The Saturday showdown in college football this week features No. 3 Clemson playing host to No. 5 Florida State at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Seems like a good time to ask the question: How is Florida State’s defense doing without Mark Stoops? The former Kentucky coach was FSU’s defensive coordinator the previous three seasons. A year ago, the Seminoles finished No. 2 in the nation in total defense behind national champion Alabama.
When Stoops left for the head coaching position at Kentucky, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher hired Alabama secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt as defensive coordinator. The 38-year-old Pruitt had played at Middle Tennessee and Alabama before joining Nick Saban’s staff as Director of Player Development in 2007. Pruitt took over the secondary three years ago.
Under his guidance this season, FSU is currently No. 3 nationally in scoring defense at 12 points per game and No. 7 nationally in total defense, allowing 276.8 yards per game. The ‘Noles are ranked 16th in third-down conversion defense (29.4 percent), 22nd in pass efficiency defense (108.05 rating) and 27th in rushing defense (127.8 yards per game).
Clemson will be a tough test. The Tigers are averaging 40.8 points and 514.5 yards per game. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is No. 8 nationally in pass efficiency.