The Florida State Seminoles were back on the gridiron of Bobby Bowden Field, competing in their Spring Showcase after participating in the majority of off-season practices. FSU has one more practice in its back pocket, focusing on the details that need to be tweaked after today's game.
Head coach Mike Norvell has loved the use of the word “consistency” and that was his motto yet again following the showcase. Norvell, along with defensive coordinator Adam Fuller and offensive coordinator Alex Atkins have prioritized depth and stability. During the game in Doak Campbell Stadium, the Seminoles were able to show that they have one of the deepest teams to hit that field in years.
“It’s practice 14 in reality. We wanted to get that in and still have a practice of correction. So now we can go back, get it corrected, and one more time go correct some things... We always have that practice after, and I think it’s good because now you go back, review the film, grade it, have a meeting, and then go out there and correct things that you saw from the spring game.”
The full interviews will be linked below:
Head coach Mike Norvell
It was good. I thought it was a good spring game — or showcase, sorry. Good spring showcase. I really enjoyed getting a chance to have our fans back in Doak Campbell. It was a really good atmosphere. Great to see a lot of our players. We had 20 guys that was the first time they got a chance to go out. Obviously some newcomers that are still going through the process of rehabilitation from off-season injuries.
Really excited about the work and the competitiveness I’m seeing from this team. I thought today really showed some flashes on both sides, good things that showed up. Some young guys that got a chance to get out there and showcase a variety of different talents and areas that they’ve grown in their game. So older veterans, you put on at a high level. So I thought it was a good day. There were times where the defense had great sequences of getting stops, and then offense responded and was able to create some explosives and move the ball down the field. I just thought it was a competitive day, and I think we’re continuing to get better. So I like what I saw.
Q: You’ve talked about Kentron having a really good spring, but to see him do it on that stage in the stadium, how good was that? You seemed to be really excited about one of his blocks as well as the catches.
Mike Norvell: Kentron, he’s made big plays in big games, so he’s done that. What I like is the consistency I’m seeing from that. We knew when he got here that he was very talented, kind of a unique situation. He only played one year of high school football, really had to come into his own. And you see just the development, the growth, and it’s a great job by him putting in the work. Great job by Coach Dugans in the overall development of him. But you can see he’s a well-rounded player too. With Johnny not going today, I was excited to see where Kentron would go with that moment, and he definitely did not disappoint. It wasn’t just with the ball in his hands. I think it was Rodney, one of Rodney’s touchdowns — I believe it was Rodney. He’s 30 years down the field with a big block that helped spring the touchdown. So I love seeing that type of effort and just growth from all individuals, but I think he’s really setting himself up to have a good season and excited what he’s going to be able to do to continue to impact this team.
Q. Rodney Hill had a couple scores today. What did you see from him, and where have you kind of seen the most growth from him this spring?
MIKE NORVELL: Just confidence. Understanding where to be. Obviously the finer details of how to do it, and he’s letting his play making ability take over. I was really happy he caught on the touchdown catch -Rodney’s hard on himself. He really — he approaches the game the way it should be approached, and he wants to be great. He wants every play to be great. Actually in Thursday’s practice there was a play at the end of practice where he missed an opportunity, and he let a pass kind of get away from him in a big moment, and he was really upset about it afterwards. I talked to him that night, and he said, Coach, I just have to make that play. It was the same play that he came back today and was able to make an over the shoulder really nice touchdown catch with it. That’s what you want to see. He’s very young, a redshirt freshman. He’s still got a lot in front of him. But when you approach each rep the way he does and you take the ownership — I mean, it’s not all going to be perfect. I mean, there’s going to be good and bad that shows up throughout the journey. But he’s a really remarkable young man, and I’m just excited about what his future’s going to hold. He’s showing that he’s going to be able to help us at a very high level, which we fully expected coming into this year.
Q. Kalen DeLoach had two takeaways, possibly could have been for scores if it was live action. What did you see from him today and just generally this entire spring?
