Image Credit: FSU Athletics Mike Erdelyi


We knew the time was coming when Amari “Ferrari” Gainer would finally start getting the reps he deserves in the proper position. Late in the North Carolina State game, he gave FSU a desperately needed pass rush. Gainer, a local Tallahassee Chiles graduate, showed his value for the FSU defense. He finished the game with 9 total tackles, 6 solo, 2.5 TFL, and 2 sacks. He was the only FSU player to record a sack Saturday night. When Janarius Robinson was wrongfully ejected for targeting, Gainer stepped up in his stead and run gapped consistently well. Transitioning to the 3-4 defense has been challenging at times for FSU due to the lack of a pass rush from their three down linemen. Success off the edge from players like Amari is what will help the defense succeed the rest of the season.

A mismatch for Offensive Tackles

It was satisfying to see Hockman on his back multiple times during this game. There is nothing fancy about Gainer’s first sack of the game. Offensive tackles are taught to kick set, keep their shoulders square, and meet the defender at a certain point, sinking their hips. The NCSU offensive tackle is fully expecting Gainer to rush up field, taking him on the outside. Gainer had no fancy pass rush move here, but was just quicker than the tackle. He was so fast, the Offensive Tackle couldn’t set his post foot to take away the inside. As long as he is on the edge, he will be a mismatch for most offensive tackles in the ACC.

Offensive Guards are not exempt

Gainer’s second sack demonstrates how speed exposes an opponent’s failure. His speed, combined with a good play design, exposes a lack of awareness from the left side of the NCSU offensive line. Gainer lines up in a “5 Technique”, which is an outside shade of the offensive tackle. Pre-snap, the Offensive Guard assumes that the tackle will pick up Gainer. Barnett dials up a blitz from Asante Samuel coming off the C Gap, and Amari takes the B Gap. Gainer fires through the open hole and finishes the job.

What’s Next

FSU fans should definitely identify this improvement as the “Leavitt Effect.”As the defense evolves and younger players play at their natural positions, you will see improvement. Changing from a base 4-3 to base 3-4 isn’t easy, but the improvement we’ve seen from the OLBs shows that the majority of the war has been won. The only thing you can hope now is that the ILB’s keep polishing their game, especially triggering their run gaps.

If you made it this far…(click the FQ Picture)

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