September 17, 2007

Linebackers starting to gel

The statistics don't lie.

In the first two games the Seminole defense cut its missed tackles by more than half going 31 at Clemson to 15 versus UAB. Against Colorado, Mickey Andrews' troops took another positive step reducing that number to a mere nine. As a result of making sure tackles, the defense had its best game of the season by far and nearly recorded a rare shutout.

"(We had) the fewest number of missed tackles we've had maybe in years," Andrews said. "We had nine missed tackles, compared to what was it, 30 or so, the first week. It's not a secret. If you want to play great defense, finish. Finish on the receiver, finish on the quarterback, finish on the ballcarrier. If you're
gonna become a better defense, you've got to get better tackling. That's just what it boils down to."

"We had the mentality that all the mistakes we made in the last two games were going to be corrected," linebacker Geno Hayes added. "We might have a mistake here and there but we are going to play ball regardless."

One of the main reasons for the improved play of the defense has been the linebackers. The top six in the rotation - Derek Nicholson, Geno Hayes, Dekoda Watson, Marcus Ball, Todderick Verdell and Recardo Wright - easily surpassed their tackle totals against Clemson and UAB of 22 and 16, respectively, by racking up 30 tackles at Colorado. The unit also amassed more tackles for loss (2) and pass break-ups (2) then in any other game this season.

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