Florida State is reasonably healthy heading into the NC State game this weekend, some bumps and bruises (as you can see in the Injury List) but compared to the scores of missed starts from last year's campaign, things have been mild so far for the Seminoles.
The only major loss for Florida State has been along their D-line, where DE Brandon Jenkins went down the first week. Fortunately the Seminoles boast considerable depth, and Tank Carradine has hardly missed a beat in Jenkins' absence.
Across from the FSU D-Line on Saturday night will be a very banged up NC State offensive line. Per the Wolfpack's injury list on Thursday, the Wolfpack will be without three starters up front.
"The problem we have right now is we're starting our fifth offensive line in six games," said NC State coach Tom O'Brien during Wednesday's media call. "We only have one guy that we came into the season in the position that we wanted guys to be in. That's definitely going to be a concern for us Saturday night against this great front of Florida State."
O'Brien also admitted in the same call that the Seminole front four are arguably the best in the nation, particularly where there ends are concerned. Without the services of three of their five projected starters and with a new mix in there on Saturday night, that could be a disastrous recipe for NC State.
The Seminoles meanwhile are looking forward to the chance to pin their ears back and come after a less-mobile, pocket passing quarterback.
"This quarterback is actually really, really good," said DE Toshmon Stevens. "Even though he doesn’t run around he will kill you with his arm so we have to do our best to either beat the man, or make him beat himself.”
However, compared to the last two quarterbacks, the way Florida State attacks NC State's Mike Glennon will be much different. The past two weeks, the team has asked its ends, particularly Bjoern Werner, to do some different things besides just get after quarterbacks.
"[We asked Bjoern to] be a little more conservative, because if we get him to be a bit more conservative we’ll be able to play off of him," said Stevens when asked about what worked against USF. "Because with BJ [Daniels], when he starts running it’s like a running back with the ball, it’s phenomenal. So we wanted him to stay back in the pocket and try to beat us with his arm so our coverage team would be able to make big plays.”
This week against Mike Glennon reverse that philosophy, Florida State will try to flush the less-mobile quarterback from the pocket and make him throw on the move. Whereas Daniels and Tajh Boyd were ideally kept in the pocket (and not allowed to run around), Glennon is the most dangerous back there and the Seminoles will try and force him to move.
But the Seminoles are also acutely aware the Glennon has just enough mobility to hurt them if they don't respect it.
“Every quarterback is able to run," said Stevens. "They wouldn’t be on the field if they couldn’t but he has a better arm than anything, You have to play football, read off his keys and hopefully we’ll come out successful.”
One thing that should help the D-Line be successful is going up against a beleaguered Wolfpack offensive line. Unlike the Seminoles, NC State doesn't have the depth to absorb losing starters, on Saturday night that could prove very costly.