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Florida State practice notebook: September 15

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Speaking with head coach Mike Norvell and offensive players.

Don Juan Moore

Update, 11:55 a.m.

Mike Norvell spoke to the media this morning on FSU’s loss to Georgia Tech this past Saturday. Norvell was pleased with Florida State’s first day back at practice and the team’s response to the loss. On practice today and how the ‘Noles will approach the bye week, Norvell said, “Really good practice today. This week is all about us. Cleaning up the details, the fundamentals. Thought our guys came out and competed with a purpose.”

James Blackman had an up-and-down game on Saturday and has been much-criticized by the FSU fan base. But Norvell wasn’t displeased with the quarterback’s performance. Norvell mentioned that the QB missed some opportunities, but was making the right reads the majority of the game. On Blackman, Norvell said, “I thought James made some great throws. Missed a couple opportunities. His eyes for the most part were right. James, his eyes were right, a lot of things were right. James’ response, he’s continuing to work. I really like that group.”

Norvell also gave some updates on a few players. On Joshua Kaindoh’s leg injury, Norvell said the team received a “positive prognosis.” He also confirmed that DJ Matthews is in the transfer portal and said he wasn’t surprised at that decision. On Chubba Purdy, Norvell said, “He should be back soon.”

Norvell was happy for the most part with the offensive line’s play, but said little mistakes proved costly for them. “I thought we did some nice things, but we would have a mistake here and then a mistake there.” Norvell also mentioned that injuries and five different lineups made it hard for them to find consistency. Also mentioned that freshmen Thomas Shrader and Robert Scott were unavailable.

Update, 12:05 p.m.

We also heard from offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham today on the offense’s struggle from Saturday night. Dillingham said they were close on many plays, but one mistake here or there would cost them. Some of those mistakes were things that had already shown up in practice. On the mistakes that translated to the game, Dillingham said, “We made a cut-up and actually showed them that.”

Dillingham mentioned that Blackman made right checks and gave them good matchups with his pre-snap awareness. On Blackman, he said “I though he did a really nice job with his eyes pre-snap.” He also mentioned that some of those checks would’ve led to big plays, but they just didn’t execute.

The offensive line was a consistent shuffle with all the injuries on Saturday. On the offensive line, Dillingham said, “I they did a really nice job early in the game. That’s a hard position to shuffle guys around in. As a staff we have to do a better job managing those situations.”

Update, 12:15 p.m.

Offensive tackle Darius Washington was the first player we heard from today. Washington spoke on the consistency of the offensive line and how it has to be better for the offense to work. He said, “We had some good, some bad, we just need work on staying consistent.”

FSU has two weeks to get ready for Miami, but they aren’t worried about Miami this week. They’re focused on themselves. Washington echoed the same sentiment as Norvell, as he said, “This week is all about us, we are just trying to build as a team and get better. Today it was high energy in practice.”

When asked about the disappointment of the loss, Washington said he didn’t view it as a disappointment, but instead a lesson they can learn from as a team.

Update, 12:20 p.m.

Offensive line coach Alex Atkins spoke today on the performance of his O-line and the injures they faced on Saturday.

He said he was happy with the progress displayed, despite some corrections that need to be made.

He took some time to speak on cross-training his players to be ready to go at all times, something that happened Saturday as multiple lineman had to switch to different positions.

“You gotta be ready to step up and put you best five out there, regardless of position, We have to continue to improve that and I have to do a great job to develop guys to play multiple positions.”

Update, 12:30 p.m.

Punter Alex Mastromanno, who made his debut on Saturday, also spoke with the media, detailing his impressions so far of the game as well as reflecting on the chance to walk out of the tunnel in a Florida State uniform.

“To actually come out and play on Saturday [was] just a dream come true for me.”

He spoke on his progress with learning how to serve as a holder so far (he was taking reps in pregame), as well as the small things he still has to improve in his punting game. Mastromanno also mentioned Hugh Robertson, a 27-year-old punter from Australia who signed with Illinois, as an example of a player he’s aiming to emulate.


Florida State Seminoles football, after a turbulent offseason both in and outside of Tallahassee, got another dose of reality on Saturday when it lost its fourth straight home opener.

The team, by all indications and messaging, has internalized the loss and the shortcomings that led to it but also is moving on, turning focus towards a primetime matchup on the road against Miami.

“We didn’t get the job done,” Marvin Wilson said after the loss to Georgia Tech. “Starting tonight, I hope everybody on our team is going to watch film, like the majority of us is, so we can respond better when our next game comes.”

“This football team does not have to be defined by [this loss],” head coach Mike Norvell said Saturday night. “They’ll be defined by how they they respond to this situation and how we move forward together as a program.”

He continued that theme last night during the weekly Florida State call-in show.

“It hurt for our players, it hurt for out staff. Our focus coming in with team meetings is we have to continue to push, continue to move forward and improve in all aspects.”

“This is not something where you flip the switch, and all is good. Our guys have to continue to believe ‘we can.’”

We’ll be hearing from Norvell, as well as offensive players and coaches, starting around 11:15 a.m. today. You can follow along both in the comment sections and on our Twitter, and in the meantime, drop any questions you have in the comments and we’ll try to get to them.