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“All about the work:” Jordan Travis, Trey Benson focused on details ahead of 2023 season

The duo spoke with the Florida State media on Wednesday, touching on handling expectations, offseason work, impressions of new teammates Keon Coleman and Destyn Hill, as well as a variety of other topics.

Peyton Baker/Tomahawk Nation

For the first three seasons of Mike Norvell’s tenure at Florida State, the consistent message has been consistency.

It’s not the first time that noun has been prioritized by a coaching staff, but it’s stood out through the way the language Norvell uses permeating through the vocabulary of his players.

Two of the best examples of that are quarterback Jordan Travis and running back Trey Benson, who were key figures in Florida State’s offense becoming one of the best in the nation in 2022 — one that ranked 7th nationally in yards per play (6.96) and 10th in yards per game (484.2).

Benson shattered preseason expectations, fully proving his recovery from leg injuries suffered at Oregon as he put up 990 yards and nine touchdowns (as well as a thrilling kickoff return for a touchdown vs. Boston College), ranking first in ACC and 13th nationally with average of 6.46 yards per rush.

Meanwhile, Travis put up such ridiculous production (226-of-353, 3,214 yards, 24 touchdowns, five interceptions, 417 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns and a two-yard touchdown reception) and elevated his game to such a degree that he’s considered a top Heisman Trophy contender heading into 2023, where he’s one of only four active players with at least 5,500 passing yards and 1,700 rushing yards.

The duo spoke with the Florida State media on Wednesday, touching on handling expectations, offseason work, impressions of new teammates Keon Coleman and Destyn Hill, as well as a variety of other topics.

The full transcript from the interview, as well as video, can be found below:

Jordan Travis, Trey Benson Interview

What has been the mindset of the team?

Travis: I feel like it’s always the same mindset. It’s all about the work, especially in the offseason. That’s all we do is just work — build confidence from work. So we’ve been working hard, I mean, our summers are no joke. Coach Storm pushes hard. Trying to keep weight on, put weight on, get bigger get stronger, faster.

What’s been the biggest change in offseason workouts now that coaches can monitor?

Travis: We’re able to throw now. Before we weren’t able to have balls and stuff like in front of the coaches, so we’re able to throw, we’re able to go through plays. Obviously it’s just an opportunity to go out in front of them and then showcase our abilities and obviously they can coach us up on little things like fundamentals and throwing the ball and just little things like that.

How does it feel to have a fully healthy season and offseason after injury?

Benson: I was grateful, you know, to come back from a devastating injury. This offseason’s been great. I have no problems, I feel 100% and I’m just ready to go

How do you handle expectations for this season?

Travis: Just taking it day by day, you know, we got big expectations but there’s no pressure because of the teammates we have the chemistry that have, the brotherhood that we have and we keep you know, building the team chemistry.

We just got to focus on the day in front of us, we can’t get too far ahead and think about championships. We got our today’s workout we have a workout Friday, then we get a week off and then we’ve come back. It’s time — there’s no more breaks. It’s going to work and then straight into camp and straight into this season. So when it comes to the season, we got to focus on the game in front of us and the practice in front of us. That’s the mindset we always have to have

How do you fix the issue of “leaving yards out on the field”?

Benson: Just trusting my speed and trusting my track and that’s what you’re gonna hear Coach because yelling at me about all the time. So basically, spring I just mean you know, trusting my speed and trusting my track.

What’s an ideal playing weight?

Benson: I don’t really have a golden weight. I mean, being bigger, that’s great. I still feel good, at, I probably weigh like 226 right now. I’m gonna go down just a tad bit. I want to play at like 220. Having that weight is cool and all but I feel like I like being a little lighter because I don’t want to lose out on my speed. So, my goal is 220.

Have you changed your preparation at all this offseason?

Travis: I feel like I haven’t done much different...still trying to put weight on. I’m up to 212 now so still putting weight on that’s always been my goal, to put the weight on and keep it. I’ve had this weight for probably about a month and a half now which is, is good. It’s always the same mindset. Focus on my leadership, being myself, not trying to be a leader that I’m not. I mean, I’m not a guy that speaks a lot and yells in front of the team, but I work my butt off every single day and show up early just do the little things right.

What’s been your impression of Keon Coleman?

Travis: Keon’s a special player — comes in works really hard. You can see he studies the playbook really hard, because for a guy to come in and know the plays like how he does is pretty special. I mean, this playbook is not easy at all — at all. He knows multiple positions, multiple wide receiver positions. He’s a really special player, and we’re grateful to have him on his football team.

