Florida State DE Everette Brown lined up inside for a few plays last weekend against Maryland, and the changeup paid off nicely.
"We thought he could take advantage of a particular blocking scheme and (we could) free him up more one-on-one," defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said. "I think he had a couple of sacks from there."
"It put me in a great position to be successful," said Brown, who finished with 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. "But there's no way I could have done that without the whole defensive line (playing well)."
Given the firepower of Saturday's opponent, No. 2 Florida, the Seminoles' D-line has to deliver.
That begins with Brown, no matter where he lines up. A redshirt junior who's projected as a first-round pick if he declares for the NFL draft, Brown leads the nation in tackles for a loss (20.5) and is second in sacks (12.5).
"We've had some people that have ranked like that, but I don't know about in both categories," Andrews said. "The good thing about (Brown) is that he still continues to get better."
History lesson: So far this week, you haven't heard any defensive player making a bold proclamation about shutting down Florida's star quarterback. History's a wonderful teacher. Last year, of course, then-star LB Geno Hayes inadvertently provided the Gators with bulletin board material when he said, "We're going in with that attitude that Tim Tebow is going down."
Let's recap what happened.
Hayes had one tackle in the game. Tebow threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns and added 89 yards rushing and two scores in the 45-12 romp in Gainesville.
"I'm not going to say (what Hayes said) was dumb, but we're going to be a lot smarter," LB Dekoda Watson said.
Blast from the past: Former LB Lawrence Timmons, in his second season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, helped neutralize Tebow in the 2006 game between the schools. Tebow, who offered a change of pace to senior Chris Leak that season for the Gators, was 0-for-1 passing and carried the ball four times for 3 yards.
"We just wanted to get pressure on him and not let him get his shoulders turned to run upfield on us," Timmons told the St. Petersburg Times in an e-mail.
He also said he still gets reminded of one particular crushing tackle on the talented freshman.
"I just wanted to try to run downhill and get a good shot at him," Timmons said. "On that particular play, I was able to get free and get a pretty good shot on him."
More motivation: QB Christian Ponder says that going against Tebow, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, adds a little more fuel to his competitive fire.
"If I can perform well," he said, "I can show the world that I can play well and play with those great guys throughout the country, even the Heisman Trophy winner."
In 11 career starts (and 12 games overall), Ponder's career-high passing day has been 254 yards against North Carolina State — his lone day with more than 200 yards — and his best offensive output has come against Miami, 303 yards.
50-50 mix: The Seminoles' offense is about as balanced as you can get it. FSU has 2,092 yards rushing and 2,090 yards passing. The next-most balanced team in Division I-A is UCF with 1,255 yards rushing and 1,290 passing.
The last word: "We're the biggest underdogs we've been in years." — FSU coach Bobby Bowden on his team getting 16½ points against the Gators.
Brian Landman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3347. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/seminoles.