New-look FSU defense has Georgia Tech offense asking questions

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What Tech’s players and coaches don’t know, of course, is exactly what scheme those Florida State defenders will be operating from under first-year defensive coordinator Adam Fuller — and which players will be filling which roles when the teams square off next Saturday afternoon (3:30 p.m., ABC).

“It’s a challenge,” Georgia Tech offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude said during a Zoom conference call with reporters this week. “There’s two different things — two different philosophies that you have to look at.”

The first thing Patenaude looked at was the defensive system Fuller implemented last year at Memphis. Then he reviewed what the Seminoles ran under former coordinator Harlon Barnett.

Patenaude and his staff then evaluated FSU’s returning players to determine whether they can effectively run Fuller’s system in year one, or if it will be some type of mix of the two.

One obvious difference, the coordinator said, was the fact that the Seminoles primarily used three down linemen for much of last season, while Fuller’s defenses typically play with four down linemen. The expectation is that the Seminoles will return to a 4-3 front this fall, but the Georgia Tech offensive coordinator said you can never be sure.

He pointed out that last season they faced a USF team that was known for playing a 4-3 front, and the Bulls ended up using a 3-4 about 80 percent of the time.

“It’s an interesting challenge, always,” Patenaude said of facing first-year coaching staffs. “But at the end of the day, you have to rely on what you do. You have to rely on your base things. Your base rules. Your base runs and passes and play-actions and screens and nakeds. And you have to be able to run that stuff against everything that you see.

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