Florida State is the rare college football team that can do whatever it wants to opponents. The Seminoles can beat teams running zone or running iso. Jimbo Fisher's team can win by using the tight end or going over the top to wide receivers.
The 'Noles have a tremendous offensive line, running backs galore and the nation's best receiving group. Oh, and a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback out there directing the traffic.
However, if a team is looking for a play to neutralize against Florida State, it is Kelvin Benjamin on the deep slant-shallow post. He consistently kills teams with the route, running it short against man coverage or one-high safety, and getting deeper against two-high safety looks. Everyone points to the fade to Benjamin, and it is a truly obscene weapon, but the inside push is the killer.
The look has evolved into a route that Benjamin has mastered and truly made his own. The redshirt sophomore can run the route out of a three-by-one or out of a two-by-two formation, and it always works for him because he understands where he needs to get to so that he is open.
With FSU, it has become a slant-post combination. Benjamin is really good at getting to the interior and finding his own space. The 'Noles use the look out of double slants, they push the post out of a Houston-type concept. The trigger is less about the route concept as a whole and more about getting Benjamin to the soft interior of the defense.
Here, against Florida, Benjamin is being covered by No. 24, Brian Poole, and he works the route shallow against the one-high safety to get to the interior, and ultimately, the end zone. Benjamin pushes flat, because if he carries it up the field he will run himself into the safety, No. 21 Jabari Gorman.
In man coverage, Benjamin is too big for the defensive backs to get around. He can block them from the football and secure the catch. And, as he shows against the Gators, he can get that big frame into the end zone.
Against Wake Forest, Benjamin again works his frame to wall off the defensive back from the football. Here, he comes from the outside, to the inside getting behind the hook-curl safety and making himself a big target for Winston.
In the ACC Championship Game against Duke, Benjamin bends it inside, behind Rashad Greene's clear out route. Greene is the open receiver, but Winston opts for Benjamin, the big target, and the receiver makes good on it by securing the catch in traffic and getting to the end zone.
The Seminoles are a complete football team. They don't build off of one concept to create success. Rather, they are a team well-rounded enough to beat teams in every facet.
If teams play coverage, they will run the ball. If teams blitz, they will throw hot routes. If teams play man, they'll use Benjamin. If teams play zone, they'll use Greene and Kenny Shaw to find holes. If teams focus on the wideouts, Nick O'Leary, the tight end, becomes the problem.
This team does not have the base concept like Auburn, or Oregon or even like Alabama and its heavy zone run looks in 2013. They do everything, and they do it at a high level. This inside stem from Benjamin is just one of the things they do, and it is one of those things for which teams have no answer.
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