The stars were shining at Doak Campbell Stadium today. Defensive end Jared Verse was clearly the top player wearing garnet and gold, with the Seminoles' defensive line dominating the public scrimmage. It was clear that the trenches have massively improved from years past.
Quarterback Jordan Travis had a difficult start to the showcase; the small sample size may not have been the best outing for Travis, but there’s never a huge focus on proven starters during the spring. Verse and Travis have led their position groups through the offseason and there’s clearly respect for those veterans from the newcomers. Travis has worked with two young players in Brock Glenn and AJ Duffy for a couple of weeks, and Verse has made sure that a focal point of his practices has been teaching newcomers like Lamont Green Jr. and Gilber Edmond the ropes at Florida State.
“There’s a lot of guys with a lot of experience. I feel like leadership comes from experience, what you go through throughout your career. Obviously, we have guys that have been here for five to six years. Time to take that next step, lead the guys, and show the younger guys how to treat practice, how to treat people, how to treat the classrooms.”
The interview will be linked below:
Q. This is for both of you guys. As veterans and leaders, coach talks about wanting a player led team. How have you seen that transform since last season wrap to where you are today?
JORDAN TRAVIS: I would just say there’s a lot of guys with a lot of experience. I feel like leadership comes from experiences and what you go through throughout your career. Obviously with guys that have been here for five, six years like me, it’s time to take the next step and lead the guys and show the younger guys how to treat practice, how to treat people in life, how to treat classrooms, everything.
JARED VERSE: I think it’s definitely that. When the older guys on the team kind of set the standard, the younger guys have to live by it. When the young guys live by it, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. When everybody on the team that’s not making an immediate impact on the field is following that standard, it only brings your whole team up.
Q. Jordan, how much fun has it been watching the younger quarterbacks and getting to see them play in the stadium today? Not just Brock. Tate’s not a young guy, but just all three of those guys.
JORDAN TRAVIS: I’ve always enjoyed watching the guys grow every single day. I get so much joy out of competing with them every single day. Being able to walk off the field and know they’re my brothers, it’s really special. Those guys have been improving every single day, not just on the football field, but in life. They seem to be taking the next step, which is important.
Q. Jared, Byron Turner had a sequence where he had two straight sacks on plays. How much growth have you seen from him and just the room in general since you got here last year and to see where it is now?
JARED VERSE: Byron specifically is just — that kid’s a freak of nature. You can see it on the kickoff when you see how fast he’s running downfield, how he’s not disturbed by anybody getting in his way. You all saw it today with the sacks and the production he just had. That kid, he’s something special. Seeing him grow from last year, like he was a good player last year, but now it’s just like, wow, Byron, it’s like a whole different thing. And the rest of the room, you see the younger guys, like everybody like that, the real young guys, watching them come up, even though he got hurt today you saw some of the things that he could do and some of the flashes of what he could be in the future. So I’m excited.
Q. Jared, if you want to start, what do you guys take from today, just the chance to, another day to get better, as Coach likes to say, but to be able to do it in front of fans inside Doak? What do you take from a showcase and a day like this?
JARED VERSE: Me personally, I try not to take anything for granted, especially the fans. Coming from where I came from, we didn’t have this atmosphere every day for a spring game or anything like that. Walking into the stadium, people shouting your name, people screaming at you, people wanting to talk, have a conversation with you. That’s the best part, the fans, the culture here. That’s something I never take for granted. I just love it. Just being in Doak, it’s like another day. We got to get back at it. Every day we’ve got to get better. You saw the young guys, they got after it really well today. I felt like I got better today with some of the reps I took. Just every day we’ve got to get better. Just as simple as that.
JORDAN TRAVIS: Piggy-backing off of what he said, every time we have an opportunity to go into Doak and play football is a blessing from the man upstairs. We’re at Florida State University, I always talk about that. We’re living a lot of people’s dreams right now. We’re living our own dreams. You can’t take it for granted. I told the young guys to take a look and enjoy it. We’re Blessed. We get to go out and compete with our brothers, with fans that support us through thick and thin. We’ve been through so many ups and downs throughout our career, and they’ve always had our back.
Q. Jordan, how cool was it to see — we’ve all seen it in practice, but Vandrevius make that play near the end, kind of showcasing what we’ve seen now for six weeks. How cool was that for you to see him have a moment like that? And I assume you think, okay, this kid is a true freshman, but he’s probably going to be in the rotation next year and can make some big plays for us, even though he’s young.
JORDAN TRAVIS: He’s a really special player. He makes plays like that all the time. He came in right away ready to work, a humble kid. He’s looking up to a lot of guys like Johnny Wilson, guys that have had a lot of experience. Yeah, he’s a really special player. I always talk about he reminds me of D.J. Matthews a lot, the way he moves and makes plays. He’s a really special player.
Q. Obviously the new jerseys were unveiled. What were your thoughts on those for both of you?
JORDAN TRAVIS: I love them. I love them.
