Oct. 18, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — He may not be a household name yet or even a starter, but in his second year Terrence Brooks has become one of the Florida State football team’s most important players.
And his ever-rising importance to the Seminoles all got started last season on special teams.
As a true freshman, Brooks played in 10 of FSU’s 14 games primarily on the kick- and punt-return units and gained invaluable experience. The tone he set on special teams in 2010 has carried over to this year where he is a key cog in a ‘Noles unit that ranks 25th in the nation in kick-return yardage allowed at 19.0 yards per game.
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
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“I am going to play anywhere I’m needed,” Brooks said. “I like special teams a lot. I can get those guys hyped up and I like getting good field position because that is a big part of this game. We’ve been practicing that a lot so I just want to be No. 1 in special teams. The guys that are with me are my brothers so we will work hard to do that.”
Each player is known for his ability to register a bone-jarring tackle.
“That’s just football. I love hitting, personally; that’s just me,” Brooks said. “Everyone on those special teams loves hitting. Even on kick return we love hitting too because we’ve got a couple bangers. Pretty much it’s just a drive to help this team win. Those guys on special teams are young [and] they want to play and that’s a way to get on the field on special teams. Everyone just wants to go hard and get in there.”
Brooks has seen his chance to get in on defense drastically increase in his sophomore season due to the impact he has had chasing down returners and his versatility.
The Seminoles have five “set” starters in the secondary each game in Lamarcus Joyner and Terrance Parks at the two safety spots and some combination of Greg Reid, Xavier Rhodes and Mike Harris at the two to three cornerback spots depending on the game and the formation.
But behind those three there isn’t much experienced depth.
Nick Waisome and Williams play sparingly on defense as they continue to learn in their freshmen year, Lamarcus Brutus and Keelin Smith are redshirting as rookies, Moody has missed time with an injury and Avis Commack is still getting his bearings as a defensive player following a switch from the offensive side of the ball.
So that leaves Brooks, who has cross-trained at both safety and cornerback positions under defensive coordinator Mark Stoops and has parlayed that into a role as the top player off the bench in the secondary.
It’s an especially valuable role not just because of his talent level but because of the insurance he provides for a team that has been bitten by the injury bug this season.
“For me I just have to keep practicing hard because anyone can down at any moment,” Brooks said. “For me being versatile enough to play safety, corner and nickel that’s a good thing so I can fill in for anyone that goes down in the secondary. You never know what’s going to happen. A few times this year somebody went down and I had to go in and it feels to good to know that the coaches trust me enough to get in there and compete.
“Being able to play those different positions and also play on special teams gives me the chance to earn more playing time.”
Added Reid: “He steps up and plays his role on special teams and on defense. We know we can always count on him no matter where he lines up.”