FSU Notes: Vanilla D still makes its mark

April, 13, 2013
4/13/13
8:00
PM ET
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It's tough to say with any level of certainty just how many sacks Florida State's defense would have recorded if Saturday's spring game was played under true game conditions, but even if the quarterbacks couldn't get hit, Jeremy Pruitt's new-look defense had a strong showing.

[+] EnlargePj Williams
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsP.J. Williams intercepted Jacob Coker on Saturday, returning the pick for a touchdown.
Overall, the two teams recorded nine sacks in Saturday's scrimmage, led by defensive tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample's 3.5, which would've been impressive under any circumstances. But as Jimbo Fisher pointed out after the game, those numbers came from a relatively vanilla scheme.

"You ain't seen blitzes yet," Fisher said with a grin.

In his first year as Florida State's defensive coordinator, Pruitt has installed an aggressive style that promises to offer a myriad of looks designed to get after the quarterback.

Saturday's spring game wasn't exactly a sneak peak, however, with a number of key defensive starters out with injuries and only a watered-down version of Pruitt's game plan implemented. But the past four weeks have been eye-opening, linebacker Christian Jones said, and there's ample reason for excitement.

"This spring, we pretty much put in the whole playbook, and we just ran a little sample of it," Jones said. "We've done a pretty good job of picking it all up, but it's a lot of stuff, a lot of checks, change the fronts, but we've done a good job of handling all that. Once we get into the fall and can game plan, I think we're going to have a real scary defense."

It wasn't all smooth sailing for the defense Saturday, as all four of Florida State's quarterbacks managed at least one touchdown pass, but there was plenty of room for optimism. Lamarcus Brutus and Karlos Williams both intercepted passes, and P.J. Williams came up with a pick of a Jacob Coker throw that he returned for a touchdown.

"I thought the defense played well," Fisher said. "I'm very pleased with the way they're playing."

Injury bug: Thanks to a rash of injuries in the backfield during the final few practices of the spring, fullback Chad Abram was the only healthy scholarship runner available for Saturday's spring game. That didn't last.

Abram rushed 13 times for 43 yards with a touchdown and caught two passes for 26 yards, but he also rolled his foot on one play that left him in a walking boot afterward.

"It's hurting really bad, but I should be rested," Abram said of what he believed to be a turf toe injury.

Left tackle Cameron Erving also left Saturday's game late in the fourth quarter, and a myriad of other regulars missed the action altogether because of injuries, but Fisher said none are overly concerning.

"We got banged and bruised, but I don't think there's anybody we're not going to have back in the fall," Fisher said.

Getting his kicks: None of the field goals came with a true rush, but that didn't mean first-year kicker Roberto Aguayo didn't have nerves.

The redshirt freshman flubbed his first field-goal try of the day -- a 47-yard attempt -- but settled in nicely after that.

Aguayo replaces longtime kicker Dustin Hopkins, and while he'll have a tough time matching the success of his predecessor, he used the rest of Saturday's scrimmage to answer any questions about his leg strength.

Aguayo connected on his next five kicks after the initial miss, including field goals of 47, 51 and 58 yards -- the last coming as time expired.

"He got a little nervous on the first one," Fisher said, "but he settled down and you saw the talent."

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