JARED VERSE: I could finally give out the secret. I’ve been sold. I like them. They made me vow to secrecy. They are. I like them.
Q. Jordan, on the other end of the spectrum, an older receiver that’s really come into his own is Kentron. The consistency you’ve seen from him, and what’s been the difference, you think, for him?
JORDAN TRAVIS: He’s going every day. He’s coming with the right mindset to practice. He’s treating every rep as a championship rep, like Coach Norvell talks about. That’s another guy that doesn’t speak a lot at all. He just comes and works. He’s really fire. Having him out there now, he’s growing into himself and making crazy plays every single practice. It’s not just the spring game, it’s every practice. He carries himself like really well, and he’s a confident kid, a humble kid. He’s great.
Q. For both you guys, Coach Norvell talks about identity a lot, the identity of the team. For you guys, what do you think the identity of this team is having gone through tour of duty and now spring practice?
JARED VERSE: I think it’s intensity. Every day — you guys are here for the practices. Y’all see it’s a whole different atmosphere, how intense we get, the O-line, D-line battles, the battles between the linebackers and the running backs, the secondary and the wide receivers. I think we just bring intensity no matter where we go. Today we’re on the field, we got after it. There was some battles in the trenches that I could see at least that it’s like, okay, you’re seeing people grow all over the place. I think our identity is just being intense, being our best, bringing what we can.
JORDAN TRAVIS: I would say the brotherhood is like what’s really special here. I mean, you walk in the locker room, and you have a smile on your face every single day you see your teammates. I saw all the guys yesterday, and you walk in, and you’re happy to see them. Going out to practice is fun, especially when you have your brothers next to you. I talked about it on spring break. I was gone for six days, and it felt like it was a year since I’d seen my teammates. I couldn’t wait to get back. This team is really special, and the brotherhood is really cool.
Q. Kind of following up on that, Jared, you guys decided to come back, and you guys could have gone. Did you guys feel like you’ve accomplished this spring— I know you have another practice, but do you guys feel like you accomplished what you set out to accomplish? How much more do you have to accomplish before this season?
JARED VERSE: I think definitely, from my personal aspect before I speak about the team, was I got better. One big reason I did come back was to get better. It wasn’t anything major. I wasn’t trying to get faster or stronger, which I do want to do, but it was the smaller things, the things that other people would see when they really focus up on the film not everyone is going to see. So that’s something I really focus on. And just on the team aspect, I came back to see us all get better as a whole team. You guys just saw it. On the offensive side, Tron went crazy today. He had some crazy plays. I’m like okay. And then we had the young guys come in making big plays. I’m like, okay, this is what I came back for. That’s just on the offensive end. On the defensive end, we had some big plays made. Some of the young guys, some guys got switched positions, and they’re making plays. I just came to see us all get better, and that’s exactly what I saw. I’m happy I came back. So happy.
Q. Coach said it’s vital for this team to play with an edge. That’s kind of what gave you guys an advantage last year playing a lot of games. People are telling you how good you are all the time. What are you guys doing to maintain that edge? How have you been able to maintain that edge?
JARED VERSE: I’m just never trying to forget where I came from. I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder. I’ve always been looked at as like, oh, he’s not going to make it. He’s not going to do nothing special. Don’t expect too much of him. I try to keep that mindset. People congratulate you, tell you how good they are, how proud they are of you, but I’m never going to let that get to my head. To me, I’m the kid who only had the one offer and I had to grind to make it here. So in my mind, I’m still that. That’s why I talk as much as I do because I’m trying to keep that edge, keep that mentality going.
JORDAN TRAVIS: I feel like my career has been a roller coaster. Sophomore year, I got booed a little bit. I’ve been down in the dumps a lot. I came a long way, but I couldn’t do it without the help of my teammates and my family. Like Jared said, we know where we came from. We had a losing season for two, three seasons straight. It wasn’t the standard at Florida State. So we know where we came from. It all comes from the work in the off-season. Coach Norvell pushes us really hard in the off-season. When you get to the game field, it’s pretty easy.
Q. You guys talk a lot about the environment around here, practices. You mention being in the trenches, working hard, the younger guys really showing up. The spring showcase compared to past years, and as you guys mentioned, going through it, leading up to it, does this feel different compared to spring showcases last games?
JARED VERSE: I can only speak about the last one because that’s the only one I was here for. It definitely feels a whole lot different, just the impact. Everybody’s like you ready for Saturday? I’m like, yeah, of course I’m ready for it. Everybody’s talking about it. Everybody’s excited about it. They’re more excited than I am, and I love being It’s definitely a whole different feeling just from the last year what I experienced. Everybody is so much more into the team now, and everybody is so excited for not just today, but what’s coming up this season.
JORDAN TRAVIS: I would say the same thing. It’s very different. We’re coming off a winning season. We have a lot of confidence. Previous seasons, we weren’t coming off winning seasons, so we didn’t know where we were at. We know where we’re at, and we can only go up from here. Just continue to work hard.
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