MIKE NORVELL: Kalen is one of those guys he’s got to be one of those heartbeats for us. He’s been here since we came through the door as a coaching staff. Probably as much growth from a young man from that first day to where he is now, just — in all things. His attitude, his approach. If he’s not exceptional on a day, it really shows up. Like if he’s not bringing that type of intensity — because that’s just who he is. I thought it was great today to see him get a couple takeaways, to be able to — both in good situations, one on interception, one when the ball got to the ground. Just being around the ball, being active, being physical. I think he’s put himself in position to have a really good year upcoming, and we need him to because he definitely is somebody that the team can feed off of. Obviously his energy and explosiveness, just a really good playmaker.
Q. What did you think of the performance of the four quarterbacks and especially Brock doing, it in front of the biggest audience he’s ever dealt with?
MIKE NORVELL: I think it was good. I think there was good, and there were some plays that are very teachable moments for all four of them. I thought they did a good job of responding. Brock had a series where he missed a couple throws early. I was glad to see him come back at the end and have that touchdown drive, you know, not to let it go the other way. Even A.J., there was a series that I thought he was just a little hesitant in some of the decision-making, and to be able to come back, I thought he had a really good drive at the end as well. I’m really pleased with the growth in that room. There’s a lot of competition. I think Tate has done a great job continuing to push to take another step. I know I’ve talked about it all year. And Jordan, he’s really working to improve. Today it was not perfect, and there was things that he knows in a moment of where it could be better and things that he knows where he can even be more efficient. Like the throw to Kentron, the rhythm and timing on that, it was beautiful. I got to stand right behind it. He couldn’t have It’s what you want to see. That type of control, command, and confidence is something that’s going to be big for us. All those guys are pushing for it.
Q. Going into the spring, you talked about the word better and these guys getting better each and every day. Was today another step in the right direction of seeing these guys do that?
MIKE NORVELL: I think so. Defensively, our defensive front, we want that to be a forcing unit. You saw some great opportunities where they were making things really challenging to be able to run the ball in some spots. You see guys that are flying around. The way they were attacking and being able to create some pressure was really good. We have some newcomers there on the offensive line, some guys that are experienced. Trying to hold — Maurice and Darius didn’t get a whole lot of work today, and obviously Rob’s out. So we have a lot of new faces that were working with the offensive line. Great film. Great opportunity for those guys to see, to learn, to continue to push the efficiency and execution for us. But I think we’ve improved. We’re going to have to have an unbelievable summer. We’re going to have to have a great fall camp. But I’ve got a lot of confidence that this team will continue to invest for what they’re capable of doing. It’s just continuing to get better.
Q. You guys had the spring showcase today. Then you have one more practice Monday. Was that like just your plan? What do you want to get out of this showcase to take to Monday’s practice?
MIKE NORVELL: Ideally, I’d love to do that every year. It’s so many years in my coaching career coming up, you would have the spring game, spring showcase in our situation, but you would have that opportunity. Then coaches get on the road, and it’s just all the things with recruiting. So you would really miss out on a chance to go through and really get some of those finer details of teaching. Then just getting back on the field and having that fundamental approach with special teams. We’ll be able to go through some variations of look and preparation of things that you might see, some things that maybe offensively our defense wasn’t — maybe didn’t get to see as much of or want to continue to work or vice versa. Offensively getting at different defensive looks. We do a lot, so it’s a lot of — not a ton that we really need to work that much extra on, but it is about the finer details. And anything that has been maybe a reoccurring issue in spring, to kind of clean that up and help guys understand the expectation for when they’re out there. It’s player led opportunities in the summer and what they can do. The great thing is with some of the rule changes and what we’re able to do with meetings and being around our guys, it definitely helps so much.
Q. Looking at the bigger picture, you knew a lot about this team coming into spring. A lot of guys played a lot of football for you the last three years. Did you learn anything about this team this spring?
