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Verica: Seminoles don't blitz as much as people might think

Florida State leads the nation in sacks (19) thus far this season. Six teams are tied for second with 14. So clearly, the Seminoles are doing something right in their pass rush.

But according to Virginia fifth-year senior quarterback Marc Verica, Florida State's high sack total does not necessarily reflect a blitz-heavy defensive design. Rather, the Seminoles' four down linemen are just that good at creating pressure.

"They run pretty simple stuff, a lot of zone stuff," Verica said Wednesday. "They don't really blitz that much. They get a lot of pressure with their front four, so a lot of people who don't really know what's going on, they're thinking: 'Wow, Florida State has all these sacks. They must be blitzing a ton.' But that's not it at all.

"They create pressure with their four down linemen, with a lot of twists and stunts and stuff like that, and they play a zone behind it. We'll have our opportunities to do some things, but they're a fast, quick defense. Overall, they're pretty good, so we definitely have a good challenge."

Sophomore defensive end Brandon Jenkins -- 6 feet 3, 250 pounds -- headlines Florida State's defensive line. He has tallied 19 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. He also has forced a fumble. Virginia offensive line coach Ron Mattes called Jenkins "a quick little cat" who is "very slippery."

As for Florida State's other starting defensive linemen, senior defensive end Markus White -- 6-4, 265 pounds -- has registered 15 tackles, forced one fumble and recovered two of them. Sophomore defensive tackle Everett Dawkins -- 6-2, 285 pounds -- has recorded 12 tackles, 4 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks. And sophomore nose guard Jacobbi McDaniel -- 6 feet, 298 pounds -- has compiled eight tackles and an interception.

Reserve defensive tackles Demonte McAllister -- 6-2, 280 pounds -- and Anthony McCloud -- 6-2, 302 pounds -- have combined for 17 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks.

"They're a big, physical unit up front," Mattes said. "Their tackles are big boys. They're all big thick defensive linemen. And their ends, they've got some shape to 'em. It's going to be a challenge to stay in front of them."

By Steve Yanda  | September 30, 2010; 7:39 AM ET
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