How much disdain does Florida State's DeMarcus Walker harbor for UF? Evidently, enough for the end-of-the-season Florida rivalry to loom large, even with the Miami Hurricanes calling on the Seminoles in early October.
During FSU's "Miami Week," I asked the standout 'Nole DE if the 'Canes were still the Seminoles' biggest rival, or if Florida State's recent domination of UM had resulted in Clemson or Florida usurping that title.
Walker answered, initially, in a rather predictable, politically correct fashion, one typical of most players and coaches: "Every game we approach with great intensity." But he couldn't hold back the rancor reserved for Florida.
"As far as history, we've got a couple of alumni back home [Jacksonville], they can deal with Miami, but they still hate Florida. You can play the Miami fight song in the locker room, and it's probably okay. But if you play that 'Go Gators'-- you're getting annihilated."
Walker has certainly served up his fair share of annihilation this year. He leads the 'Noles with eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss in the 2015 season. His sacks total more than the next two FSU defenders combined (Derwin James and Jacob Pugh, each of whom have three), and is double what first-round draft pick Eddie Goldman had all of last year.
No Seminole has registered more sacks since Bjoern Werner, who was also a first-round pick, had 13 in 2012. You also have to go back to 2012 to find a Florida State defender with more tackles for loss: that's when Werner posted 18, and Cornellius "Tank" Carradine accounted for 13.
With a player like Walker -- and his counterpart Josh Sweat -- on the horizon, these numbers must be concerning for the Gators, who have allowed a Southeastern Conference-worst 33 sacks this season, along with 76 TFLs, which is tied for 11th in the SEC.