Last week, after Florida State took down Duke, Mike Norvell said he saw his team’s most energetic week of practice since the season began.
It may have already been replaced.
The Seminoles came out of the locker room with a jump and plenty of energy Tuesday morning, putting on a practice that Norvell called “feisty” that featured a few flare-ups throughout the day.
“We had some energy today, sometimes needed more focused energy, a little feisty out there, I would say, but it was good. It was physical, it was fast...I liked the way the guys came and approached today.”
From the actual practice, it looked much of the same from the last couple of weeks. The defense dominated early in the day, only giving up one play of positive yardage in the first 11 on 11 period, but the offense made gains as the day went along. On a competitive workday, three themes stood out above the rest.
Dust-Ups in Dunlap
John Papuchis pulled back the curtain yesterday, discussing how the Seminoles practiced. When talking about Patrick Payton, he said the Miami native’s improvement in “PODs, which we do every Tuesday, which is our O-line vs. D-line in the run game.” Unfortunately, the special teams coordinator is not a fortune teller and did not expect what came on Tuesday.
In what must have been the first 30 seconds of an 8-minute-long drill, Patrick Payton and Kyle Morlock ended up brawling on the grass with each other, needing multiple coaches and staff members to break it up. They seemed displeased with how long the other held onto their block, leading to pushing, shoving, and escalating to a melee. D’Mitri Emmanuel and Joshua Farmer also kept contact well past the whistle, needing the coaching staff to separate them.
As Coach JP said, this drill commences every Tuesday, and the coaching staff wants to see that competitive spirit and fight. However, it usually does not spoil over into multiple flare-ups. Asked about the scuffles post-practice, Mike Norvell did not seem concerned.
“I like having an emotional team; I’m an emotional coach...I try to make them uncomfortable every day, and I want to see what’s the tipping point where I can help, maybe get a response and help educate.”
Nothing seemed to carry over after practice as Kyle Morlock and Patrick Payton stood side by side as they answered questions from the media. When asked about the aggressive practice, the D-2 transfer explained, “We’re just playing football; nothing’s personal out there. It makes practice a little bit more intense, and I kind of like.”
No harm, no foul after practice Tuesday, but when these events happen, it always lights up the room.
When Wake Forest went down by 20+, Dave Clawson finally let Mitch Griffis turn it loose. They quickly realized it would be difficult to march down the field on this secondary. For some reason, they felt the weak link in the Seminole secondary was Renardo Green. Eight passes went in Green’s direction, and only two came down for completions.
Green played phenomenally Saturday, explained by his team-leading 49 snaps and 77.3 pass coverage grade. The senior carried over his stellar play into practice on Tuesday. He did not allow a reception during 1-on-1s and should have come down with an INT, as he ran the slant route for Darian Williamson. During scout teamwork, he did not get fooled with a trick play, stayed home, and limited the yardage. During his media availability yesterday, Adam Fuller spoke highly of the Orlando Native.
“I thought Renardo’s been a rock for us all year...he’s been good in the run game, we’ve challenged him in the blitz game, and he’s showed up...I think he’s playing as good as any corner in the country.”
Renardo Green’s integral part of the secondary can be a massive reason to explain the turnaround from the group and the limited yardage they have given up.
A considerable talk at the Dunlap practice facility centered on the field conditions on Saturday. Since the Steelers played at home Sunday and against this Thursday, when FSU takes the field, it will be the third game played in six days on Acrisue Stadium’s field. Those in power in Pittsburgh decided to resod the field this week to keep the playing surface fresh and functional for the ensuing beat-down. Unfortunately, this week's weather seems less than ideal for grass growing in Pittsburgh, as it should get below freezing on Wednesday in the steel city. With that in mind, players began their preparations Tuesday, using a screw-on bottom underneath their cleats and testing out different shoes than they usually wear for gamedays. Mike Norvell discussed the possible issue after practice.
“We understand that it’s a different surface and one that gets a heavy wear...we’re doing all things just to prepare our guys for understanding what that will be.”
Kyle Morlock added, “We got some different cleats on for practice today, and we’re prepared for it.”
Pre-game should be more interesting than it usually is when FSU hits the field this weekend.
Florida State will re-take the practice field tomorrow for a situational-focused practice. Mike Norvell and his players’ full media availability can be found below.
Head Coach Mike Norvell
DE Patrick Payton
TE Kyle Morlock
Video courtesy Noles247
DE Byron Turner Jr.
Video courtesy Osceola.com