MIKE NORVELL: I thought they worked. I know they — it’s one thing — we have to have an edge. I mean, it’s critical. It’s absolutely critical. That’s what this team is built on. It’s built on that edge of work, of toughness, of physicality, of going out and getting better. When people don’t think you’re worth a crap, it’s not hard to have an edge. When people start telling you that they think you’re pretty good, you’ve got to maintain that focus and that drive of self-improvement and blocking out all the things you — all the things you didn’t listen to a year ago, you talk about, well, you don’t need to listen to them now. It’s truly about leaving the field every day or leaving the weight room or the classroom and saying did I give my best, and did I get better? If you can achieve that, you’ve got a chance. I think this team, it is more player led than any team that we’ve had, and that’s what it should be. I want to be coach inspired. I want our coaches to make sure that we’re teaching and we’re inspiring these guys, we’re pushing them and showing them all the things that they can do. But I want the players to have the ownership of taking the reins and making sure that the standard is showing up on a daily basis.
Q. Your uniforms were unveiled towards the end of the showcase. Reactions seemed pretty positive on Twitter, which is hard to do universally.
MIKE NORVELL: Yes!
Q. How much input did you have in that? What’s that mean for the program to have that step forward?
MIKE NORVELL: It’s great. It is something that we definitely discussed. Jason is remarkable in our partnership with Nike and just the collaboration with our athletic department. We worked together through it. I love the traditional look that it shows, but also with the representing the Seminole tribe and keeping that a part of what we’re doing and making sure it still has a strong place in the uniform but still getting back to that classic Florida State that’s so well appreciated. I think it’s a great looking uniform. I think they’ve done a wonderful job. Excited to see our guys wearing it here this fall.
Q. It’s not really related to the game today, but the portal calendar, I guess, opens back up again now for a couple weeks. Is that something — do you like the fact that where it falls now on the calendar? How does it change your guys’ approach? Do you have to have new exit meetings again to make sure everybody is on the same page?
MIKE NORVELL: We’ll have exit meetings and being able to — that’s been something the last few years is to try to have. We’ll have that practice and also have meetings surrounding that with position coaches. Next week or the following week, I’ll have all my head coach exit meetings with each player. I think it’s always good to get an understanding of where guys are, the things that continue to be improved on, and be able to go from there. It’s always great to get the feedback of the players’ perspective and then just our perspective for them as well. The day and age with the transfer portal and opportunities, I’m sure it will be interesting across the country. But it’s — I like where we are, and I like this group that we have. It will be good conversations for us to have as individuals and as a team
Offensive coordinator, offensive line coach Alex Atkins
Q. Obviously you’ve seen a lot of the veterans play in that stadium before and on big, huge stages, but what did you see from some of the younger guys? Obviously Brock and the young receivers, but you have young linemen too. What did you see out of the younger guys?
ALEX ATKINS: The main thing we want to see is growth. That’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for growth from practice 1 to practice 14. We’re seeing guys starting to understand situation. And the smaller things, even with the O-line starting to understand the down and distance of the stance they’re in, from Brock understanding what he can and can’t do. I saw him take some checkdowns to get first downs. That’s good. Understanding the situation. We have some things to work on. But all those young guys, what we’re looking for is just growth and being a ballplayer and picking up the offense and understand how to operate in situations. That’s the main thing. I saw the quarterback taking the checkdown, which is big. I saw receivers getting to the sticks and getting first downs. We still had a couple of deals knowing with like knowing when to throw it away, knowing when to tuck tail and take what it is and not take big losses and things like that, where they got bust or didn’t get a check or things like that. You just can’t create situations until we’re in them. As much as we can keep doing and progress, but I like the progress because the first scrimmage, we had a lot of TFLs and things that we didn’t have to have. I saw us advance the ball, and every drive wasn’t a touchdown and things like that, but I saw us advance the ball and get out of some tough situations, which I was proud of that.
Q. Piggy-backing on that, you mentioned you get one more practice. That’s not a lot of programs where they have a spring game showcase and then have a practice after. What kind of opportunity is that for you guys to grow and teach and go into the off-season this summer and be able to be ready for that after this?
