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Hold on! Florida State's defensive line frustrated, motivated by no-calls

Many ACC teams do not have the players to block Florida State's line. But that's no problem as long as they're allowed to get away with hold after blatant hold.

Matt Herndon

When watching the Florida State defensive line play on Saturdays, it's easy to see one thing -- the countless holds that are either missed or ignored by ACC officials. While, at times, it seems so obvious, it's nearly impossible to make every call on every play and get them right. There are some teams in this conference that simply cannot block Florida State. If every hold were called, the games would last five hours.

In consecutive weeks, however, the lack of holding penalties called against Florida State's opponents has been downright comical.

Once again, it started early in the game against Boston College. With Bjoern Werner pulling a double-team on one end, Tank Carradine was allowed to come clean on the other. Before Carradine can meet face to face with the quarterback, he is wrapped up around the neck and practically pulled to the ground. No flag.

This is exactly the kind of thing that can't be missed by the referees, especially in crucial situations. It's blatant. And to say the refs missed it doesn't really work. "Ignored" works better. With Tank rightfully upset, his teammates had to pull him aside.

"I saw Tank get held a lot tonight," Bjoern Werner said. "I always have to be the guy getting him down before he destroys somebody. I have to slow him down on the sidelines and tell him to keep going, and that's what he did."

While keeping their motors running and playing through the holds are what they're supposed to do, sometimes that isn't enough. If you're a great defensive end, you will be held. And with Florida State having two of the premier defensive ends in the country, they get held -- a lot. Sometimes the excessive holding calls for a little campaigning on their part.

"Coaches say you have to try to ingore it," Bjoern Werner said. "If you're a good defensive lineman, your gonna get held and it's not gonna get called every time. But when it's really ridiculous, we have to say something to the ref -- like today when Tank got tackled from the back."

It's impossible to get every call on every play, but the referees have to recognize repeat offenders. The guys that are constantly getting beat and are forced to hold. These are the times when flags should be thrown. When a defensive lineman is out there running on all cylinders but being dragged to the ground, he takes it personally, and sometimes carries it around on his shoulders.

"I remember last week in the NC State game talking to the ref saying - come on, the man holding me," Demonte McAllister said. "He told me if I win [the play is a good result for the defense], he's not gonna call it for me -- but if I'm losing -- then he'll call it. I wasn't even trying to hear that."

While extremely frustrating for the line, this is something that elite defensive linemen have to constantly deal with. They can't let being held take away from their game or effort, and can't let it get in their heads and distract them. Some of them might even take it as a compliment -- or fuel to their fire.

"It's motivation for you," defensive tackle Everett Dawkins said. "If they gotta hold you to stop you, then you know you're doing something right."

The Seminoles are doing a lot of things right on their defensive front, and these holds are just an ode to their athleticism and talent. Yes, it can be frustrating as a fan, and especially a player, but it must be nice to know that -- as a member of this defensive front -- every time you are coming at the opposition, they are wide-eyed and doing anything and everything to slow you down -- legal or not.

Now if the Seminoles could just get it called in a conference game.