What’s it mean to have such an experienced offensive line coming back?

Benson: Means a lot, you know, coming from experience at my previous school, they had a lot of guys, you know, coming back and returning and it was a great offensive line. But this offensive line, this year is going to be special. You know, I feel like I won’t be TR so this year.

Travis: The offensive line, defensive line, that’s what wins games and championships. Those guys have been getting stronger every single day. You see ‘em in the weight room, pushing hard, out on the field or conditioning — those big 300-pound guys, but they’re out there grinding. Offensive line — those are my boys. At the end of the day, they protect me and keep Trey upright and those guys have been working hard and we’re grateful. We’ll come back to that.

What was the Manning Passing Academy camp experience like?

Travis: Oh, yeah, that was an honor. Being invited there... just being invited there is a special thing. Being around all those quarterbacks — Drake Maye, Joe Milton, Riley Leonard, just talking with those guys, and hearing their perspectives on certain things is really cool. I mean, it’s like you’re just getting around all the top quarterbacks and that’s all you can ask for.

Getting around the Manning family was a blessing. Hearing their perspective on everything and how they go up to the line, their pre-snap checks. We had a meeting on Saturday, Saturday afternoon that helped me a lot just hearing from both Peyton and Eli and two GMs in the NFL. Just this hearing like little things and how obviously how they pre-snap check and how they lead their teammates and how you earn respect. Just things like that

How do you handle hype ahead of season opener vs. LSU?

Benson: Like I said, take it day by day, block out all the noise. I mean, two teams in the top team — hey, it’s gonna be a showdown but you know just taking it day by day, and taking each game by each game. Then we’re just ready to go

What’s been your approach to player-led workouts?

Travis: I try to treat those seven-on-seven periods as if I’m in a game, I try to treat everything like a game rep. Coach Norvell always talks about the game/championship rep. I focus on that a lot. So I mean, I make my reads and I try to distribute the ball to who’s open. I try to give a guy a chance to see what they can do [if] they have a one-on-one chance. I’m just trying to take everything like a championship rep and focus on that.

What are your impressions of Destyn Hill?

Travis: Destyn’s a special player. He’s a great kid, and always has a smile on his face. I mean, just comes to work. Coach Norvell recruits guys that are just ready to work, you can’t come here and never be ready to grind every single day. But yeah, Destyn’s is a really, really, really special player. Building chemistry, it all comes from on the practice field there, starts there.

I mean, I would say it starts off the field — you have to build relationships off the field first. And then you go out on the field, you just got to work. Repetition over and over. You want to see those guys be consistent every time they run a route, you want to see it in full speed every single time because when guys start jogging and stuff, I mean, that’s when the chemistry and timing is knocked off.

What are the player-run practices like?

Travis: It’s a shortened, probably 20-minute period, 25 minutes. We do it after workouts so we obviously want to save those guys legs and stuff. But we want to see guys work when they’re tired. We run seven-on-seven, one on ones, just trying to make it simple. The offensive line goes over there and the defensive line does their thing. At the end of the day our health is the most important thing. You got to be available. I’ve learned that especially throughout my career. So I’m just trying to take care of those guys, get the reps that we need.

What’s the advice on keeping the right mindset ahead of 2023?

Benson: From Coach Norvell, he said keep the main thing the main thing. So that’s the advice that I got.

Yeah, I agree. Same thing as Trey.

2023 Florida State football schedule

Sunday, September 3: LSU Tigers (Orlando)

Vegas Pick: LSU -2.5

Last matchup: FSU win, 24-23

Saturday, September 9: Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Saturday, September 16: at Boston College Eagles

Saturday, September 23: at Clemson Tigers

Vegas Pick: Clemson -2.5

Last matchup: Clemson win, 34-28

Saturday, September 30: BYE

Saturday, October 7: Virginia Tech Hokies

Saturday, October 14: Syracuse Orange

Saturday, October 21: Duke Blue Devils

Saturday, October 28: at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Saturday, November 4: at Pittsburgh Panthers

Saturday, November 11: Miami Hurricanes

Vegas Pick: FSU -16.5

Last matchup: FSU win, 45-3

Saturday, November 18: North Alabama Lions

Saturday, November 25: at Florida Gators

Vegas Pick: FSU -9.5

Last matchup: FSU win, 45-38