ALEX ATKINS: It’s practice for a team in reality. We wanted to get that in and still have a practice of correction. Now we can go back and get it corrected and one more time go and correct things. Which is the goal, like we said, growth. So we did the same thing. That’s kind of how we’ve operated here. We always have that practice after. I think it’s good because now you go back, review the film, grade it, have a meeting, and then go out there and correct things you saw from the spring game. Most of the time it kind of just is what it is. You get the meetings, and you kind of roll. I like having that practice to go back, watch it, and evaluate the tape just like you would at a game and go out there and make some more corrections.
Q. You spoke highly about Kentron Poitier earlier this spring, and he had a really good day today. What have you seen from him throughout the entire spring? How big has it been he’s been so consistent through 14 practices now?
ALEX ATKINS: You see the confidence with the quarterbacks trusting in him. If he gets run coverage, they’re going to him because that’s how much belief he’s given those guys. You know you’re doing a good job when it’s a critical situation and the QB looks for you. When you get in that man coverage, that single coverage, now the quarterback has to make a decision, and he’s going to Tron. So to have that confidence in him shows where he is right now, and he makes the plays. It’s one thing to go to a guy when he’s not making the plays, but Tron is making the plays.
We’ve seen this all spring, though. We’ve had multiple times where multiple offensive coaches have brought up his name, and we talk about that true development, that position man from a guy that got in here and had to fight through, whether it be being behind on the depth chart, other new guys coming in, he just kept fighting, and he’s going to get to showcase what he can do and showcase the talent.
Q. What have you seen from C.J. Campbell this spring, now going into also the spring showcase. What have you seen him being a really high competitor, it seemed like, throughout this camp?
ALEX ATKINS: C.J., he always had a chip on his shoulder. Any time you get a walk-on guy that comes into Florida State, he always have something about him to know he’s got to climb to the top. To see him go through what he went through last year with the injury and bounce back, the good thing about it is, when you see him have success, you see the team respond. And that’s when you know they’re riding for him and what he’s been through. C.J. is instrumental in so many things, whether it be recruiting or positive morale, all of that. He’s done a phenomenal, phenomenal football job. So to see him run hard and have that toughness, that’s in his DNA because you’re a walk-on and go to a guy that’s getting carries with the one group, think about that struggle and that time. So I like what C.J. brings.
Q. I just wanted to ask you about the veteran leadership on this team, especially on this offense. You guys have brought in a lot of new young players, guys that could be contributors for you. Just guys like Jordan, guys like Johnny, Trey, guys who have been here for a year now. How have you seen them rubbing off on these younger guys coming in and trying to make a name for themselves?
ALEX ATKINS: Veteran leadership shows in uncomfortable conversations because there’s a lot of pride and ego out there with the type of recruits we brought in, the level they are, and the guys we brought in with the older guys. So when you see an older guy make a correction to a young guy, that young guy’s response tells us where the relationship is. That’s the reality of it. If that guy snaps back at him, that means they haven’t developed a relationship. The first key to leadership is relationship. Now you know the person that’s getting on you shows they have a relationship with them. You understand what I’m saying? So what I like about it is, when you see our older guys, whether it be Maurice Smith getting on Julian Armella, whether it be Jordan getting on a receiver on a route or making a wrong deal, when you see a Tron getting on Deuce, when you see these things and there’s no argument or bickering or back and forth on the sideline -and you have a little bit of confrontation because we’re all in a moment — but when you that, then you know their relationship off the field is growing on the field because, when a player corrects a player in an uncomfortable situation, emotional situation, and you see that player’s face, there’s a respect level of eyes like I know, if he’s saying it, it really means something to him. So we’ve got to continue to build that. It’s going to take some time. We’ve got some new guys here. And we’ve got to give some guys the confidence to lead. Like with Jaheim Bell, he’s come in and just went to work. So he’s earning that respect. You see him maybe not being a feature, but he’s buying into it. So he’ll continue to earn that respect and he can be a leadership role because I like the way he goes about his business. Just having that real relationship off the field has been a benefit for us.
