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Florida State practice notebook: October 13

FSU gears up for another top 10 opponent

Notre Dame Athletics

Update, 12:07 PM

Mike Norvell spoke to the media today coming off what he called a “Pretty good work day for a Tuesday.” The ‘Noles went through some speed drills in practice today, trying to create a game-type intensity throughout practice. Norvell said, “Good response to some of the speed work we got against each other. Definitely proud of our guys for the steps we are taking in the right direction.”

A lot has been made about the rise in points around the country, not just against FSU’s defense. Even Alabama is giving up 40+ points, but Norvell doesn’t pay attention to the outside factors. On their defense, he said, “The thing we are focused on is what we can do to improve and get better. We understand the issues we have.”

Fuller and Norvell want to put players in the right spots to make plays. To do that, they have to be comfortable in what they’re doing. Norvell said, “We want to play to the strengths of what our guys can do and what will put them in the best position.”

Florida State brought in a lot of transfers this season to try to fill in some holes in the roster. But when they’re in the portal, FSU is looking for not just the right players, but the right people. “We are not going to take someone that is a quick fix. We are building something, something special.”

Devontay Love-Taylor has moved all around the offensive line for the Seminoles this season. He’s been praised by multiple coaches for the leader he is. On the process of getting him in the transfer portal, Norvell said, “When he became available in the portal, his high school coach contacted coach Fuller, he alluded to the type of young man he was. We are going to bring the right guys to this program.”

Update, 12:14 PM

We heard from wide receiver Tamorrion Terry today, who spoke on his performance at Notre Dame and some of the things he’s been going through. A couple weeks ago, we heard about a one-on-one conversation Norvell had with Terry. Since then he’s looked like a different player. On that conversation, Terry said, “He said a lot of things to me, a lot of great things that I needed to hear. I just have to be the man I need to be, a leader. I felt where he was coming from, and I took it and ran with it.”

We saw Terry be extremely aggressive on some jump balls on Saturday. On that aggression and determination, Terry said, “If it is in my area, I got to go get it. For me, the big thing is everybody that throws it to me, I want to high-point the ball, attack the ball.”

The Georgia native came from a smaller high school in Turner County. On playing at a smaller school and how to make it to the big time colleges, Terry said, “Trust you coaches, trust the process. Never stop the grind, always stay focused on you coach. You don’t have to go to a big school just to get noticed. All you gotta do is just grind, and be that dog and you’ll get noticed.”

Norvell mentioned yesterday that Terry has taken a great step forward in his practice habits. Terry is doing that to set an example for the younger guys who look up to him. “I feel like all the young receivers are looking at me, so if I feel like I’m practicing good, everything will come together. If I keep the energy going, everything will be good.”

Update, 12:20 PM

Wide receivers coach Ron Dugans spoke to the media today about the performance of his unit so far this season. Dugans spoke a bit about how he handles players who are going through some things off the field, saying he learned a lot from Bobby Bowden on how to handle those situations. “It starts early on in the process, as far as showing your guys you really care about them. Not only giving them the tough love, demanding they be accountable. But also taking them under your wing.”

Dugans has seen Terry grow as not only a player, but also a leader this season. You can see it not only when he has the ball in his hands, but when he’s blocking as well. Dugans said, “You’ve seen it the week before, seeing him do the little things. Other guys see that he is finishing plays, blocking. He saw it himself, other guys.”

The former ‘Nole wideout felt that he saw a significant step forward in his wideouts on Saturday in South Bend. He said, “I told the guys after the game, I feel like we took a step forward. I saw our guys communicate. I was like ‘wow’, this is what I have been waiting to see.”

A lot of the improvement in effort has been visible in the blocking. On the perimeter blocking they’re getting, Dugans said, “Let’s take a step back and do a better job and see what we are teaching these guys. Focus on the effort first, along with the technique. The effort, to see them strain, was really good to see.”

Update, 12:30 PM

We also heard from FSU’s starting center Maurice Smith this afternoon. Smith spoke on the progressing cohesion of the front five and the coaching of Alex Atkins. After four games, Smith is starting to find more and more confidence at the center position. On the experience of four games, he said, “I am way more confident in my calls, and confident in my plays, I’m getting better every single day.”

In the last couple games, Florida State’s offense has really started to find its identity. A large part of that has been sustaining long drives. On the improvement, Smith said, “It’s just us coming together as a unit. Continue to push each other hard, we all have a job to do so stick to that job and do it well.”

Alex Atkins has seemed to make a massive positive impact on Florida State’s offensive line through four weeks. On his coaching style, Smith said, “Coach Atkins he is always about getting better. It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday. I love coach Atkins as a coach, he gives us a high level to get to, nothing lower than that. I love him for that.”

As Florida State Seminoles football gears up to take on the No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels, its looking to build off back-to-back productive offensive showings.

While the offense truly never got gunning the way it did against Jacksonville State, the Seminoles were able to move and score points against a stout Notre Dame defense.

“Right now we can string together series of 7 or 8 plays where all 11 guys are doing the right thing,” offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham said on Monday. “We could only do that for 1 or 2 plays consecutively earlier in the season. Combine that with Jordan’s ability with his feet.”

Though FSU is functioning better on offense, it’s still looking for the sort of consistent execution that head coach Mike Norvell has challenged his team to achieve.

“A choice has to be made,” Norvell said Monday. “We are going to come out with a sense of purpose and intensity in everything we do. If we want to be a consistent football team, we have to be consistent throughout the week in all actions.”

“Our guys know that it isn’t so much on the opponent, but the focus is on ourselves. I have an unbelievable confidence in our guys. We are excited to play in primetime and an opportunity to compete against one of the best teams in the nation.”

“All of our players desire to be great, to be successful. I am seeing steps in the right direction. I believe in this group and they believe in themselves.”

Today, we’ll be hearing from Norvell, as well as offensive players and coaches. You can follow along both in the comment section and on our Twitter, and in the meantime, drop any questions you have in the comments and we’ll try to get to them.