clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Did FSU’s Jimbo Fisher show confidence in his defensive depth before the Alabama game even began?

No Marshall? No problem.

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Kickoff-Alabama vs Florida State Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Numerous Seminole supporters were somewhat anxious about Florida State’s defense heading into the 2017 season-opener against Alabama. There was certainly no lack of talent on the FSU side, but following the 2016 season, during which players had to sign pledges promising to give their all, effort was a question. And, it’s Alabama. Evidently, neither were an issue for ’Nole Head Coach Jimbo Fisher. And he may have shown that before the contest vs. the Crimson Tide even began.

When Florida State won the coin toss prior to the game, our Bud Elliott, seated next to me in the press box, leaned over and asked: do you take the ball, to minimize the number of defensive snaps FSU has to play without Trey Marshall? Remember, Marshall was serving a one-half suspension following a targeting ejection in last year’s Orange Bowl win over Michigan.

I immediately responded to Bud’s question in the affirmative. It made sense. Get to the half, and get your starting strong safety back. But soon thereafter, the Seminole captains informed the officials that they would defer, and give the Crimson Tide the ball. Bud and I were a little surprised, but most likely would not have been had we known what Fisher probably expected: just how good the FSU defense could play in Marshall’s stead at the safety position.

Ermon Lane, time and again, got players into position just before the snap. A.J. Westbrook continued his upward trajectory, and true freshman Hamsah Nasirildeen had a debut that makes him look like a future star.

Of course, the performance of the defense as a unit was beyond commendable— expect to see it take the field first whenever Fisher has the option in the future, especially since the Seminoles will now be starting true freshman quarterback James Blackman, following a season-ending injury to Deondre Francois.