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Florida State practice notebook: September 8

Four days out.

Florida State Sports Information

Update, 12:00 PM

Florida State Seminoles football head coach Mike Norvell spoke to the media today just four days away from kickoff against Georgia Tech. For Norvell, he’ll have some nerves along with his players running out of the tunnel on Saturday, but he’s ready to set the standard that has been set before him and his team. He said, “We are at one of the most iconic programs in college football. The standard and expectations, that’s something we embrace. When we run out of that tunnel, we say yes to that standard and those expectations.”

FSU’s depth chart is filled with freshmen and redshirt freshmen on both sides of the ball. Norvell and his staff have been doing all they can to get those guys ready for Saturday. Norvell said, “I try to make sure we’re pushing every button we can push to force reactions to see who can face pressure. I do believe in how we practice and coach in trying to create that atmosphere.”

The ‘Noles have a lot of depth at multiple positions and have multiple starters listed throughout the depth chart. For Norvell, they’ll play as many guys as possible if it helps them bring home a win on Saturday. “We’ll play as many guys as we need to to make us successful, on offense, defense, and special teams. If you earn the right to play, you’re going to play.”

Norvell will script out his first few plays at Florida State he said today. He may even script out a lot. When asked if he would script, he laughed and said, “A lot. A good amount.” He went on to say that they’ll have scripts for every game, but it will change on scenarios how much they do. “Most situations I have a pretty good sense of a script and what I want to do.”

Update, 12:10 PM

We heard from running back La’Damian Webb today, who was listed as a co-starter at RB on the depth chart yesterday. After coming from the JUCO ranks, Webb is just read to help FSU win. He said, “I plan on helping my team anyway I can. It really doesn’t matter who gets the reps, we just need to focus on the little things.”

Webb will share the backfield with another fellow transfer in Jashaun Corbin. Webb called Corbin an “all-around back.”

With everything that’s going on, FSU has really had to focus on Covid-19 protocols. Webb said that the university and Norvell have really helped them through that. He said, “He does a good job making us follow the protocols and being healthy. He cares just as much as we care, not just about football but with health.”

Update, 12:16 PM

Offensive line coach Alex Atkins spoke to the media today. There were some surprises on the depth chart yesterday, with Maurice Smith at center and Baveon Johnson at guard. On how Smith won the center job, Atkins said, “His athletic ability to recover in tight situations. And also just learning. You gotta know how to see the pictures of the game.” He also said that moving Johnson to guard was about “success as a unit.”

Darius Washington will get the start at left tackle on Saturday. Washington was one of the players praised for a lot of camp. On Washington, Atkins said, “I like his athletic ability just like Maurice’s. I’ve just impressed with the tools they have to work with. I’ve been impressed with those guys.”

On that athletic ability he emphasized with both of the redshirt freshmen, Atkins said it’s about the ability to respond in bad situations. “When we say athleticism, it’s really the ability to recover. Do you have the god-given ability to recover in bad situations.”

FSU will use a multiple blocking scheme to start the season. With less knowledge of a developing Georgia Tech defensive line, that scheme should put them in a good position on Saturday. “We try to put them in the best position possible. That’s what builds that confidence. When you are changing the blocking or doing something different, they have to know that it is for them.”

Update, 12:30 PM

Tight end Camren McDonald spoke to the media today after being named the starting tight end on the depth chart yesterday.

McDonald spent a good chunk of his ability lauding other players on the team — namely quarterback James Blackman, who McDonald said he’s excited to see “rewrite his narrative.”

“James has progressed not just as a quarterback but as a leader. We are always talking about what I see, what he sees.”

“People are sleeping on black.”

McDonald also spoke a bit on the community service he’s made a big part of his career (he says he plans to start a non-profit soon), as well as the approach of this coaching staff.

“I feel like the structure of game week (including last week), we start off with the intensity very high. We emphasize the details all week.”

Update, 12:45 p.m.

Wide receiver Warren Thompson spoke with the media as well, detailing his excitement over being named a starter heading into Georgia Tech as well as the progress the team has made since last month, when Thompson expressed concerns about coronavirus protocols.

“I want to be with my team, I want to be with my coach. This is where I want to be, I want to play ball.”

It’s big, knowing that when you go to war, you are playing with somebody that is going to have your back.”

Thompson made sure to emphasize that Norvell has “his back in all situations, and I’ve got his.”

Florida State Seminoles football is back out on the practice field after taking Monday off.

Yesterday head coach Mike Norvell, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kenny Dillingham, defensive coordinator Adam Fuller and special teams and defensive ends coach John Papuchis all spoke with the media as part of the team’s first official game week presser. We also received our first official depth chart, featuring some names we expected but also some combinations we weren’t exactly expecting (see three takes from it here).

Something we heard emphasized — as we have throughout fall and spring — is that if there’s one thing that FSU is honing in on, it’s the little details. Norvell spoke a bit on the preps that the team ran through during its mock game on Saturday.

Dillingham expanded on it, detailing the meticulous level of preparation that the staff is putting in.

“Basically every situation that can happen in a football game we are simulating. I like where we’re at. I think our guys are working hard and are in a good mindset.”

“Kids are smart — fans, media, they don’t understand how smart kids are, kids see when you have a plan. When we actually teach it and explain the plan, our players see that we believe it. And that’s something that I think coach Norvell does an incredible job of....he’s put in the work to develop the plan.”

I mean we’ve talked about rain delays and what our operation is on a rain delay and how they’ve changed the rules. And now with less than a certain amount of time in the first half, it now is going to take over halftime, so you’re not going to get a halftime.

I don’t know how many teams in the country have discussed the new rain delay Norvell, no little detail is going to go past him and all that stuff is why he’s the coach he is.”

Follow along in the comments throughout the day, as well as on our Twitter and Instagram. We expect to hear from Norvell and the players starting at 11:15 a.m. In the meantime, feel free to drop any questions on your mind heading into game week, and we’ll do our best to answer them.