October 5, 2011

Insider Report: Wake's blitz to challenge FSU RB's

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One of the biggest challenges the Florida State (2-2, 0-1) offense will face this weekend against Wake Forest (3-1, 2-0) is picking up the Demon Deacon's blitzes.

Wake Forest will bring pressure from all over the field in an effort to disrupt opposing offenses.

"Defensively, they're playing a lot of different looks - a lot of blitz pressure," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said on Monday. "The corners are doing a good job of bringing the pressure on a lot of plays."

The fact that the Deacons will bring pressure from anywhere in the defnse, means the Seminole running backs will have to be on their toes and ready to pick up a blitz from any angle.

"We're just going to have to really study how they blitz, where they blitz, just their demeanor because we're going to have a lot of blitzes to pick up," running back Chris Thompson said on Wednesday. "Just knowing how each player blitzes will help us out a lot."

Fullback Lonnie Pryor said he and the rest of the running backs have to pay attention to what Wake is doing before each snap, so they don't miss a delayed blitz.

"Sometimes when they bring the safety blitz they'll come from distance, you just can't run out into your route," Pryor said. "You've got to check to make sure no one is coming. They bring the corner, they bring the linebacker, and the safety. They do a lot of different things, you've just go to make sure you check everything before you run out into your route and everything."

Hopkins streaking

Dustin Hopkins would rather not know the number of extra points he has kicked in a row, the number that puts him in line to become the FSU record holder.

"I've heard mention of something like that, but I haven't looked up any stats, I'm trying not to look at that kind of stuff, as of recently. But I hear some rumors about it. I guess I'm kind of aware of it, but at the same time, I'm not looking anything up. I don't know what the number is or anything like that," Hopkins said.

Hopkins has kicked 102 straight extra points and 14 straight field goals. He is six shy of the school record for PAT, which has been held by Derek Schmidt since 1986.

His PAT streak began in 2009 against BYU during his freshman season. His field goal streak began during last year's season. Hopkins doesn't like to think about the numbers, and when asked if he'd like to know, he quickly shook his head.

"I would rather not," he said. "But I appreciate it."

Hopkins has also been extremely successful in kickoffs this season. Last year, 47.7 percent of his kickoffs went for touchbacks, which ranked second nationally. He is off to a comparable start this season, with 14 of his kickoffs going for touchbacks.

Like with his point streak, he doesn't like to focus on the numbers and would rather focus on going out and kicking the ball well.

"It's that whole field position battle for me and Shawn and the other team's kickers. I'm just trying to put them in a good situation. If it's a touchback, great. If it's not, then usually my coverage team has been good enough to where we're at the 20 or inside it."

Despite not liking to dwell on his accomplishments, others are recognizing him for them. He was named ACC Specialist of the Week in Week 3, following his 53 yard and 46 yard field goals against Oklahoma.

Hopkins will not be able to escape talks of record-breaking in the upcoming weeks, which is something he admits to thinking about.

"It's definitely something that I'm striving for. It's a goal of mine to be one of the top kickers, especially here with Graham [Gano] and [Sebastian] Janikowski and just all the great kickers we've had. So it's great to be-and a goal of mine-to be in a conversation with the top guys. And looking back at it each year is definitely something I look at, but as of now, it's just something I'm putting on the backburner, but I definitely look at it eventually. It's important."

It's still worth six

The defensive highlight for FSU two weeks ago in a 35-30 loss to Clemson was XX-yard interception returned for a touchdown by defensive end Bjoern Werner.

After the game though, the official ruling on the play was changed from an interception to a fumble recovery.

Despite losing an interception from his resume, Werner wasn't disappointed at all when asked about it before practice on Wednesday

"Who cares?" he said. "I scored. A touchdown is a touchdown."


  • After retuning to practice this week Fisher is optimistic EJ Manuel will return to the starting lineup on Saturday. "Seems to be ready, we'll have to judge as we go, but seems to be," Fisher said. "I don't ever say anything particular until we get there, but seems to."

  • After being held out of practice on Monday and Tuesday with a knee injury, starting middle linebacker Vince Williams returned to practice on Wednesday

  • Garret Faircloth has been unable to practice the last few days with an undisclosed injury, but Fisher expects him to return on Thursday.

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