Tallahassee – Florida The defense had to pass without being its most important player, which is the defensive intervention Fabian LovettIn the middle of the 2022 campaign.
and defensive end Jared Verseperhaps just as important as Lovett, also missed the better part of two games after leaving the first half of the Louisville Mid-September competition with a knee injury. Verse may not have been quite the same even when he played in the following competitions.
Dealing with those injuries undoubtedly hampered defensive efforts. But last Saturday’s 41-16 win over Georgia Tech gave the Seminoles a glimpse of what they could be on this side of the ball with both Lovett and Verse playing at the same time. FSU put in a dominant display for extended periods against the struggling Yellow Jackets as the Seminoles only allowed 264 yards of total attack.
It was the first time Verse and Lovett had played at the same time since FSU’s Week 1 victory over LSU. All of them were upset against Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets averaged 2.62 yards per game over the 13 plays Lovett and Verse played simultaneously.
“Definitely getting healthy at the right time, and I feel like it would be great for us,” said veteran defender Leonard Warner.
Lovett walked out of Georgia Tech feeling happy. He had the big toe on his good leg he stepped on during the competition – something Lovett and his coach Mike Norville They only had to laugh and shake their heads when they passed each other in the hall the day after Lovett returned – but Norville noted he was “awesome” and expected him to be fully active during the week of training. Pro Football Focus gave Lovitt an overall score of 76.8, which showed that he could play at a high level despite getting rid of some rust.
For Verse, his overall score of 77.9 against Georgia Tech was his highest since the LSU competition (84.1) before his injury the following week.
Missing the duo, or not working together 100 percent, has certainly posed some challenges this season. Young Edge Defender Patrick Payton It should become an integral part of the base rotation, and Warner’s use doubled. Meanwhile, FSU had to slip Dennis Briggs From the end to the occasional defensive intervention to help the inner depth as a start Robert Cooper Also missed some time while the highest reserves Garrett Jackson And the Malcolm Ray Injury battles as well.
It wasn’t pretty either because FSU suffered a three-game slip in October, with poor defensive performances in games against Wake Forest and Clemson.
But at the time, Payton and Warner emerged as serviceable players during a junior defensive intervention Josh Farmer Sometimes flicker.
As a result of some of these developments, FSU felt confident moving Briggs into defensive tackle with a more routine ability. back Amary Jennerwho also came back from injury recently, showed his potential as a reckless rusher in limited action against Georgia Tech and numbers to help out on the defensive end, some going forward based on his performances last week.
The Seminoles are entering the final phase of the season with competition looming Miami (Saturday at 7:30 p.m., ABC) and FloridaAnd their defense front is largely intact for the first time since the start of the year. They are 14th nationally in cyst rate (9.2%) and have shown the potential to wreak havoc on occasion.
Now with most of the key pieces still intact, FSU may benefit from the last month or so of growing pains during this pivotal extension,
“I definitely think we’re stronger than we were when we went into the LSU game because of Fabian’s injury, my injury, the injuries across the line of defense,” Vers said. “The younger guys had to step up, they didn’t get that chance to just be freshmen, just sophomores, be guys and just sit and watch how the old guys do it. They had to step up. Now they have real game experience, so they are more advanced. Than most other schools or most other guys across the country, frankly.
“And after coming back, coming back Fabian, coming back defensive players who were injured, I think we’re stronger than we’ve ever been.”