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Theater of Operations, Florida Vs. Florida State: Previewing Florida State's Defense

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Theater of Operations hopes that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving festivities yesterday, but now, it's back to business, as it's nearly Florida State gameday!

Remember how sweet Johnson to Green was? Well, I wouldn't expect for anything like that to happen this Saturday when the Gators take on the Florida State Seminoles. The truth of the matter is pretty clear: The offenses of both teams should be "adjusted," if you know what I mean. In terms of total offense, the Seminoles rank 51st, and the Gators rank 91st. Yeah, that's not a good thing. Now granted, a lot of the Gators' struggles where when John Brantley was out, but still, even with him it isn't like the Gators offense has set the world on fire.

This game is going to be about the defenses. The Seminole defense is ranked a very impressive 7th overall in the country. The Gators aren't far behind them at all, at 18th overall. Which means there is no denying that the Seminoles are bringing an elite defense to The Swamp this Saturday.

The Seminoles boast serious talent along the defensive line with Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner, who have a combined 13 sacks on the season. Senior linebacker Nigel Bradham is the leader of the defense and Lamarcus Joyner is one of the best defensive backs in the country. The bottom line is, they've got talent on the defensive side of the ball. The Gators offense (read: offensive line and receivers) are going to have to bring their "A" game.

Before I begin, I must say that because it is either the end of the season and it just appears that way, the Seminoles musts lead the nation in turnovers ratio. They probably don't and it just appears that way, but I kid you not. It is unbelievable. I mean, every single game it seems like all the Seminoles do is sack someone like eight times, and  get like four interceptions.

Play No. 1: Nigel Bradham's interception against Oklahoma:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Landry Jones (green circle) is going to be under a lot of pressure. A lot.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

At this moment, Jones isn't under much pressure at all. But unless the receiver at the top (no circle) is running a curl route, nobody is going to be open at this time.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Despite a possible hold (yellow square) the Florida State defense is still getting pressure. The defensive back (top yellow square) is now off his check of the receiver, and has a clear lane to get to the quarterback.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Everett Dawkins (bottom yellow circle) has gotten passed his possible hold and is now chasing Jones. The defensive back (top yellow circle) is also in hot pursuit.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

The defensive back hits the quarterback (yellow square) in the process of throwing. This of course causes a disrupted throw so bad, that the ball (red circle) flutters about ten yards.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Nigel Bradham (yellow square) makes a great diving catch for the interception.

Play No. 2: Bjoern Werner's interception return for a touchdown against Clemson:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

This play, is more or less about being in the right place at the right time for Bjoern Werner (double yellow circle). Linebacker Christian Jones (single yellow circle) does all the work as he will have a free rush on the quarterback.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As you can see, Jones (single yellow circle) is free, while Werner (double yellow circle) has two blockers in front of him. Now, Werner is good, but he isn't that good. Especially when Clemson has an extra blocker available (the running back) just in case.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Jones misses out on the sack (yellow square), but the blockers who were occupying Werner for some inexplicable reason, give up on their block. Werner (yellow circle) is now free to chase the quarterback.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd (yellow square) has done a lot of things well this season. This however, is not one of them. For some reason, he tried to throw the ball away while he was falling. Was his knee down before the ball left his hand? As you can see, no it was not. The ball had already left his hand when his knee hit the ground. Meanwhile, Werner (yellow circle) is on the move towards the ball for an easy play.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Werner (yellow square) will make the catch, and take it to the house for a 25-yard touchdown.

Play No. 3: Brandon Jenkins' sack on Miami quarterback Jacory Harris:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Brandon Jenkins (yellow circle) gets a little help from the secondary (read: coverage down the field), but yeah, speed is a phenomenal asset. Jacory Harris (green circle) has no chance once he realizes that he doesn't have a receiver to throw to.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

While Jenkins is engaged with his blocker (yellow square) you can see that every single Miami receiver (green circles) is marked by a Florida State defender (yellow circles). If the coverage is good, Harris doesn't have a chance.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As you can see, Jenkins (yellow circle) takes the wide route to Harris (green circle). Sure he was pushed out there, but his speed more than makes up for it. The Miami running back (no circle) is on a delayed pass route. Yeah, as it turns out, too delayed.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Miami left-tackle Brandon Washington (yellow square) gives Jenkins the Xavier Nixon treatment. Which is of course to say that he does absolutely nothing.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Jenkins (yellow square) gets the sack.

It is pretty clear, that the strengths of both the Gators and Seminoles, are their defenses. I've also said a few times on Tomahawk Nation that I think both teams are even when it comes to special teams. Thinking about the Gator offensive line trying to block the Seminole defensive line is a headache waiting to happen. The good thing about that, is that when you think about the Seminole offensive line trying to block the Gator defensive line, is the exact same from a 'Nole perspective.

Call it what you wish, but I think the difference between the two teams, is that the Seminoles can throw the ball down the field a little better. The Gator secondary is young and talented, but as we've seen this year (and in 2007) that doesn't always lead to immediate success.

The Seminole offense is ranked, according to Football Outsiders, 44th overall, and the Gators come in at around 73rd overall in the country. It appears that neither team can light up the scoreboard, but one would have to think that the edge belongs to the 'Noles. Even though their running game is equivalent to the Gators' passing game. They both rank 86th in the country respectively.

So what is the over/under on Saturday? Forty-five? Yeah, I'll take the under.