James Blackman has been announced as the starter for Florida State Seminoles football’s season opener against Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Over the last few weeks, Blackman has been praised not just for his progress on the field, but for the leadership he’s displayed and willingness to learn.
“In our experience together, he’s done everything I’ve asked him to do,” head coach Mike Norvell said when making the news official.
“We’re working on that continued development in times of distress and I think that’s where James has grown a lot...he’s done everything that I was hopeful to see up until this point.”
“He showed a work ethic and intensity in every single rep whether that was in an individual drill or a team drill....his teammates love him, his teammates follow him,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kenny Dillingham said.
Earlier this fall, Blackman mentioned how he liked how tough the coaching staff made it on them every day. That push continues to be there from the coaching staff as FSU enters game prep. On the coaching staff, he said, “Those guys are going to push everyone, to the coaches, to the training staff, to the players on the field.”
Many people thought Blackman may test the transfer portal this past winter and spring, but it was never a thought for him.
“I bleed garnet and gold if you cut me. There was never a thought in leaving [the program].”
Blackman has tightened up his throwing motion, a huge step in the right direction for the gunslinger, something noticed by our CoachAB after the first scrimmage of the fall:
I can’t stop watching the new release from James Blackman. Well, I say release, but really it’s about where he loads the ball. Blackman’s loading the ball deeper and doing a better job elevating his throwing elbow above his throwing shoulder. This load and motion shortens his delivery and develops more consistency on his throws. Then, when you look at his lower body, he’s emphasizing being more consistent about getting weight on the front knee and being balanced.
One main thing that Norvell has honed in on for Blackman has been improving an ability to move on from one play to the next — something we’ve seen the quarterback struggle with in the last few years.
“James is a very bright young man. There are different things that we want to put him in a position to be successful from the physical aspect of it, but really just teaching the mental aspect is mistakes are going to happen.
There are going to be good calls, there are going to be bad calls, there are going to be good throw and bad throws. But making sure that you can shut that off, learn from the mistake or learn from the success and let each play be its own play.”
“A turnover problem is usually a response problem, how you respond to different situations when bad things happen. Your reactionary decisions to might not be right. And then, I’ve watched a lot of film on James, it’s easy to point a finger to a quarterback in a lot of situations, but you know, there’s a lot that goes into this game. James has been through a lot. There’s times he’s played very well, there’s times he’s not played very well. I’m excited about what I’m seeing from him. I’ve been around a lot of good quarterbacks in my day, we’ve had some success at that position. I think James and the investment he’s taking in learning what we’re doing, the response to when things don’t go right, I think he’s playing more under control in that regards.”
“I’ve watched a lot of games and really just that response, always be in control of you. Not letting a situation or mistake carry on to two, three, four plays down the road. Always got to go out there and play the next play. If something bad happens, your response will truly determine who you are and your identity as a player. I think James understands what we’re asking for there.”