Last season, it took a few games for Florida State Seminoles football to find its footing, especially on defense, as the team struggled out the gate to the tune of an 0-4 record.
While FSU is just two weeks into its 2022 season the team has exhibited a different level of cohesion than seen in previous years, starting off 2-0 for the first time since 2016.
The Seminoles’ defense held relatively stout vs. the LSU Tigers in week one’s major matchup, though it did start to falter down the stretch as the Tigers clawed back into contention.
Ahead of FSU’s conference opener against the Louisville Cardinals, defensive coordinator Adam Fuller spoke on the Seminoles’ win last weekend as well as the challenge ahead this Friday.
Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham has had success against the Seminoles in the past and is definitely on the defense's radar as being one of the better quarterbacks they will face. Fuller spoke about Cunningham’s playmaking ability.
“I think Malik has done it for a long period of time in a dynamic way in this league, I think he’s got everybody’s respect around the country. He plays every week, he’s the leading rusher, you know, he is a dynamic playmaker. He’s beat people over the top with the football he’s beat people running the football, he’s beat people making good decisions, he’s one of the better players in the country and it's important for us to play as a team against him.”
When asked about what Louisville does schematically Fuller said it starts with Cunningham.
“I think number one, he’s that dynamic mover and athlete so I think there are a lot of offenses that fit his skillset. I think traditionally they’ve been a really good running football team, they run the stretch as well as anybody. If you run the ball that sets up other things, whether it's him pulling the ball and going the other way, whether its routes coming back against the grain, whether its misdirection plays off of run action. When you can set up things off of your major play which they do, it creates misdirection plays. They’ve done a nice job of creating big plays over the years with that offense.”
It appeared in the final minutes of last weekend’s nail-biting win against LSU that some of the defensive backs were having communication issues which led to a 99-yard offensive run and potential game-tying score for the tigers. Fuller mentioned the uniqueness of their drive and how it never should’ve been that close.
“There was one, the bigger play before the last play was just, you know, they decided to chip a defensive end which usually in that situation you don’t do very much and so once that happened we were in man coverage underneath with guys over the top and there were no routes, and that route kinda released late and the guy's eyes got put somewhere else. If it wasn't for that route, we’re never in that situation but it’s something we gotta learn from.”
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