Florida State fans everywhere collectively gasped on Monday when they learned the news of projected starting strongside linebacker Nigel Carr's arrest on two felony and misdemeanor charges each.
Today, we learned that Head Coach Jimbo Fisher has suspended Carr indefintely until the case resolves itself.
Losing Carr will sting as he has played very well as a backup the past two years and was voted the most dependable linebacker at the end of spring practice. Those two things helped propel him into a possible starting role this season.
Here is where Carr's arrest becomes problematic.
According to FSU's depth chart, Senior Mister Alexander is listed as Carr's backup at the SAM position (strongside). Mister has certainly paid his dues and deserves to be in contention for a starting role, but having a converted safety as a strongside linebacker is a recipe for failure.
Let me explain.
The SAM linebacker's role is to set the edge and be able to take on blockers to make tackles along with the MIKE (middle) linebacker. This would not be well-suited to a converted safety.
Here is how the coaches might solve this curious case.
Enter Nigel Bradham, easily FSU's best linebacker. It has been debated many a time that Bradham is out of place as a WILL (weakside) linebacker.
Linebackers coach Greg Hudson could do a double switch and move Alexander to the Will position and Bradham to the SAM position.
This makes sense as Bradham meets all the qualifications with his superior physical gifts of strength and speed. This would leave Alexander in the spot that better fits his skills, which are pass-rushing and just generally making plays.
FSU fans might also see former MIKE linebacker Vince Williams move to the strongside as he is currently Bradham's backup on the weakside. Vince, like Bradham, seems out of place on the weakside and his strong frame would be of excellent use on the strongside.
The wildcard in this case is freshman Christian Jones, a fomer five-star recruit.
Expect him to alternate between both spots where coaches can utilize his pass-rushing ability on the weakside and his excellent tackling ability on the strongside.
Couple these changes with our MIKE linebackers, freshman phenom Jeff Luc and veteran Kendall Smith, and now FSU's coaches have solved the curious case of the linebacking corps, which will lead to a much better defense in the fall.
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