October 27, 2012

Insider Report: Hunter makes punt return debut

In the vernacular of the Florida State fan, "hold" has become one of those four-letter words.

While questionable ACC officiating has been constant hot topic since the start of the 2011 season for the FSU faithful, defensive end Bjoern Werner, a constant exhibit used for holding penalties going uncalled, doesn't buy into the complaining.

Werner said he doesn't alert officials to holding and he doesn't let any uncalled holds to get to him.

"For me, I never got really frustrated with hold calls. Since I've been playing football - if they see it, they see it, if they don't, they don't," Werner said. "Because you guys just focus on us too much and think we get held a lot.

"No, good defensive ends get held. It's the only way you can stop them. If you're going to be one of the good D-ends in college football you're going to have to live with it."

Florida State's game with Miami didn't help concerns as the Seminoles were called for 12 penalties including all three of the offensive pass interference calls made in the ACC this season. But the ACC officiating crew that worked the FSU-Miami was reprimanded and crew chief David Epperly for not properly administering the 10-second runoff at the end of the first half of FSU's eventual 33-20 win.

Fisher was even outspoken about the officiating during his weekly news conference on Monday.

As for Werner, he says he doesn't talk to officials about any opponent holding him, either. He just lines up and goes.

"No, you can't change that. The first thing that Coach (Fisher) taught us is you can't change the game. Just play with it, even if he holds you."

Werner tallied 6.5 sacks in the Seminoles' first three games, then went without one until last week, when he registered 1.5 sacks on Miami quarterback Stephen Morris.

Just in the way he shakes off holds, Werner doesn't grade his play on sacks alone.

"If (the quarterback) is standing there after three seconds, we didn't do our job right," Werner said. "This is how I look at it - every time I do a pass rush, I want to see if I got there. Maybe I didn't get there in time to get the sack, but I get some pressure and maybe he throws it a little bit inaccurate."

Smith creating chaos for FSU

After watching junior linebacker Telvin Smith record eight tackles, two for loss, and force a fumble against Miami last weekend, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher summed up the speedy linebacker with two simple words.

"He's just chaos. He's chaos walking," Fisher said in his postgame press conference. "He does a great job."

Despite splitting time with senior Vince Williams at middle linebacker, Smith has the third-most tackles on the team 33 stops, 7.5 of which have come behind the line of scrimmage.

"I go out there and play hard any chance I get," said Smith. "Any Chance I get to make a play I'm going to capitalize on that."

The former Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes High star is at his best when he's able to freelance and just trust his instincts. Fisher said there have been plenty of times when Smith did not stick to his assignment correctly on a play, but still was able to make the tackle.

Fisher said the busted assignments are nothing special, and while they want Smith to reel it in some, he's cautious to not take away the freedom that has made Smith such a valuable weapon for the FSU defense.

"There's always a gray area in ball. It's not cut and dry, it's not PlayStation, you've got to make decisions," Fisher said. "You've got to make calls, you've got to make instinctive judgments on the field, things you see and pull the pin and make plays. Telvin does a great job in the gray area."

Still, Smith said his focus this season in practice has been to get a better understanding of his assignments. He's working every day on finding the perfect balance between instinct and responsibility.

"Just trying to stay assignment perfect. That's what I try and focus on," he said. "Keeping my eyes more on my man and off the quarterback. I look at the quarterback and try and get all my reads at the ball most of the time. My eyes really follow the ball everywhere. I really try and focus on that everyday in practice, just stay assignment perfect and play ball."

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