The FSU football defense was much better than folks(even some supposed FSU media) want to give credit in 2022. The context of FSU having to play several games without Fabien Lovett and with Jared Verse operating around 75 percent tells more of the story.
Most of the flaws in the defense were a direct result of those injuries, coupled with the lack of depth. Some folks have said the secondary stats were misleading or not accurate, while others have said the secondary doesn’t know how to play zone defense.
Both statements are not true. Did the secondary leave some plays on the field? Absolutely, there are several I’d like to have back from last year.
The defense should be even better in 2023 with the added talent and depth along the defensive line. FSU returns both starting linebackers, but the loss of 2X All-ACC safety Jammie Robinson will be hard to replace.
With that, ESPN’s David Hale stated he beleived FSU had the best secondary in the ACC last year, and will have the best secondary in 2023:
Hale usually researches his takes well and correctly pointed out FSU would have the worst WR unit before the 2021 season.
He’s not wrong here, either. The biggest issue for FSU’s defense last year was defending the run once Fabien Lovett got hurt. FSU didn’t have the requisite depth to hold up against solid offensive lines, and once the backups entered the game, teams established the run. Wake Forest ran the ball.
NC State couldn’t throw the ball, but they could run it enough to move the chains. Aside from a busted coverage TD, Clemson’s Will Shipley was their offense, running the ball. Florida ran the ball with success, aside from three touchdown passes. The FSU secondary only allowed a 56 percent completion rate and 165 yards per game.
As Hale mentioned, the addition of All-ACC Fentrell Cypress and experienced players like Renardo Green, Jarrian Jones, Greedy Vance, AZ Thomas, Akeem Dent, and Shyheim Brown make it a formidable secondary. The improved front seven should make them even better.