Florida State’s DeMarcus Walker has prepared for plenty of different offensive schemes during his four years in Tallahassee, but facing Michigan in the Orange Bowl is one that has piqued his interest the most.
“It is going to be an old school game — Dick Butkus, Jack Lambert type of football,” said Walker on Friday after the 10th-ranked Seminoles completed another practice in preparation for the Dec. 30 game. “You see a lot of spread and zone read from different teams, but you don’t see that with Michigan.”
Florida State returned to practice on Thursday night and will practice through Tuesday. The Seminoles will arrive in Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 24.
Coach Jimbo Fisher said he has been pleased with how early preparations have gone, especially Thursday when it was an extended session.
“Execution has been really good today for being off a couple days,” he said. “They worked hard on the days they were off on their own a little bit. We’ve got four more here to go and take care of business.”
With final exams over, Walker is turning his attention to the sixth-ranked Wolverines pro-style offense. Walker, a second-team, All-America selection at defensive end, said he has seen plenty of formations with two tight ends and two running backs.
“They go into the game with the mindset that they are going to run the ball,” Walker said.
Michigan (10-2) finished second in the Big Ten in rushing offense, averaging 223.3 yards per game. It has rushed for 40 touchdowns, which is the most it has had on the ground since 1976 (43). De’Veon Scott and Khalid Hall each have 10 rushing TDs.
Florida State (9-3) has allowed only 131.3 yards per game on the ground and has improved as the season has gone along. In the last four games, it is allowing only 2.5 yards per carry and 89 yards per game.
The closest that the Seminoles have faced an offense resembling Michigan’s was Boston College. In that game on Nov. 11, Florida State allowed only 96 rushing yards in a 45-7 win.
Walker, the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, is hoping to use his final college game to show why he should be selected on the first or second day of next year’s NFL draft. He is tied for the Football Bowl Subdivision lead in sacks with 15 and is the first FSU player in 20 years to have two straight seasons of double-digit sacks.
He also has performed well at Hard Rock Stadium. It was his blocked extra point during the fourth quarter of the Oct. 8 game against Miami that gave the Seminoles a 20-19 win.
Walker also accomplished one more goal on Friday night as he graduated with his degree in social science. One of his final goals though is trying to help Florida State end a two-game losing streak in bowl games.
“The best feeling ever is accomplishing my goals. I’m pretty happy with myself and give myself a pat on the back, but I’m still not satisfied,” he said. “Getting a win would mean a lot. It would teach the young guys the importance of finishing out strong, and hopefully, that will carry over for them into next season.”
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.