Florida State linebacker Nigel Bradham looks for a sack
This year, the Florida State Seminoles enter the season with a proven offense led by a Heisman-hopeful quarterback in Christian Ponder. With that being said, that side of the ball is the least of Jimbo Fisher's and the 'Noles' worries.
Last year the Seminoles' defense, known in the past to be the program's strength, finished the season ranked an embarrassing 108th in the nation.
And if that doesn't paint a clear enough picture, take a look at the Georgia Tech game last year; Ponder managed to toss five touchdowns and lead the offense to an incredible 539 yards, but still somehow lost in the shootout with the Yellow Jackets.
It's not too often that a quarterback throws for five touchdowns with no interceptions and still finds himself in the loss column.
Fisher and his new hires of Greg Hudson and Mark Stoops will be looking to turn the unit around this year and get it back to typical Florida State standards. The changes are already being seen in Tallahassee.
Contrary to last year, in its preseason scrimmages, Florida State's defense has been holding its own against Fisher's potent offense, perhaps even outplaying the offense.
Fisher noted that, at times, Ponder has looked "confused" when trying to read the defense and find an open target.
But don't fret about the offense, 'Noles fans. This is the way it's supposed to be. Last year in the preseason, the offense sliced and diced the defense with ease, and what did that get Florida State?
A potent offense, of course, but also the 108th-ranked defense in the nation. You won't win many games with a defense ranked that low, as seen last year.
Under new defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, the Seminoles will be straying away from man coverage and converting to zone defense. Not only will this provide for better overall coverage, but also bigger hits and more excitement for Florida State fans.
Stoops is also implementing a multiple-defense game plan, which is most likely what has been causing Ponder's confusion. It's designed to keep opposing quarterbacks and offenses on their toes, as the 'Noles will often run several different defenses during a series.
Along with Stoops' scheme, the 'Noles have the luxury of an experienced, talented unit this coming season. Linebacker Nigel Bradham is expected to have a breakout season, and the secondary will be led by the talented corner Greg Reid and safety Terrance Parks.
Needless to say, talent is not in short supply on the defensive side of the ball.
Add all of those ingredients together, and Florida State's defense could be heading back to Seminole standards of old.
And if the defense does manage to put it together this year, Seminoles fans can expect to be very pleased with this season's outcome.