Thursday marked an open media session for Florida State’s Tour of Duty. Media members were able to get a glance behind the curtain to see what type of off-season work the players are doing to prepare themselves for spring ball. “Mat drills” are a long standing tradition at FSU, which Coach Norvell is continuing after having seen his previous boss Todd Graham borrow the concept from FSU after a visit. The purpose of mat drills is to push kids to a new level both physically and mentally. Coach Norvell talks about this standard quite a bit and this is where that foundation will be built.
Mat drills lasted for about a hour involving thirty minutes on an actual mat doing different exercises. After players completed their time on the mat they transitioned to other areas of the IPF to do three other drills in seven minute sessions.
The drill above we see players working on “the mat.” They are doing agility style drills here that are a full body exercise. Players do a forward roll towards the middle of the mat finishing on all fours (hands and toes). A coach is giving direction for them to roll (left or right) and complete a push-up. The players must then get up and sprint to a final coach who breaks them down and sends them back to the line. This is a grit type of drill that requires mental fortitude to push through. Players are disoriented with the rolls and must refocus quickly to follow directions while grinding through the physical toll of being on hands and toes, while chopping their feet.
Coach Norvell is very hands on during this time letting players know to keep climbing. It is quite clear that a standard is being set by Norvell and that standard is work.
This mat drill is very similar to the one above except players are now rolling all the way through. Again they want to see players being able to refocus and follow a basic instruction. The bottom line is you better be ready to work and hold yourself to a high standard while doing so.
Players start in a football stance and then work through the bags two feet at a time. This is some basic agility work that a lot of football drills begin with. The players transition into running a hoop which teaches them how to lean, work their feet quickly as if they were making a cut, and emphasizes really using your upper body as well when transitioning. To finish players sprint back to the line. This is essentially how a pass-rusher bends the corner, converts speed to power to break through an offensive tackle, and then chases a scrambling quarterback to make the sack. Every drill a player does in the off-season will in some way, shape, or form transition to actual football movements done on the field.
The new standard at Florida State is WORK and it started in January.