do you do with an aggressive defense? Do what Oregon State just did to the #1 ranked defense in the land. There were a lot of valuable lessons learned last night that you can directly apply to the match up with Florida State. First of all, it always helps your running game to get up 21 - 0 at half but the Beavers ran 45 times last night only averaging 3.9 yards/carry but it always seemed they were in pretty manageable 2nd and 3rd down situations. The key to slowing a good defense is running the ball and not putting yourself in 3rd and 8+ yards. The Buffs get into that situation and FSU will start teeing up on Cody Hawkins. Last night, Oregon State was rather successful on third down, going 7 of 16 while USC went 2 of 10. The second key to last night's game was OSU didn't turn the ball over. They threw 28 passes but only for 6 yards/attempt. They didn't force the ball. Cody Hawkins threw 2 interceptions last year and the Buffs didn't force any. Winning the turnover battle with be key for the Buffs chances. Finally the offensive line played great. This is a must for Saturday. The loss of G Max Tuioti-Mariner to injury really hurts the Buffs but CU needs solid performances from the big tackles Ryan Miller and Nate Solder as well as ancillary blockers like Riar Geer and Demetrius Sumler. If the Buffs can neutralize the front four and start frustrating FSU up front, this is a team that will start getting emotional and start committing penalties. Saw them do it last week against Wake.

X FACTOR:

Offensive Line. I really wanted to say Cody Hawkins but after last night's Oregon State upset, I see that it all depends on the offensive line creating push and limiting the backfield pressure. FSU has had 27, count them, 27 TFL this year against the Buffs. That cannot happen again this year.

FINAL WORDS:

Protect the ball and be patient. This has the makings of being a field position game. The last thing we want to do is give the FSU offense a short field to work on. Oregon State laid out the formula last night...run the ball with success and don't turn the ball over. If the Buffs do that, they win this game. I can't wait. This is a man's game. Who wants it more in the trenches!


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