TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher will be perfectly happy to not face another triple-option team anytime in the near future.
The top-ranked Seminoles had three defensive linemen go down with injuries during the 37-12 win over The Citadel on Saturday.
The triple-option scheme calls for cut-blocks that, though legal, put defenders at risk. Florida State hopes the injuries aren’t serious for a defensive line already thin on experience.
”Those guys that cut and chop like that, it’s crazy,” Fisher said. ”I’d rather play more conventional teams. Just because of the chance of injuries that occur.”
Starting defensive tackle Eddie Goldman went down during the first series, and his replacement, sophomore Justin Shanks, was hurt in the second series. Starting nose guard Nile Lawrence-Stample was injured in the second quarter. All three were lost for the game with lower leg injuries. Goldman was seen on crutches and wearing a boot on his left foot after the game.
Fisher didn’t know the extent of the injuries afterward.
The Citadel was never flagged for an illegal chop-block – cutting a player who is already engaged with another blocker – and Fisher said the blocks were legal. But there was a moment after the second injury when Fisher looked upset on the sideline. Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. said there were illegal blocks.
”I felt like they were playing a little dirty, taking cheap shots,” Edwards said. ”You know, doing little high-lows, things like that.
”Every option team does it. They love to cut. They do cut work just like a quarterback does a five-step drop. That’s what they were taught to do. I don’t necessarily think they were taught to do high-lows. But they did it numerous times. I didn’t feel like the ref was calling that. I told the D-line, just play with your hands.”
Goldman is the biggest loss after he started all but one game on the national championship team. A five-star freshman in 2012, he played defensive end last year and was versatile enough to move inside this season.
Lawrence-Stample is in his second year starting on the line. He played tackle last year and slid over to nose guard in 2014 to replace Timmy Jernigan, the Baltimore Ravens’ second-round draft pick.
Fisher had talked about getting Shanks some action early in the week after he impressed in practices, but he didn’t last long.
The Seminoles have seven freshman defensive linemen who were one of the hot topics of training camp. Demarcus Christmas (6-foot-3, 302 pounds), Lorenzo Featherston (6-7, 220 pounds), Rick Leonard (6-7, 268 pounds) and Derrick Nnadi (6-2, 303 pounds) were all highly ranked recruits. Nnadi played early Saturday after the injuries. Edwards can slide inside if Fisher decides to bring another defensive end on the field.
”It’s definitely going to affect us,” defensive end Derrick Mitchell Jr. said. ”(Goldman’s) a big part of our defense, a very important part. With all the guys going down, I think this week will be real important.”
Injuries piling up in an easy win against an FCS opponent is a worst-case scenario for those types of games. But Florida State is fortunate to have an open week before hosting Clemson on Sept. 20 in a key ACC matchup.