Winter is here.
On a 40-degree morning and 12 weeks of football behind, the Seminoles continued their trudge to the mountaintop. Battered and bruised, coach Norvell shortened practice by about 15 minutes today as the head man explained it was just about “being at this point in the year.”
For the on-the-field festivities, the offense struggled early in the day as the defense carried over their stymieing of the run game from Saturday night. However, as the day wore on, creative playcalling helped Tate Rodemaker and company find a rhythm. Both groups worked on 3rd down work and red zone for much longer than usual on a Tuesday (usually, these focal points happen on Wednesday.) A cold Mike Norvell spoke with the media after practice and appreciated the effort he saw on the field.
“I thought we had a productive day today. I thought we got good work and an introduction of what we have for this week...as we get to a championship week, it’s still about the growth.”
On a championship Tuesday, three themes stood out above the rest.
During Mike Norvell’s opening statements, he rarely shouts out individual players.
His tendencies changed Monday afternoon.
“Akeem Dent played his best football game since he’s been at Florida State...really proud of that young man.”
Akeem Dent and Shyheim Brown were integral parts of the defensive machine unleashed in Gainesville on Saturday night. The PFF numbers back it, reporting defensive grades of 71.1 and 77.8, respectively. Both safeties built on their explosive performances during Tuesday’s practice. Brown put his pass coverage on display during the 1 on 1 portion of practice as he stepped in front of Markeston Douglas’ route for an INT and registered a PBU during his other rep. Akeem Dent could be found everywhere during 11 on 11 periods as he lined up to blitz on one play and was the furthest defender the next. Fuller lines him up all over, and his versatility has created matchup nightmares for defenses. Not only are both players exceptional athletes, they are football junkies. After almost every play, the defensive staff can be seen explaining and coaching up their back-end playmakers. As the two players most responsible for communication, it is a lifesaver that they each boast high football IQ. This week against Louisville will produce a new challenge for the defense as it will be the first senior QB they face in over a month. Dent and Brown’s A game is needed to continue the tormenting of opposing signal callers.
With Florida State up two and Tate Rodemaker evaluated in the medical tent, Mike Norvell turned to his true freshman quarterback. The entire stadium expected a run, but Glenn pulled the ball and threw a pass out to the flat that fell incomplete. During practice today, Norvell laughed at the question, wondering if he agreed with No.11 slinging the rock in that situation. But one part of Glenn’s game is no laughing matter.
After Jordan Travis’ heartbreaking injury, every QB room member was given a new opportunity. So far, the Memphis native has seized the moment. He does not seem overwhelmed by the moment or facing the studs on the FSU defense. His passes are on time, on target, and delivered with plenty of zip. Today, his best play went incomplete, but it showcased all of his talent. The play called for an RPO, and Glenn pulled the ball. However, no one underneath was open. He instead rolled right to extend the play and fired a 25-yard dart on the run that fell off Johnny Wilson’s hands and hit the greying grass. He is still a freshman and struggles with pressure in his face, but he reads the field incredibly well. Instead of putting the ball in harm's way during a couple 1 on 1 routes, the freshman calmly tucked the ball and turned to the next rep. Alex Atkins described Brock Glenn the best during his media availability yesterday.
“Brock is going to be an exceptional football player...he doesn’t miss a rep even when he’s not in there...he is preparing himself like a starter ever since I met him.”
His number should not be called during the Seminole's next few games, but if it does, he will be ready for the moment.
Florida State is still working out kinks and cadences with a new QB under center. Each QB acts differently before the snap, and some of these challenges came through on Saturday and during Tuesday’s practice. Early on in the day, the offense committed three straight false starts. Mike Norvell looked like how he did after the Akeem Dent penalty against Florida. I counted six snap infractions on the day in the most laundry on the field in months. This continues a troubling trend from Saturday where the Seminoles took multiple delay of game penalties. I asked offensive coordinator Alex Atkins about them, and he took responsibility for the negative yardage.
“We take responsibility as a coaching staff. That’s on us. We don’t put that on them...we got to make sure that they understand the urgency when they’re taking the field.”
Although these are two different penalties, they will be detrimental if they continue to show up. Taking a pre-snap penalty in the swamp is one thing, but consistently taking them in practice is another. These must be cleaned up before a wet night in Charlotte five days from now.
That’s all from practice today. The Seminoles retake the field tomorrow for situational Wednesday. Mike Norvell and the player’s media availability can be found below.
Head Coach Mike Norvell
LB Kalen DeLoach
DE Patrick Payton
Video courtesy Warchant
OL Maurice Smith
Video courtesy Noles247