Florida State D Steps It Up

Here is exactly what an emotionally wounded UConn squad did NOT need this afternoon.

A biting, scratching blood feud against a snarling, mouth-foaming junkyard dog.

But that’s what awaits the Huskies (a much fluffier, prettier type of pooch).

Florida State – UConn’s 2 p.m. test in the Battle 4 Atlantis loser’s bracket – is the first school ever to create a special logo for its defense. Because on that side of the ball, the Seminoles are just that good, that nasty. They’ve led the nation in field-goal percentage defense the past two seasons.

Now, their D is formally dubbed “Stopper” and its official face – pasted onto T-shirts for FSU fans – is a toothy, growling junkyard dog. The name, image and concept is the brainchild of Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton, a dog lover who has owned five pure-breed boxers over the years. He named each one “Chopper” – thus the D’s moniker: “Stopper.”

“We wanted to have something to represent the defense, some symbol, because defense is hard work,” Hamilton says. Yet defensive stats are often overlooked and underplayed. The all-sweat, labor-heavy craft, the coach believes, is vastly underappreciated in the modern college game.

“Stopper” – he hopes – will put a stop to that.

“We call our D ‘the junkyard D.’ Real junkyard dogs run to the fence and bark whenever somebody approaches. They’re saying: ‘We want you to know we’re in our area, you’re in your area, and you’re not coming in.’ ”

This afternoon in the Bahamas, UConn is outside the fence. And they want in. Real bad.


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