TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Florida State has mowed down every opponent that has stepped into their path this season with a deadly efficient offense and a defense that confuses quarterbacks quicker than stereo instructions.

The number two Seminoles are tied for the Football Bowl Subdivision lead with 18 interceptions this season, the first under defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Combining a multi-faceted 3-4 scheme with the phenomenal athletes FSU is known for has given the Noles the number four scoring defense in the country.

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It’s also helped push the Noles to the brink of the BCS National Championship and given FSU the identity it had been seeking since the early 2000’s.

“Coach Pruitt loves personality,” said FSU cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. “He doesn’t want you out there looking like a stiff guy; just flirting with the coverage and everything.”

The confusion Pruitt has caused amongst opponents was never more evident than last week against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Wake Forest threw six interceptions and fumbled once against a pressing Noles defense.

“Just us being comfortable with the defense,” safety Terrence Brooks said. “Knowing what we have to do to be more comfortable on the field and actually go out there and put our own twist on it and disguise things a little bit. We recognize things, we study film a lot so we’re able to just jump routes and do what we’re supposed to do.”

While the Noles may recognize things, opponents have struggled to figure out who’s blitzing, what coverage the FSU defense is in, or anything thanks to near constant pre-snap movement all over the defense.

“This is a scheme, that if you play within the defense, and you learn how to dominate at your position, numbers are going to come,” nose guard Timmy Jernigan said. “Dominating has become a habit. Because the different looks we give people, you never know which way we’re going to come from.”

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Remember, this is a Florida State defense that some expected to take a step back in 2013. The Noles lost their coordinator and seven players off the 2012 defense were drafted into the NFL including first round picks Xavier Rhodes and Bjoern Werner.

The secondary this year has five freshman and sophomores along with two seniors and still, Pruitt has his defense playing as well as his former coach, Nick Saban, has Alabama’s defense playing late in the season.

The Seminoles created 21 turnovers, including 11 interceptions in 2012. They have 23 already with three regular-season games remaining, the ACC championship game and a bowl.

Coach Jimbo Fisher credits a combination of an effective pass rush with talented players executing a smart scheme. Calculated risks have created a unit full of ball-hawks.

“To me, a gamble is an educated guess, if you do it the right way,” Fisher said. “If you’re prepared and understand what’s coming, how it’s coming, then you can make a play on the ball. But to gamble just to gamble, to me, makes no sense.

“You have to process the information and make good choices. You have to make educated choices and make right choices.”

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