Seminoles defense has speed to jam the run-and-shoot Bump-and-run could leave Terps receivers down and out

November 04, 1992|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- The Florida State secondary's style of jamming receivers could cause Maryland's run-and-shoot offense to backfire.

"Because of their speed, they love to collide receivers early and take them out of their inside routes," said Frank Wycheck, Maryland's part-time superback and slot receiver. "We haven't seen aggressive coverage like this before."

Maryland (2-7 overall, 1-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) will meet the No. 6 Seminoles (7-1, 7-0) on Saturday (12:10 p.m.) in Tallahassee, Fla. In addition to the difference in records, there is one other major contrast between the two teams:

Maryland has little speed. Florida State has plenty.

And most of it is in a secondary that features cornerbacks Clifton Abraham and Corey Sawyer and safeties John Davis and Leon Fowler. Sawyer has six interceptions and Fowler has two.

The Seminoles' trademark is playing a tight man-to-man defense with a bump-and-run style. The technique should be effective against most of Maryland's receivers, who don't have outstanding speed. The two exceptions are senior Richie Harris and true freshman Jermaine Lewis.

"They play more man-to-man than what we've seen," said Harris. "It could cause us some problems. We may have to run shorter routes."

And the Terps will have to be able to work off the collisions at the line of scrimmage, something they had a hard time doing against Georgia Tech earlier this season.

"The biggest part of the run-and-shoot is getting off the line of scrimmage," said Wycheck. "And Florida State does play up close and they bring a lot of pressure.

"We've got to run precise routs, get open quick and get the ball into our receivers' hands as soon as possible," said Wycheck.

Florida State is allowing only 169.3 yards per game, ninth best in the country, and the Seminoles have collected 27 sacks.

Maryland quarterback John Kaleo is first in the nation in total offense, averaging 307.22 yards. Terps wide receiver Marcus Badgett is third in the country in receptions per game (7.33) and receiving yards per game (117.33). The Terps are averaging 457.6 yards of total offense.

"I have seen Maryland a couple of times [on television] and they look like one of the most exciting teams around," said Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. "They've got a new coach and he's got them excited about the football team up there. They have an excellent quarterback who's throwing the ball all over the park. They move it up and down the field. Our secondary will have its work cut out for it."

Maryland coach Mark Duffner said: "Up until this point, they have played about 40 percent man-to-man, and the rest has been combination of man or zone. They definitely have more speed than us, but just about everybody we play does. We just can't go overboard in preparation for speed. We're going to have to mix it up well, try to balance our attack, and pick our shots."

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