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August 24 practice notes, observations: FSU officially begins game preparation for LSU

Florida State Seminoles undergo first day of prepping for anticipated LSU looks

Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

Red and white — with the occasional green.

All of fall camp, those have been the only jersey colors worn. That changed today, with scout team players donning new jet-black Nike practice jerseys for the first time this fall as what Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell alluded to yesterday came to fruition — it was time for the team to begin to amp up its efforts in locking in for its season-opening matchup vs. the LSU Tigers.

It was the first time extensive scout work had been done this fall, officially shifting the team's focus from camp and reacclimating to the standard to opening the season in Camping World Stadium.

Norvell reiterated this during his media availability this morning, saying that Thursday “was the first day of LSU looks and things that we anticipate.”

Practice looked different, but some players took it in stride and did not miss a beat.

Conrad Hussey

Yesterday, Coach Norvell mentioned that the team believes 8-10 freshmen could play during the year. Hussey’s name should be at the top of that list. He was a late arrival to camp as he enrolled in the summer, but a quick glance at his effort and execution and practice and at first, you’d likely not be able to distinguish Conrad from a veteran. Hussey’s personality shines through off the field as he loves to ask coaches questions during the media availability and joke around with his teammates.

On the field, he is all business. Conrad received extensive looks during 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 work during the last two practices and improved with every rep. His ability to play center field on one play, turn around, and cover the slot receiver on the next emphasizes that he is ready for playing time without ever engaging in a college snap. Coach Surtain gave Hussey a glowing report during his media time today, mentioning that Hussey “Has A1 athleticism and has made a bunch of plays and will continue to make plays once he really understands how to do it.” It is clear why the Seminoles pushed hard during the final days of his recruitment last winter, and as the coaching staff begins to trust him, his presence will be felt on Saturdays.

The Coaching Staff

In the dog days of August, it is strenuous to keep 100 18-22-year-olds focused every rep. This staff passes the challenge with ease. After years of coaching upheaval, the continuity within the staff stands out. The star quarterback gets treated the same as the fourth-string offensive tackle. Some programs say everyone gets treated the same. Others implement it. Florida State falls in the category of the latter. Mike Norvell's voice pierces the air after every rep constantly coaching and advising every player on the field. His other coaches follow suit. The coaching staff does not take off one play during the entire practice. The standard is set from the top, and the players follow endlessly. Patrick Surtain Sr. understands this concept, saying that he “Coaches them hard and loves them even harder.” This is the unofficial mantra for the coaching staff, and the word culture is not just a buzzword at FSU.

Markeston Douglas

The tight end room received a facelift this summer, gaining two new players through the transfer portal. Markeston Douglas welcomed the challenge. With so many flashy names in a new-look offense, the 270-pound receiving threat can be overlooked. Douglas stayed the course and will be a mainstay in the first-team offense this fall. His ability to block and use his basketball background in the passing game provides a security blanket for #13. During practice, he was noticeable during 11 on 11 drills, creating matchup problems for the linebackers and using his athleticism when pulling from the opposite side of the line while run blocking. Jaheim Bell may be the name that first comes to mind when thinking of FSU tight ends, but Douglas will have an expanded role in year three for him in this offense.

Florida State will have a closed-door practice tomorrow. Coach Norvell described it as a “mock game,” reviewing different situational football scenarios. After that, an open practice will occur on Saturday night, and then game week begins.

Head coach Mike Norvell

Defensive backs coach Patrick Surtain

Offensive tackle Jeremiah Byers Press Conference

Video Courtesy Noles247

Tight end Markeston Douglas

Video CourtesyW7