FSU football had a huge weakness in its secondary in 2018. Harlon Barnett may have already solved that issue with some key personnel changes.
FSU football gave up 30 passing touchdowns and 3,224 passing yards last season. Both are the most of any FSU defense in over a decade while allowing opposing offenses to average 31.5 ypg.
That’s also the most points allowed average since I can remember and possibly ever. I expected the FSU defense to give up big plays here and there because of the emphasis on stopping the run.
The cornerbacks had their struggles at times for sure, but one of the biggest culprits was the safety position.
The personnel struggled in the scheme and was exposed as the Noles progressed through the season against better teams.
However, the defense gave up the following in 2018:
- 173 plays of 10+ yards (tied 57th in nation)
- 60 plays of 20+ yards (tied 65th in nation)
- 25 plays of 30+ yards (tied 52nd in nation)
- 17 plays of 40+ yards (tied 91st in nation)
Harlon Barnett knew safety was going to be an issue and its why Stanford Samuels III was moved from cornerback at the beginning of the season although he was battling an injury.
He ultimately moved back to cornerback when Levonta Taylor was lost for the year. I don’t have the stats in front of me, but I’m sure a large portion of the stats above involved the safety position being isolated by opposing offenses.
It looks like the position has already been upgraded after the first day of spring practice and that’s not hyperbole.
Former five-star Jaiden Lars-Woodbey has moved back to his natural safety position after playing the “Star” role last season. Levonta Taylor is also taking reps at safety and he was the former No. 1 overall cornerback coming out of high school.
Four-star defensive back Carlos Becker is finally healthy and taking reps. That’s three talented players with experience right there. Cyrus Fagan and Isaiah Bolden are still in the mix and former four star safeties.
Then there’s Akeem Dent and Raymond Woodie III who are taking reps at safety as a true freshmen that early enrolled. Four star signees Travis Jay and Brendan Gant will on campus this summer.
I can’t express how much talent that is with several of these players good enough to play both safety and cornerback.
Of course the secondary will be dependent on the defensive line to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but it already has better personnel and depth than it did all of last year.