Q. You mentioned 14 practices now to mix and match and evaluate what you have on the offensive line. How do things change now with the amount of data you’ve had, looking at these guys over 14 practices, as a talent evaluator, as a team builder? How do things change for you once the off-season hits and trying to configure these five guys to get the best fit?
ALEX ATKINS: It’s not difficult at all because, number one, the room makes those selections. We know who’s taking care of business. We know who’s putting in the work consistently and daily. The first thing is we had a couple of new guys coming in. We’ve got guys going through their first off-season. Julian, this is his first off-season. Sapp, this is his first off-season. Jaylen Early, this is his first off-season. Then you add J.B., K.J., and all these other guys, Casey, like this is the fits time going through the offense. What we’re building here is the identity of what we want to be, knowing who we are, how we work, picking up the offense. Then we’ll start figuring out that five based upon the information that we’ve collected of what we saw consistently day in and day out. It’s a good problem to have because we’ve got a lot of guys that play a lot of snaps. Also, those snaps are in the past. Now is what you’re doing here lately. That’s what I love about Coach in his position is all that stuff goes away. Those snaps gain experience, but it’s about what you did today, and that’s what’s going to make the determinative factor. So you’ve still got to bring it every day and still continue to prove or you can get lapped too. So it’s fun to create a competition, but I think the continuity will start to show up as we go back and watch it and see who’s making less mistakes, who’s in position, and things like that. And it will start to clear up once we get to about that third week of camp.
Q. With all the guys you had coming back this season, all the veterans who played a lot — Coach talked earlier about wanting — they need to have that same edge they had last year now that everybody’s talking about them. What have you seen now that you’ve been through several months since the end of last season and the spring in terms of like those older guys not just being back, but really trying to go to another level?
ALEX ATKINS: They don’t have a choice really. Coach creates an environment of improvement. Even looking at this room, we have our goal boards up and things like that. They have no choice. I remember leaving the second scrimmage, he challenged the coaches on just making sure our older guys are taking that next step. That’s what he was looking for in particular, to make sure they were straining it to get that 1 percent better. When the culture creates that, it gives you a chance to set the examples for the other guys. Man, look how he’s coaching Jordan. Look how he’s coaching Johnny. Look how he’s coaching Trey. I’d better be on top of my game because, if he’s coaching him like that, I haven’t even had a carry in the game. So it creates that environment of improvement. Also, like we go back to the first question of leadership. If we don’t have that from in the locker room and that push and that desire and it’s got to be coach led, we’re going to have a lot more problems than we bargained for anyway. We’ve done a good job of establishing the culture of improvement and accountability. So we’ve just got to make sure we’re taking that next step to keep bleeding as we keep adding people to the roster.
Q. Today felt like as big of an example as you’ve seen, the depth you all have gradually built really on both sides of the ball. You can talk about the offense, the offensive line and the offense as a whole, what’s that do having that level of functional depth and reaping the rewards of those years of work now?
ALEX ATKINS: I tell my guys the best defensive line you’re going to face in the country is the one we see every day. You go out there and compete with those guys and keep getting them better. Then they tell us — I was on the sideline with Jared, and he’s like them boys are getting better. He was out there on the first one, it’s a little difficult out there. I think we’re creating that competition with building our fronts. If you watch us play ball, man, we’re going to play through the fronts. We’re an edge team culture and how we play and how we play physical. So if you come back to practice and watch the drills, we do a lot of half line. We do a lot of one-on-ones. We do a lot of toughness type drills, and it’s starting to pay off. It’s also clean drills. We’ve still got guys going in the spring, that started in the spring, and they’re going now. You see in spring practice, guys out there, I thought we’ve done a good job of attacking each other and getting that toughness, still keeping each other off the ground and staying up and playing fast. We’re learning how to take care of each other too and not take cheap shots. It’s going the way it should be going when you’re going into year four. We’ve got to make sure we keep the daily growth and that mind focus of what’s it’s going to be moving forward with daily growth. That’s got to be the mentality. If we don’t, it will show up. Those flaws and those skeletons will come out if we’re not attacking it that way.
