Sixth-ranked Florida State hasn't played its second game of the season yet and has already lost two key defensive players for the year.
The team's defensive leader, senior pass rushing star Brandon Jenkins, suffered a season-ending broken foot in Florida State's 69-3 win over Murray State last weekend — just a month after senior cornerback and punt return specialist Greg Reid was kicked off the team.
Coach Jimbo Fisher said Wednesday he's confident the Seminoles have enough talent to help offset the loss of Jenkins, who picked up his first sack of the season before breaking his left foot in the second quarter. Jenkins is sixth all-time at Florida State with 22 1/2 career sacks — just three shy of overtaking Ron Simmons for third all-time.
"It's going to affect us because you don't replace a Brandon Jenkins, but hopefully we adapt as a team," Fisher said.
Backup senior defensive end Cornellius "Tank" Carradine picked up the slack in Jenkins' absence with nine tackles and one sack in the win over Murray State.
"We were fortunate to have Carradine in there," Fisher said. "Tank is a great college player and we'll think he'll be a good NFL player too."
Carradine moves into Jenkins' starting role Saturday against Savannah State while Atlantic Coast Conference defensive lineman of the week Bjoern Werner holds down the other starting end spot.
"We've always felt we had three great ends," Fisher said. "They're all the same caliber of player … big-time players."
Carradine had 5 1/2 sacks last season when he spelled either Jenkins or Werner, who already has 14 1/2 career sacks one game into his junior season.
"They'll all be NFL players and very highly drafted in my opinion," Fisher said. "I think it messes you up a little bit at depth-wise, but we have some talented guys behind them."
Fifth-year senior Toshmon Stevens, a special teams player, and redshirt freshman Giorgio Newberry will move into the top backup roles and Fisher will re-evaluate his earlier plan to redshirt freshmen Mario Edwards Jr., and Chris Casher.
Fisher said over the weekend that he'd hoped to redshirt both Edwards and Caser, but now thinks he'll need to get one or both ready to play this year. Sophomore Nick Waisome started against Murray State in Reid's old spot at cornerback, but is battling to hold off a freshman Ronald Darby for playing time. Darby had a pair of pass breakups in his debut Saturday.