No. 1 Florida State down a pass rusher; WR returns
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State's Chris Casher remained listed as the starting outside linebacker on Monday's depth chart, but coach Jimbo Fisher said his status remains unknown.
Fisher said the Seminoles are waiting for further information on the sophomore.
Casher was pulled from the lineup due to an ''academic-related matter'' shortly before Florida State's 37-31 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday. He played in 13 games last season, had 25 tackles, including five for loss and was expected to fill the pass-rushing role vacated by Chicago Bears linebacker Christian Jones.
''There's no doubt it'' was an adjustment, Fisher said, ''because he's an excellent player, a great young man and had a great camp.''
The top-ranked Seminoles, however, will have sophomore receiver Jesus ''Bobo'' Wilson back from what became a one-game suspension. Wilson pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors after being arrested for stealing a motor scooter on campus this summer.
''He did everything we asked him to do,'' Fisher said. ''He's been very mature in how he's handled things. I think sometimes taking a guy to a game, having him sit there, is worse than leaving him at home.''
The Seminoles missed both veterans against the Cowboys.
Florida State's defensive front-four didn't apply much pressure against Oklahoma State without help from blitzes, and without Wilson, senior Rashad Greene accounted for 203 of the Seminoles' 370 passing yards.
The Seminoles hope the defensive line is more effective against Citadel Saturday in their home opener.
Fisher said defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. had the best game of those on the front line against Oklahoma State. He had the lone sack and tackle-for-loss of that group. Sophomore DeMarcus Walker started in place of Casher and had the lone quarterback hurry of the group.
The Seminoles play with three traditional down linemen with two defensive end-linebacker hybrids that regularly stand up and can rush or drop into coverage.
Defensive end Eddie Goldman said it wasn't the type of game where they could just pin their ears back because of Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh's mobility.
''You have to be more lane disciplined,'' Goldman said. ''If you go against a Tom Brady-type ... you know he's not going to run so you can kind of get more reckless with your pass rush.''
Fisher was content with the front four on passing downs even though Walsh remained comfortable in the pocket most of the game. He wasn't thrilled with the way the lineman got out of the gaps at times and opened seams in the defense in an attempt to make a big play.
''That's what everybody talks about, sacks,'' Fisher said. ''When you start running up the field, if you're in a zone and match routes that turn into man coverage, you have to have great gap control in your rush. I think we got good pressure at times, we collapsed it.
''Then a couple times we got out of our lane and you saw him scramble and break up through there. You can't just go running for a sack, you have to keep a guy in the pocket in our rush lanes. We did, for the most part, do a pretty decent job there, a couple times we got out of there and he got a couple scrambles.''
Walsh led the Cowboys with 51 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Most of the Florida State pressure came from blitzes. Linebacker Terrance Smith had a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. Cornerback P.J. Williams also had a quarterback hurry.
The Seminoles regularly sent extra rushers in the form of cornerbacks off the edges in both pass and run situations.
''That's just part of our game plan,'' Fisher said. ''It's in our repertoire and we did a lot of them last year.
''A lot of people think blitzes are to sack the quarterback. Corner blitzes, a lot of them are run blitzes to get an extra gap and let a lineman slam inside, then he becomes the container of the defense.''