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FSU DC Harlon Barnett on turnover luck and getting to the quarterback

The ‘Noles defense has their work cut out for them this weekend against Miami’s N’kosi Perry.

When the ball is on the ground, Florida State has been unlucky. The Seminoles have recovered just two of their opponents thirteen fumbles so far this season. Defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett chuckled when he discussed how many bad breaks the ‘Noles have had when the ball hits the turf, in fact he said he’s never seen anything like it. But, Barnett insisted they just have to keep getting the ball out to give themselves the opportunity to recover.

“Man, tell me about it,” Barnett said. “We’re like ‘Wow, the ball keeps getting on the ground, we have to get to it! Our guys are aware of that and we have a clip of that. We’re just showing them, let’s try to get to the ball. Everybody run and sprint to the ball. We understand that and we’re going to keep working at that. We’re hoping we can keep getting it out and then start getting the ball”

While the ‘Noles haven’t had the turnover luck they would like, they have found some success pressuring the quarterback this year. The defensive line got in the face of Louisville QB Jawon Pass frequently, they just lacked the finishing product. After watching the film, Barnett said there were missed opportunities to get the quarterback on the ground.

“How do you get there quicker? Work with Usain Bolt,” Barnett said. “No, seriously, to be honest there were times when guys were taking paths a little further than they needed to. We need to close out some of the air that was in there. Look at all that space, if you would’ve closed the space down you could’ve got there quicker and faster. That’s what we’ve been talking to our guys about, shortening the distance. Point A to point B is a straight line, so not rounding things out and things like that.”

The job won’t get any easier this weekend when the Seminole defense is tasked with getting to Miami QB N’Kosi Perry, who Barnett says can beat you both ways.

“He’s very athletic and he throws a good ball,” Barnett said. “Lots of people are tabbed, if he’s a runner he can’t throw. Well, he can do both. He’s a good football player. He’s confident and obviously they believe in him. He’s playing for them after he moved a guy out and became the starter. So, it says a lot about him and what they think about him.”

This weekend will be Barnett’s first experience on the front lines of the FSU-Miami rivalry, and he is excited to be a part of it.

“One of the greatest rivalries in college football,” the first year Seminole defensive coordinator said. “A lot of great athletes running around playing fast, physical, aggressive, and hitting each other, man. It’s great memories. It’s a great rivalry and great for college football. I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”