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Harlon Barnett emphasizing physicality against a strong Boston College run game

When healthy, Eagles running back AJ Dillon is one of the best backs in the ACC.

Courteney Korosec-Tomahawk Nation

Last week the Florida State defense was dominated by Notre Dame’s rushing attack.

This week, they will look to right the ship at home against Boston College in another game where stopping the run will be a challenge—especially if the Eagles’ star running back AJ Dillon is healthy.

Last Saturday, in the fourth quarter against Clemson, Dillon re-aggravated an ankle injury that saw him miss two consecutive games earlier in the season. Despite his two game absence, Dillon still has the third most rushing yards in the ACC and leads the conference in rushing attempts.

Florida State defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett said that Boston College’s run game led by Dillon will be unlike anything else the ‘Noles have seen this year.

“They do it differently,” Barnett said. “The like to run the football, like you just said. Their head coach is a former offensive line coach. So, this is the second guy that we’ve faced like that, that I know of. The Northern Illinois guy was an offensive line coach as well. They’re going to do what they feel comfortable doing, and they do a good job at it.”

And while the defense always needs to play a physical game, Barnett says that his unit will have to ramp up their physicality against a great offensive line and bruising running back.

“You got to be physical in this football game. You know that’s what their guys are being told and we’re telling our guys the same thing. We always say, ‘play fast, physical, and aggressive,’ but let’s put an emphasis on physical this week. Everybody has to be ready to play a physical football game on Saturday.”

Barnett praised the ability of AJ Dillon and said that one of the ACC’s best backs isn’t just a big man.

“He has good vision and feet,” Barnett said. “He is very nimble to be so big. I think those are great qualities of a good running back. You know, vision, feet, and then he has the size with it. And, he’s not a slow big guy. He can run, he can run pretty good.”

Harlon Barnett talks to the media before Wednesday’s practice

Posted by on Wednesday, November 14, 2018