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Florida State practice notebook: September 30

The Seminoles’ defense takes the podium

Sun Sentinel

Update, 11:51 AM

Mike Norvell spoke after today’s practice, which was centered around third-down situations. Norvell said today was “one of the best practices we’ve had since I’ve been here.” Despite it being a game week, much of the focus is on themselves. Norvell said, “We challeneged our guys. Continue to focus on our growth and the development of the little things.

A large part of FSU’s growth over the coming weeks will come from instilling confidence. Our Kevin Little has talked about how players have seemed slower because they either don’t know what to do, or don’t trust themselves. Norvell echoed that message today. He said, “We’ve got to continue to build these guys through practice and film study. Mistakes will occur but the thing that can’t be substituted is relentless effort. Part of our growth is we have to build and develop our confidence our guys have when that ball is snapped.”

Norvell talked some about the challenges of the recruiting dead period and how it has effected him. They’ve only had a few weeks since he’s been at FSU to recruit in-person. Despite that, he understands why the dead period is still in effect. He said, “It’s such a unique conversation and topic. I do think there are some extreme challenges. I’d love to get recruits here, but I also understand the concerns that are with that.”

He also mentioned that he thinks the early signing period will stay as scheduled. Norvell said, “I don’t see them changing it. It’s still the student athlete’s choice.”

FSU has had an array of injuries early on in the season. Norvell said they have a number of guys going through the process and they’re liking the progress they’re seeing. One player we have not seen this season is Meiko Dotson. On Dotson, Norvell said, “He’s coming along. He got some work in yesterday and today. I’m liking what I’m seeing.”

Update, 12:02 PM

We heard from defensive back Asante Samuel Jr. this morning. Samuel has shown to be one of the best players and a leader of this team early on in the year. Samuel has seen FSU struggle with FCS opponents the last two years. On how they have to approach Jacksonville State, he said, “We just can’t take anything for granted, we just have to execute at a high level.”

Samuel also echoed Norvell’s message about the level at which the team practiced today. He said, “Today was one of the best practices that we’ve had this year. We’ve still got a lot of more games to go. We’re just trying to climb and get better.”

Florida State was dominated in all facets by Miami. Samuel said a lot of it simply came down to effort. “As a team we have to go play out there with more physicality and effort. We didn’t play with Florida State effort.”

On how he leads, Samuel said, “You gotta lead by example, and after that, people will follow you more.”

Update, 12:15 PM

We also heard from defensive back Jarrian Jones this morning. Jones spoke on how he’s adjusted to Florida State, his performance, and how the team moves forward. Jones also mentioned that today was one of the better practices they’ve had, saying, “Always when you come in with a new staff, expectations are high. We had a good practice today, everybody just said today ‘okay its football, it’s just football.’”

On what made practice different today, he said, “It’s more on the players, it’s been more of a player-led thing, and that’s what the coaches want.”

Jones knows that they can’t take FCS opponent Jacksonville State lightly this Saturday. He “We gotta play sound football against them, read our keys, not try to do too much.”

“[Getting the right way to generate pressure] a work in progress, we’re still working on it. We’ve got to do a better job at forcing those situations. It’s just something we’ve got to get better at, there’s no question.”

That’s how Florida State Seminoles football defensive coordinator Adam Fuller responded on Monday when discussing FSU’s struggles to generate pressure this season — especially on the defensive line, which was considered to be one of the Seminoles’ strongest position groups on either side of the ball.

“We just gotta finish,” linebacker Amari Gainer said following Saturday’s loss to the Miami-Florida Hurricanes.” We knew that coming in. We have to focus on finishing.”

Norvell spoke during his weekly coaches show on the inability for Florida State’s defense to get off the field on multiple late down situations.

“With their offense they had some explosive capabilities...if you look back at the course of the game, they converted third and fourth down situations at a high rate. Credit to them in what they were able to do but we also had some missed opportunities. At the end of the day, you have to be on point in the moment.”

“We’ve got to do a better job as coaches and players, everybody. We’ve definitely got to improve.”

During his show, he mentioned that today would feature a huge emphasis on third down — on both sides of the ball. We’ll be hearing from just the defense, today, however.

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