Each year, months before the first kickoff of the year officially kicks off a new season, the building blocks of the team are established throughout spring football.
For Florida State, those early steps have already begun, as the Seminoles amped up pre-camp conditioning prep in a major way with this year’s edition of the Tour of Duty program.
Inspired by the mat drills made famous by Bobby Bowden and Mickey Andrews, head coach Mike Norvell and strength and conditioning coach Josh Storms have held each year since arriving in Tallahassee, using it as an opportunity to start to shape the mindset for the upcoming season.
“We’re trying to push them to the brink of what they think that they can do, and then take another step,” Norvell said on Thursday after the final workout. “I mean, that’s the game of football. And that’s obviously the game of life, too.”
“That’s what gets me fired up about my job — seeing that progress,” Storms said. “Seeing guys coming in, whether it’s growing up physically, growing up from a maturity standpoint...just seeing that incremental progress along the way, that part’s huge. That’s the motivation. and when those guys start to see that their motivation builds, or they see that in their teammate, their roommate, their best friend, the team — whoever that may be — they see their growth, and that drives them and pushes them.”
Both coaches lauded the efforts of the players, saying the intensity and focus has been what they’ve been seeking from all their athletes whether they be newcomer or returner.
“Our guys, they’ve embraced challenge,” Norvell said. “[We’ve] had some newcomers jump into the program that have really done a remarkable job in how they’ve transitioned. We’ve had some returning players, some of our best players, [make] unbelievable strides in what they’ve been, what they’ve done, and what they’ve been able to accomplish here this spring.”
Though he insisted on being able to name players across the board, Norvell did take the time to highlight a few players who have stood out including quarterback Jordan Travis, running back Trey Benson, wide receiver Kentron Poitier, tight end Jaheim Bell and defensive end Darrell Jackson.
“Anybody can call themselves a leader, but you got to show up each day. And you got to be consistent in that. And that’s where, you know, for our football team, it’s just that consistency. And I think Jordan Travis is a great example of that. He’s a tremendous leader for us. He doesn’t always have to say a whole lot of words. Just the way that he’s worked, he’s busted his butt throughout this Tour of Duty, he’s done a great job in all things in a weight room and continuing to grow and develop for himself.
That’s what you need. And that’s what you want when you have those top players, when their actions are speaking it, it is really remarkable. You see that in a lot of different positions and a lot of guys are taking advantage of those opportunities. That’s something that’s common.”
“Trey Benson is a guy that’s known as one of our top players. But, you know, last year he was limited in so much that he did in the spring. The confidence that he’s been able to develop is really impressive.
The receiving group, I’ve been really pleased with a lot of those guys. It’s great having Winston back out and working and the things that he’s done — just that story in general. You see a guy like Darrion Williamson, moving at a very, very high level, doing great things. Kentron (Poitier), I’m really, really impressed with him.”
“You go to the defensive side, I really like what I’ve seen from some guys in the defensive secondary, there’s a lot of competition there the way that they’re pushing.
Omarion Cooper, I think has gained close to 15 pounds, we’re going to look at a few things with him defensively, just in different positions.
We’re gonna challenge guys, you know, just as we go into the spring to guys that are returning, they continue to develop and what they’re doing, but also, if we can expand roles in a variety of ways, we’re going to do that. I’ve really been pleased with just the overall group and what they’ve done.”
You can listen to Norvell and Storms’ entire availability below: