Florida State Football: How Defensive Line Plans to Emerge as Nation's Best

Soven Bery@@realsovenberySenior Analyst IMay 28, 2012

Florida State Football: How Defensive Line Plans to Emerge as Nation's Best

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    College Football is a tough game. It is a physical race for the crystal ball and every part of a team needs to be working in perfect harmony in order to dominate the BCS.  

    Florida State won't have to worry about their defensive line as that unit will become the greatest in the nation.

    This year the Noles will try and become one of the best squads in the college football landscape and the run stuffing line will be of solid help in reaching that goal.

    Here is how the Florida State defensive line will emerge as the nation's best. 

Everett Dawkins

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    The senior will anchor Florida State's defensive line in 2012. 

    And what a good anchor that will be. Dawkins is the best defensive lineman on the team by far. In 2011, he led all interior lineman in playing time as the Noles had incredible line play. 

    That time on the field helped morph Dawkins into a disruptive player that diagnosed plays correctly and was able to take over games and lead his team to victory. 

    Expect the extremely versatile lineman to continue that progress into this upcoming season as the Seminoles will boast the best line in the country behind this talented 300-pounder, who will watch his NFL stock rise like a NASA rocket.  

Brandon Jenkins

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    The senior revolution continues at defensive end with Brandon Jenkins leading the way. He jumped out onto the national scene as a sophomore in 2010 and became more well-rounded in his junior year. 

    Jenkins will use 2012 as a stage to show NFL teams, as well as the ACC, what he is capable of. 

    Last season, the 255-pounder lined up at every defensive position except nose tackle. He even notched 57 snaps at linebacker.

    Jenkins is big, quick and became effective in run-stuffing. He will be able to show off his versatility this season for the Seminoles, and that will be a great boon for this unit.  

Size

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    Florida State is planning on beating their opponents with incredible size. Football players are getting bigger, and that is a fact. 

    But Florida State football players are immensely increasing in size, and the ACC needs to watch out. The line is benefiting most from this growth, but it just isn't the players in the middle who are packing on the pounds.

    The defensive ends, who are known for being agile and athletic, are also growing into mammoth man-children with a knack for squashing a play.  

    In 2009, there was only one defensive end on the roster that weighed over 260 pounds. There were five last year and four on this year's spring roster.

    When Jimbo Fisher took over the reins after the 2009 season, he stated that he wanted a defensive line comprised of "grown-ass men."

    Fisher got that wish, and the college football world better bulk up or be beaten.

    This chart puts the size into perspective and shows how big these Noles are.  

Mark Stoops

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    Behind every great player is an even better coach. Look at any sport you want and think of a recent national championship winning team. 

    That squad had a wonderful coach, and I can guarantee it. Coaches are even more important in collegiate sports because they are responsible for turning award-winning high school kids into the NFL stars of tomorrow.  

    Florida State has a solid defensive coordinator in Mark Stoops. He will be responsible for turning this unit into the gem of the nation. 

    In 2010, his first year with the Seminoles, the team ran a base 4-3 defense and threw in some nickel packages. But in 2011, he really started getting funky. 

    Under Stoops they ran a 4-3 defense 63 percent of the time and a 4-2 defense 23 percent of the time. The team introduced the 3-4, 3-3 and two variations of dime defense in the 3-2 and 4-1 styles.

    Stoops has transformed FSU's defense into one of the nation's elite units.

    Expect this defense to grow and develop while the huge and incredibly versatile defensive line stays at the forefront of this unit's rise to national prominence under the tutelage of Mark Stoops. 

Practice

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    Yes, it is a cliche. 

    But the only reason cliches become cliches is because they are so truthful that they are overused.

    This was a team that became the sixth ranked defense in the nation last year. Many are expecting them to become No. 1 in 2012.

    That thought isn't far off.

    The Seminoles allowed only 2.35 yards per carry last season. That stat led the nation.

    The defensive line is the unit that boasted that incredible run stopping rate and will only get bigger and better from here.  

    This defense will quickly become one of the best in America, and with practice, this defensive line can go shooting for the stars, emerging as the best in the nation.