Wednesday, March 27, 2013
NoleNation: Borrowing from Bama
By ESPN.com staff
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The projection Christian Jones got from NFL evaluators pegged him as a third- or fourth-round selection, just strong enough to make the idea of entering the draft after his junior season intriguing. Add the new coaching staff and defensive scheme at Florida State, and he might have been leaning toward leaving.
Before Jones could open the door to the NFL, however, Jimbo Fisher and new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt offered their own sales pitch. They sat Jones down and flipped on the film of Pruitt's defense at Alabama, where Rolando McClain and Dont'a Hightower blossomed into first-round draft picks. It was red meat for a linebacker hungry to become a playmaker.
"I'm pretty much playing that same spot," Jones said. "I want to be able to do that, too."
Jones wasn't the only member of Florida State's defense to get that sales pitch from Pruitt, and the film of Alabama's championship defense has been popular viewing material during the past few months.
It's not that Pruitt plans to implement the exact same scheme as the Crimson Tide, for whom he served as defensive backs coach for the past three seasons, but Alabama's aggressive philosophy will be a hallmark of the approach he plans to take at FSU.
"The actual defense, we're basically doing the same stuff, just getting more active," linebacker Telvin Smith said. "It's fun."
It might sound a bit strange for members of a defense that finished second in the nation last season to be excited about change, but the Seminoles aren't viewing it as a step back from last year's success. After all, the one team ahead of FSU in the 2012 standings was Alabama.
To read more of David M. Hale's story, click here.