Q. You guys always talk about the response, the response, but how great was it to see Brock Glenn after the first couple series didn’t go his way, to come back in one of the final series and get that score? How big was it for the freshman to do that?
ALEX ATKINS: And we’ve got to show the confidence in the package that we’re sending in to him. Just because you did that, we’re not going to go out here and run isos six plays in a row. We still believe in you. A couple of balls settled on him. But to come back and attack it again and go back and have a touchdown drive, that just shows who he is and what he’s about. And that response we’re talking about. Even like with Rodney, he had one he put on the ground with a fourth down, and I said, man, you’ve got to come back, and he came back with some tough runs there toward the end with great ball security. That’s what the practice is. Learning from those mistakes and creating those environments of response. Like Coach always says, we’re going to respond. We want to swing first. We don’t want to be two minute responses. But when bad stuff happens, we’ve got to make sure we have the mindset to keep swinging and keep going because that’s what you’ve got to have when you get in those close games, man. You’ve got to keep swinging.
Q. After 14 practices, how do you feel about the quarterback two competition, how the returnees and how Brock handled it?
ALEX ATKINS: It’s going to be fun to watch because we’ve got some guys in that room that have some good talent and starting to pick it up, and I saw flashes out there. We’re going to really start to see the competitive juices start to come out there and start to flow and showing up in moments that needs to show up. I think we’ve got guys that are going to embrace it and go get it. So I can’t wait to see the growth from when they get this film to what they do the next practice and moving forward throughout the summer. They know what it is now and know what they’ve got to be. So I’m excited to watch it.
Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller
Q. I know you have one more practice to go, but in general how pleased are you with the amount of takeaways you had throughout the spring? I know that’s been a focus for you?
ADAM FULLER: We’re getting better at it. Somehow we’ve got to continue to find ways in coverage to create some more vision so we can get our hands on the underneath balls. I think the emphasis has been there. And I like what happened today. That was a really good play with D.J. Lundy and Kalen DeLoach on the ball carrier getting it out with the scoop and score. The takeaways, I’ve said this before, are really critical because they get the ball back to our offense quick. Just the ball disruptions have really gone up. That’s just getting your hands in throwing lanes, getting your hands up when the quarterback’s throwing the football, just attacking the ball on the catch point with the wideouts. We’re tallying those things, and those numbers are really going up. We’ve just got to keep at it and keep the summer training to keep working on those takeaway circuits. Q. Speaking of takeaways, Kalen DeLoach had two of them today. What have you seen from him this spring, what areas has he improved on, and what can he do for you guys this season?
ADAM FULLER: Kalen’s played a good amount of football. I thought his improvement from last scrimmage to this one was impactful. I didn’t think he was his best. I’ve got really high expectations for Kalen. He’s played some really important football, and I think he’s got a lot of leadership capabilities to him too. He’s constantly building his body to get it bigger and stronger, but it was great to see him have that impact. Those are two game changing plays. He might have had two defensive touchdowns today. That’s huge for him. I think he has that in him. I think he has that in him to be that way week in and week out. I think the next several months it’s important for him to build that portfolio because I do trust him and I do believe in him.
Q. I think we’ve talked about Byron Turner a couple times already, the spring he’s had. He had a sequence where he had back-to-back sacks and stalled a drive, forced a third and long, and got a sack on third down. How much improvement have you seen from him this spring?
