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Florida State practice notebook: September 21

Miami game week begins

Florida State v Miami

Update, 12:42 PM

Mike Norvell spoke to the media today for the first time since his positive Covid-19 test to kick off Miami week. Norvell spoke to the media virtually via his house, where he is completely isolated, even from his family. Despite the isolation, he has still been able to be heavily involved in Florida State’s Miami preparation.

Norvell said, “Yesterday we had our normal Sunday practice, I was able to have access to multiple cameras on both fields to see the action. All in all it actually went pretty smooth.” Norvell also mentioned that he can communicate to coaches through speakers on the field. They’re going about business as usual as they possibly can.

The difference for Norvell will come in the game day routine. Once the team leaves the hotel, it will be a very different day for him. “I’ll be able to serve my role until the guys leave the hotel. We already have things in place to be there virtually with them. We’re still exploring all options. I can’t do anything actively throughout the game when it comes to communication.”

With the changes, Norvell won’t be able to call the offensive plays on Saturday, but has the “I have ultimate confidence in Coach Dillingham. He’s going to be fully ready for it and do an extraordinary job with it. We’re very similar in thought process and ways to attack.”

For Norvell, the biggest challenges have come in not seeing his wife and daughter. On not seeing his family, he said, “That’s been one of the biggest challenges so far, to not be around them and face the challenges we have as a family.” He also mentioned that he was emotional missing Saturday’s walk through, the first practice he’s ever had to miss as a coach.

Update, 12:50 PM

New interim head coach Chris Thomsen was second to talk to the media today. Since the news broke, Thomsen has been pleased with the team’s response to the situation. On the player’s attitude towards it, he said, “They’ve shown great approach. We have a lot of great kids in this program so I wasn’t surprised by their response.”

FSU has one of the most experienced staffs in the country, with former head coaches and many different coordinators. On the importance of the experience in the coaching staff, Thomsen said, “I think it helps a lot, it helps me personally. We knew things like this would probably happen and we’ve prepared for it.”

Despite not physically being there, Thomsen said Norvell is still the leader of the team and has been just as involved as before. “Coach is really still in front of the team. His voice, his influence, is still the key thing out in front. My job is just to fill in the gaps.”

Update, 1:00 PM

We also heard from defensive coordinator Adam Fuller this afternoon as Miami week begun. Hamsah Nasirildeen was listed on the depth chart today for the first time this “If Ham gets on the field, it brings back a physical guy who is a plus tackler. We’re looking forward to it if it happens.”

Miami’s offense has been dynamic the first two weeks of the season with the introduction of D’Eriq King into their offense. On Miami’s offensive production, he said, “They’re playing real well right now. They’re playing at a high level, and they are definitely a challenge right now.”

On King, he said, “He has put a lot of things on tape so far in his career that pose challenges to defenses.”

This will be Fuller’s first FSU-UM game, as most of the coaches on this staff. He spoke on the importance of the game and the emotion that comes with it. “Its one of the great rivalries in college football. Our guys are excited to play, but we just need to focus that energy in the right place.”

Miami week is here.

Florida State Seminoles football will be facing off against its rival in a primetime showdown on Saturday — and will be doing so without its first year head coach.

It was announced on Sunday that Mike Norvell had tested positive for coronavirus, resulting in a 14-day quarantine that includes the game against the Hurricanes. Deputy head coach Chris Thomsen, who has head coaching experience at the Division II level, will assume lead coaching duties this week.

“My result was surprising to me, but we have prepared for a potential positive result among anyone in our program and we will put that plan in place while I am away,” Norvell said in a statement. “I will remain involved remotely as much as possible to help our team continue to prepare.”

We’re set to hear from Norvell and Thomsen today, as well as defensive coordinator Adam Fuller. We’ll likely get more clarity on Norvell’s situation and involvement throughout the week, a glimpse into how Thomsen is approaching this week and an update on Fuller’s views of the defense.

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.