July 15, 2012

Trends: Pass rush stays among nation's elite

After leading the nation with 48 sacks in 2010, Florida State was again close to the national lead in 2011 with 40 sacks, good for the eighth most in the country.

Even though FSU's sack total was down in 2011 opposing quarterbacks may have been on the run even more than in 2010. The Seminoles had 30 quarterback hurries in 2011, their highest total in the last six years.

Once again defensive end Brandon Jenkins led the way for FSU with eight sacks as he was named second-team All-ACC. After recording 13.5 sacks in 2010, Jenkins had to fight through double teams early in the season before fellow defensive end Bjoern Werner proved he was a legitimate threat off the edge on the other side.

Werner had seven sacks and a team-high eight quarterback hurries as he was named All-ACC honorable mention in his first season as a starter. Even when Werner couldn't break through the offensive line he still managed to put pressure on quarterbacks with nine pass deflections.

In addition to Jenkins and Werner, FSU also got solid production off the edge from Cornelius Carradine. In his first season at the Division I level the junior college transfer was third on the team with 5.5 sacks in a reserve role. The three defensive ends recorded 20.5 of FSU's 40 sacks.

It is the third time in the last seven years that FSU has gotten at least 20 sacks out of its defensive ends, a trend that figures to continue in 2012 as Jenkins, Werner, and Carradine all return and five-star signee Mario Edwards looks to be ready to contribute right away.

Up the middle the FSU pass rush got production from its top four defensive tackles on the depth chart. True freshman Timmy Jernigan led all DTs with 2.5 sacks despite not starting a single game. Starters Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud each had two sacks, and Cameron Erving (who switched to offensive line in the spring) had one sack.

During the last seven years FSU hasn't gotten much production from its defensive tackles, who recorded just 13.5 sacks from 2006-2009. As the size and strength of FSU's defensive tackles has grown so has their pass rush production, with 15.5 sacks in the last two seasons combined.

Seminole linebackers continue to be a big part of the pass rush as they recorded 10 sacks in 2011. It was the third straight season that FSU linebackers recorded at least 10 sacks. Rising juniors Christian Jones and Telvin Smith led the way with three sacks apiece. Starting middle linebacker Vince Williams had two sacks, as did departed senior Nigel Bradham.

The FSU secondary also contributed a pair of sacks as safety Lamarcus Joyner and cornerback Mike Harris each brought down the quarterback once.

In 2012 FSU's pass rush will continue to be the strength of the defense with tremendous depth along the defensive line and across the defense returning. In 2011 FSU recorded 40 sacks by 13 different players. This fall 10 of the 13 players who recorded a sack last season will line up for the FSU defense, representing 36 of the 40 sacks recorded.

Six-year breakdown of FSU's pass rush


Total Sacks: 40.

Sacks by defensive ends: 20.5

Sacks by defensive tackles: 7.5

Sacks by linebackers: 10

Quarterback hurries: 30


Total Sacks: 48.

Sacks by defensive ends: 27.

Sacks by defensive tackles: 8.

Sacks by linebackers: 10.5

Quarterback hurries: 11.


Total Sacks: 26.

Sacks by defensive ends: 4.

Sacks by defensive tackles: 2.

Sacks by linebackers: 15.5

Quarterback hurries: 22.


Total Sacks: 39.0

Sacks by defensive ends: 25.

Sacks by defensive tackles: 4.

Sacks by linebackers: 8.5.

Quarterback hurries: 18.


Total Sacks: 29.

Sacks by defensive ends: 12.

Sacks by defensive tackles: 5.5

Sacks by linebackers: 9.

Quarterback hurries: 6.


Total Sacks: 27.

Sacks by defensive ends: 8.

Sacks by defensive tackles: 2.

Sacks by linebackers: 15.

Quarterback hurries: 9.

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