If there’s one huge positive to take away from the defense this year, it’s that at least there’s a united mindset evolving between the staff and the players. We’re not hearing anything about complicated playbooks. We’re not getting the sense that the coaches don’t trust the players to execute (which is not the same thing as recognizing the limits of your players’ abilities and scheming accordingly). While there’s still the occasional outburst of unjustified happy talk, there’s also a refreshing sense that both the players and the coaches are willing to step up and accept responsibility for subpar effort.
No, that doesn’t translate into a shutdown defense. But you aren’t going to improve if you’re not honest about what you’re doing first. And you’re not going to get better if everyone isn’t working from the same page.
So I don’t think Damian Swann, who’s shown an impressive improvement in his game this season, is blowing smoke with this comment, as he and his mates prepare for Auburn:
“The Florida State tape ain’t got nothing to do with it. We believe in our coach. Our coach believes in us. As long as we’ve got that connection…we’ll be fine.”