ADAM FULLER: Byron has made strides. We’ve invested a lot of reps in Byron, and I think we saw some of that impact today. Just through 14 practices we can trust that he’s going to do his job and be in the right position. It’s just his pad level and just the fundamentals and being consistent with it, for him to be a really good player. He’s really physical. He’s probably behind Jared probably the fastest defensive line we have just straight line besides Jared. I just think his consistency with the fundamentals -because he just kind of plays through contact. He’s a ball of knives. He runs through people. At times he gets pushed out of the way or gets run by the quarterback and things that we can still really clean up with him. But I’ve got to remind myself he still is a redshirt freshman. We’ve had some good young players play good early. I don’t want to say he’s ahead of schedule or behind schedule, he’s just on Byron’s schedule. I think there’s more in him, but it was good to see him have some success today. That’s a spot that we’ve obviously had some impact players. I think Byron can be a good piece to us this fall, and I’m looking forward to seeing the gains he makes in the future.
Q. Wanted to follow back up on what you were saying about Kalen. The sense I’m getting maybe is maybe he doesn’t realize how dominant he could be. Is that accurate? Or just he hasn’t been in that position?
ADAM FULLER: I think we live in a program where each day we try to tell them what they do well and what they need to improve. Today was the most important practice we have because it was today. 131957-1-1182 2023-04-16 00:05:00 GMT Page 1 of 3I know Mike said this numerous times to everybody out there, but that’s how you get better. So I don’t want to say— I think Kalen does have high expectations for himself. I think he thinks he could be one of the better linebackers in the country. I just — I trust what I know, and I trust what I’ve been through with Kalen. I just know from a consistency standpoint, if he plays at his optimum, he can be a big time playmaker for us this fall. I think that can be from week one all the way to whatever the last game happens to be. I just want to see him maximize each day. And not just Kalen, but there were times this spring where we weren’t our best all the time, and we’re constantly striving to get to that point. I think we’ve seen Kalen make some really splash plays. And it’s easy to talk about him right now because he just maybe scored two defensive touchdowns, so he happens to be the topic. But from where he’s been to where he is now has been great growth. I just think there’s more. And I think he knows that too, and I can’t wait to see what that looks like.
Q. I know you’re focused on the guys that you’re able to coach that are on the field with you, but are you able to at all kind of project to what you guys will look like when you have the full allotment that you’ve seen at practice throughout the spring and the guys you were able to bring in but couldn’t coach this spring?
ADAM FULLER: Yes.
Q. How does it look?
ADAM FULLER: Well, I don’t know, I’m kind of projecting it, but I do — because the recruitment is still the recruitment. You can’t be the coach that, well, I’m going to recruit these guys. He’s kind of hurt, so I don’t know what that’s going to look like. That’s awful. It’s your job to know what that’s going to look like. Now, it can change because your evaluation could be wrong and they can get here and change directions. So you’ve got to be open minded to that. But when we signed this class and we brought them into this current group, we knew what it would look like from a structure and how we can use different pieces. Now, the great question would be, if we had them all, would we be doing everything we could do for the fall? And that would be yes. Just we couldn’t do all the different maybe personnel packages or get as much of the dime look stuff with DBs because there’s been guys down. That’s part of dealing with spring. But we could get it done with drill work. There were times we were playing with six DBs in some perimeter drills or some seven-on-seven drills or some half line Skelly drills. During pods, we played some of the defensive ends inside to run some of the games. We played some of the defensive tackles outside in different fronts. We just haven’t been able to do everything we want because of some of the guys that weren’t available, but definitely know what it’s going to be.
Q. We saw Quindarrius show up again today, make some flash plays. That’s really been a lot of what we’ve seen this spring. How impressed have you been with him as a playmaker consistently?
ADAM FULLER: Very impressed. He had a very good winter program. For someone to graduate high school and show up and do what we demand in December, it really takes a very special young man. I think Quin did a really good job. He had a really good tour of duty. His winter sessions were excellent, they really were. He kind of stayed the course and was very consistent. Then we got out there in practice one, and he looked like a freshman. In practice two, he still looked like a freshman. By practice three to four, I remember grabbing Coach Surtain, and I said, he’s really taken to coaching already. By five to now, like I’m comfortable with him when the ball’s thrown at him. Now it’s about just getting him when the ball isn’t thrown to him, and he’s involved in the blitz game, the run fit, the pass fit. Just making sure that we can count on him being where he needs to be with the right leverage. That’s not Quin’s fault. That’s just reps and practice and time and investment. For me to sit here and say, when the ball’s thrown at him, I have a lot of confidence in Quindarrius, that’s really good praise because that’s a young man that’s really taken to the program the past couple months. Really like what Pat’s done with him, and it’s a credit to him and his work ethic, Quindarrius.
