Update, 11:53 AM
We heard from offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham this morning. Dillingham talked about practice without coach and his role of play-calling in the Miami game. Despite not having Mike Norvell at practice, things are still going as normal as possible. He said, “It’s really been status quo. We’re missing his passion and energy flying around the field. But the guys have been flying around and we’re working whistle to whistle. It’s been extremely normal from that standpoint.”
Chris Thomsen is taking over the head coaching role this week for Norvell. Dillingham also worked with Thomsen at Arizona State before going off in different directions. On Thomsen, Dillingham said, “He’s just one of the best humans you’ll ever meet. He is the definition of the coach that players look up to and want to be.”
FSU is adding Tony Tokarz to the on-field coaching staff to fill Norvell’s vacancy. Tokarz was a full-time TE’s coach at Memphis, but came to Florida State to be an offensive analyst. On Tokarz, Dillingham said, “Tony Tokarz is one of the best young coaches in football. You’re talking about a guy that was a full time coach and left that position to join us here. It’s going to be invaluable for us to have that extra set of eyes.”
The ‘Noles have been practicing with just three scholarship quarterbacks with the last few weeks after Chubba Purdy’s injury. It seems Purdy is back in some phase of practice this week. On the QB’s, Dillingham said, “All four of those guys got reps in multiple parts of practice today.”
Update, 12:02 PM
Running back Jashaun Corbin was the first player we heard from this week as he spoke on Norvell’s absence and the offense’s response to the Georgia Tech loss. On practice without Norvell, Corbin said, “Honestly, its been no different. Everyone knows the task at hand, everyone is on page with what we’re trying to accomplish this week.”
The Georgia Tech game was Corbin’s first time back in a game since his season-ending hamstring injury early in 2019 at Texas A&M. On his game against the Yellow Jackets, he said, “It felt good, I got my game legs back. Obviously there’s a lot of things to work on, but I feel like I played pretty well.”
Heading into the rivalry game and coming off an upset loss, the Seminoles are double-digit underdogs against Miami. Despite the public not favoring them, the mood of the team hasn’t changed. “The mood has been great. We don’t worry about the outside noise. Everybody’s locked in and focused and just ready to play.”
Despite Norvell not being able to be physically at practice or around the team, the team still has his back and is ready to play for him. Corbin said, “We know it hurts him not being there. He’s got our backs and we’ve got his. Nothing has changed.”
Update, 12:20 PM
Tight end Camren McDonald also spoke with the media, detailing the team’s approach to the week and his own focus.
“It’s not normal, but it’s 2020 normal,” McDonald said.
“Coach Norvell said ‘Even though we have to deal with this, this is Florida State.’ After hearing what coach had to say, I just kind of changed my mindset.”
He also spoke on the deep ball he caught against Georgia Tech, giving credit to James Blackman for what he called a great throw. A challenge for him this week, he says, is a strong Miami interior.
“I definitely feel like I’ve improved in blocking. I’ve done pretty well, but I feel like I can get so much better. Miami has some good interior guys, so I’m ready to show what I can do in the run blocking game.”
After hearing from defensive coordinator Adam Fuller, deputy/interim head coach Chris Thomsen and head coach Mike Norvell (currently following quarantine protocols after testing positive for coronavirus), we’ll be hearing from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kenny Dillingham and the rest of the offense today.
Dillingham will likely be assuming the bulk of the playcalling duties on Saturday, given Norvell’s absence, though the head coach said it shouldn’t make much of a difference, given the two’s history together.
“He’s going to be ready for it and do an extraordinary job with it,” Norvell said yesterday. “We’ve worked together for a long time and are very similar in regards to thought process and ways to attack — I’ve got the ultimate confidence in what that will look like.”
You can follow along both in the comment section and on our Twitter, and in the meantime, drop any questions you have in the comments and we’ll try to get to them.