One major reason the defense improved last season was the pass rush from Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas. Those two guys will now play on Sundays, so FSU football needs to find a way to replace that production.
They accounted for 18 sacks, nearly 30 tackles for a loss, 27 QB hurries, and over 100 tackles. The coaches went to the transfer portal again for reinforcements with the addition of Jared Verse.
They slid Dennis Briggs Jr. back out to the defensive end, and they hope the development of Derrick McLendon, Patrick Payton, and Byron Turner Jr. will be enough to somewhat offset what they lost from those two players.
I don’t think they can replicate it, but I don’t think the dropoff will be too severe. The only problem is we won’t know until we see them play in actual games.
The sacks would be great, but if they can affect the QB enough and get him off his spot, that would be impactful too.
The good news is the linebackers and secondary should be better, which may lead to a few more coverage sacks. If this unit can sustain a legitimate pass rush?
This defense will be a problem for most offenses.