Q. Last time we talked to you after the second scrimmage, paraphrase, but you mentioned a sense of urgency being needed for some of the safeties. Since that moment to now, what have you seen from how they responded from that second scrimmage?
ADAM FULLER: Better. It was good to get Duke back involved. He was down for a little bit there. It was good to get Akeem and Shyheim involved. I feel really confident in the skill set of the group. It’s my job to make sure they’re playing to their abilities. I think today was a good showing by them. If we do what we should do up front, then maybe all the production isn’t there. Do we use them like we’re going to use them against LSU? Probably not. Maybe in some categories, but to just — I think they were good today. I thought our communication was better in the red zone when we started out practice. I think that first group went 3-0. So that was a good start. First series when we got some of the other guys in there, I thought I like that group. I think we’ve got the right people there. It will be good to get some of these guys back to be able to add some depth to the group, but I like the top of the group.
Q. If you could talk a little bit about the young linebackers. Omar, obviously, you’ve talked about him this spring, but also DeMarco and how he’s come on as another true freshman.
ADAM FULLER: I thought DeMarco has played really well throughout spring. I thought today probably wasn’t his best day. He looked a little bit slow in reactions today. But take away today’s performance, and I do think like — it’s hard to say, wow, that looks like a freshman. And at linebacker and safety, that is so difficult not to look like a freshman because you’re in the middle of it. So things come at you from both ways. Coach Fuller, Coach Shannon, Coach Surtain are telling you, hey, look at this guy. Then Coach Norvell’s lining up in this formation, they’re doing this. And you say, yeah, you’ve got to do that, but on this, you have to do this. These kids, their wheels keep turning. He has not been that way. He’s been very composed. He’s been very assignment sound. He’s looked like he’s shown good quickness in short areas. So I’ve been really pleased that you can go into the summer and you’re not on day one with him. I just think the speed of the game, he’s got to pick that up, and that’s going to come with some reps.
Q. Veteran guys like Renardo and Dennis, they’ve been here since day one when you guys have gotten here, and they’ve moved around some positions, and now they’ve kind of found homes. How reliable are those two guys for you? If you could expound on those guys individually. How good could Renardo be?
ADAM FULLER: When I got here, I watched Renardo, he played some corner. I went back and watched high school film. There was some film of him as a freshman here. We made the decision to move him to safety based off what he’d done in the program at that point. He gave us some good reps, and he had up and down moments of injuries and trying to come back from it. I think one of the better decisions we did as a program was putting him at corner. He could have played safety. He can play nickel. He’s got all the skills to play a lot of different spots, but we made that decision. And he had a really good year. I think now he’s going to year two of playing the same position, getting the same reps, and that comes with confidence. I think Renardo is one of our strongest competitors. I think he’s a really good one-on-one player. He’s a really good tackler for a corner. Overall, he’s somebody that’s really worked hard and earned the trust of his teammates and his coaching staff, and he plays the game the right way. He plays hard. He’s a physical, good one-on-one defender. He’s become a really good team player, and I think our players believe in him. Dennis, taking it all the way back, he was the one in the COVID year, all of a sudden he came back in that North Carolina game and played after practicing three times. It’s been a — look back all those years and everything that’s had to transpire for him. Then he was playing really good football, then got hurt, missed most of the year. Last year did what was best for the team, and we moved him out, moved him a little bit back inside, and that was probably his best football. I thought the Bowl game was one of his best games since he’s been here. Just looking forward to getting some consistency with him and just looking forward to what the impact will be.
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