After its almost blunder vs. Boston College in its ACC opener, No. 4 Florida State had its first opportunity to respond on Tuesday morning.
Head coach Mike Norvell, who usually talks to the media for 10 minutes or more, spoke for just three after practice — setting the tone of actions speaking louder than words.
“Good start to the week, implementing parts of the game plan,” he said. “Good emotional practice — we have to make sure we’re controlling some of those emotions but I thought it was good competitive work.”
The defense continued a trend of communication issues with multiple busts in coverage but overall still seemed to win the day as the offense saw both Tate Rodemaker and Jordan Travis throw interceptions.
On a difficult and competitive day, three themes stood out above the rest.
The Alex Atkins coached group produced a mixed bag during practice on Tuesday. To start with the positive, they may have found something with their outside zone run blocking. Alex Atkins talked about last week how the most impressive part of the Seminole run game is how “multiple” they are. As the counter play falters, the outside runs have produced most of the success on the ground. Trey Benson, Caziah Holmes, and CJ Cambell all made runs of 8 yards or more with the outside zone scheme, and with the size FSU possesses on the outside, the holes for the backs continue to widen.
On the flip side, the offense line may have been so excited to block that they were “called” for false starts on multiple occasions. Florida State was pumping fake crowd noise all of practice, making communication difficult for the offense. During the press conference on Monday, Norvell thought four of the five Seminole penalties were “focus penalties” — cleaning up that focus ahead of Saturday is essential.
Over the last two games, Florida State increased their usage of 12 personnel than they did against LSU. Kyle Morlock’s role has increased from game to game, and the signs of progression are starting to show. He caught a deep pass today off a wheel route during 11 on 11 work and attacked the middle of the field all day, consistently being a zone-buster against the defense. Jaheim Bell rightfully received the most praise of the tight ends to start the season, but Morlock is beginning to gain his footing. His run blocking to start the year has been the best of any of the tight ends (PFF has him graded at 75.1, with Jaheim Bell at 70.5), and he provides Mike Norvell another chess piece with his athletic ability in space.
As the offense works towards finding their true identity, look for Morlock to become a security blanket as the season rumbles on.
Anyone concerned about the stat numbers on Jared Verse needs to shift their focus. While the pre-season All-American does not have a sack to his name, he should be the best player whenever he touches the field — and today, in accordance with the status quo, Verse could not be blocked.
During 1-on-1s with the offensive line, Verse flew past Bless Harris with a silky swim move that landed the Lamar transfer stomach first on the ground. During individual drills, his talent shines. Even when working on hand placement and hitting the tackling dummies, his hands sound different than anyone else who participates. Verse brought his usual positive attitude and energy during his time with the press today, mentioning how he draws so much attention, which leaves his teammates 1 on 1, forcing opponents to “pick your poison.” No one inside Moore athletic center worries about the numbers or effort that Jared Verse brings to the football field, and the numbers will reflect that soon.
Florida State will practice tomorrow in another session open to the media as their preparation continues for Death Valley on Saturday afternoon.
Head Coach Mike Norvell
DE Jared Verse
LB Omar Graham Jr.
Video courtesy Noles247
K Ryan Fitzgerald
Video courtesy Noles247