December 3, 2013

FSU WRs, offense on pace for historic numbers

When asked about facing Duke's prolific wide receiver Jamsion Crowder, FSU safetyTerrence Brooks grinned.

"I feel like you need way more than one player to really dominate or to give us a threat," Brooks said. "You need a whole team that can pose a threat - like our offense."

Brooks has plenty of experience with FSU's offense going against it every day in practice. And he's got a point: FSU's offense is on pace to potentially be the most prolific attack in NCAA history - and it's largely due to the Seminoles' trio of potent wide receivers.

The Seminoles have already written their way into the record books for a number of different statistics; most notably, quarterback Jameis Winston has already thrown more touchdown passes this season than any quarterback in Florida State history.

In fact, FSU is on pace to finish as the highest-scoring offense in NCAA history. The Seminoles need to average just 36 points per game in the final two contests to finish with more points than any other team. The current record is Oklahoma's 2008 team which finished with 716 points in 14 games. FSU is at 644 and averaging 53.7 points per game this season.

Winston has been consistent with his praise for the wide receivers catching the ball this season, and it's easy to see why.

Kelvin Benjamin provided the most recent evidence by hauling in 212 yards and three touchdowns at Florida on Saturday. But his performance made another benchmark a real possibility. With two games to play this season, Benjamin, Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw are all within 80 yards of one another. All three are approaching 1,000 receiving yards on the season.

"To me it's what you have to have. People can take guys away from you, there's no doubt. But, the other guys, if they do that they have to give someone up and we have guys that we think can have plays at all levels and to me that's the key. … If you can distribute it across- and your quarterback understands that when they take this guy away, I've got this, it makes it very tough to defend and now you have to defend the whole field. Hopefully, we'll continue to do that."

If all three break the 1,000-yard barrier, it would be only the second time in NCAA history that a team has had three 1,000-yard wide receivers and the first time for any major-conference team.

Greene, the leader in catches and yards, said breaking 1,000 yards would be a good individual honor, but that he's not worried about it. He said he's more proud of the versatility of FSU's offense, and the knowledge that the wide receiving corps gives opposing defenses fits.

"To me we have a lot of confidence going in, because defensively, I feel like they have to be honest with us," Greene said. "You can't just focus on one guy we have two more that can do the same things. The only thing different is our sizes but all of us can do the same things. It's scary to me."

Greene isn't the only one who finds FSU's wide receivers scary. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said he'd already getting headaches trying to figure out how to stop them.

"They're not some of them good, they're all good," Cutcliffe said. "They've got size and speed. They've got quickness. ….They're difficult. They're very difficult to match up with. I've been looking at that all morning, and they cause everyone problems in that regard, just the match-ups, because like I said, it's not just speed and quickness, it's also size that's such an issue. We'll be working all week on an answer."

So far, it seems like Cutcliffe will be trying to solve what 12 other teams failed to.

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