Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida State Seminoles defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews seeks solution to defense's woes

The numbers are humbling. And maddening.

Florida State is allowing 426.7 yards per game, last in the ACC and 108th among 120 I-A teams. The worst in coordinator Mickey Andrews' tenure has been 373.6 yards. And that came in 1984, Andrews' first year.

Saturday, Georgia Tech showed a new wrinkle in its triple option (a receiver in motion to act as another blocker at the point of attack) and had 401 yards rushing and 532 total in its 49-44 win.

"We need to be a little more productive in all areas instead of being unproductive at times and giving up big plays," Andrews said. "Whether that's technique, whether that's effort, whether that's second and third effort. Whatever it is."

A hard-driving perfectionist, Andrews snapped at a reporter Tuesday when asked if he could have made any adjustments Saturday night. "Do you not think I would make an adjustment if I could do it? That's a crazy question," he said.

When the reporter said the Seminoles seem to be making the same mistake, Andrews fired back, "You want to come do my job?" Moments later, he apologized and did so again at the end of his interview session.

Andrews and his staff have tried to solve the problem. Last week, they simplified their plan.

"We just happened to spend all our time on something they didn't do but about three plays the entire ballgame," he said. "That's good football on their part. They concealed something and sprung it on us. We seem to get that a lot, but that's part of the game. We don't have the total answers right now. We're still searching as coaches and players to get the right setup."

Injuries aren't helping. Senior DT Justin Mincey has yet to play, and fellow senior DT Budd Thacker has been less than 100 percent. LB Dekoda Watson injured his left groin and missed most of the second half Saturday, forcing coaches to juggle backups.

Senior CB Patrick Robinson (ankle sprain) and senior S Korey Mangum (shoulder) were out, and freshman S Jajuan Harley, who figured to step in for Mangum, was ill. It was so bad, FSU shifted LB Mister Alexander to safety for depth. Then CB Dionte Allen injured his right thumb. (He had surgery Tuesday.) "You can replace people, but they've got to be better than what they're replacing if you want to improve your ballclub," Andrews said. "We just need people to be dependable players and go fight harder."

No doubting Thomas: Maybe it was an injury. Maybe it was being young and not quite grasping what it takes to be a starter.

What's clear, however, is TB Jermaine Thomas ran against Georgia Tech the way the coaches expected. Against Tech, he had 98 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He had 77 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries going in.

"He's growing up. We're making him practice consistently," offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said. "It's part of his maturing. … We're going to stay on him the whole time because he's a heck of a player."

History lesson: Coach Bobby Bowden, a student of history, recently pointed out that his 1986 team went 7-4-1 with some young players whose names you might recognize: Deion Sanders, Sammie Smith, Dexter Carter, Paul McGowan and Martin Mayhew. The next year the Seminoles finished 11-1 and No. 2, the first of 14 straight Top 5 finishes.

"That's why you hate to give up," Bowden said. "When's it going to turnaround? It eventually will. I wish it would turn around with me."

Brian Landman can be reached at or (813) 226-3347. Read his blog at

Florida State Seminoles defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews seeks solution to defense's woes 10/14/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 15, 2009 12:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return


    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  3. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  5. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final


    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.