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Mike Norvell weekly press conference: Notre Dame

Florida State’s head man talks after the Seminoles’ first win in 2020

Don Juan Moore

Update, 12:50 PM

Mike Norvell kicked off Notre Dame game week with his noon press conference today. Shortly coming off the practice field, Norvell learned about the news of Bobby Bowden testing positive for Covid-19. On Coach Bowden and his relationship with him, he said, “We’re thinking about coach and praying he has a quick and speedy recovery... Not only one of greatest coaches to ever coach the game, but such an incredible man. A special human being. I’m honored for the honor to know him and have that relationship.”

Jordan Travis sparked not only the offense, but the whole team on Saturday. On his ability to raise the team’s spirits, Norvell said, “He’s a young man that works extremely hard. He’s respected by everyone on the team. Last week was a prime example of that. He might’ve had 20 practice snaps in total, but he was still ready for the moment, which showed the level of commitment he has.”

Tamorrion Terry hadn’t had much of a presence for the ‘Noles early on this year. All that changed last week after a heart-to-heart with Norvell. Norvell said, “No question he had his best week of practice last week. He also challenged himself. He understands the expectations. I have a lot of respect for the way he worked this past week.”

Freshman OT Robert Scott got the first start of his career on Saturday and ran with it. Norvell said, “Really pleased with Robert Scott. Had a really impressive week of practice and really went out and played with a ton of confidence. I thought he was one of the bright spots who showed up throughout the game.”

Saturday was the first step for Florida State’s development. Norvell said he sees the guys starting to embrace the challenge of building the program back up. “Anytime you’re able to see the work and investment, while also having to respond to adversity, I think seeing the guys in the locker room after the game, they have embraced the challenge.”

Update, 12:55 PM

We also heard from offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham on the impact of Jordan Travis and the development of the offense. On Travis and how he sparked the offense, Dillingham said, “I think the value he added was, we weren’t in bad down and distance. We didn’t take negative plays with him in the game. What that allowed us to do was play within the system on third and medium.”

Travis’ arm talent has always been his so-called weakness, but Dillingham never saw that. On his arm and what he showed with it on Saturday, he said, “He can sling the football. He can throw the football really well. We tried to work him into the game slowly the first two weeks and he got banded up. I was pleased with how he played.”

The most important thing for the coaches to see is consistent improvement and effort. They felt they saw both of those on Saturday. “I thought our effort was improved Saturday. We are an offense that’s got to continue to improve... It’s effort and just passion, wanting to win. That’s how winning football is played. Winning football is played when all 11 guys play full speed. Make every play matter.”

Tate Rodemaker got the start on Saturday, but early struggles led to Travis taking over. On his response, Dillingham said, “He responded really well. We are gonna learn and grow from it. What I liked was you never really saw him get rattled.”

Update, 1:03 PM

Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller spoke to the media today about the defensive’s growth and performance on Saturday. Florida State got Joshua Kaindoh back from injury on Saturday, and Fuller echoed the spark that Norvell mentioned. On Kaindoh and Marvin Wilson, he said, “It was great to have Josh back. Marvin’s energy level throughout was positive too.”

There was a large variance of players on the field for the defense on Saturday. Asante Samuel Jr. led the way with just 41 snaps and 31 total players saw action. On that variance, Fuller said, “We’re just trying to find the best players that we can. If we’re rotating at certain positions, it because we think they’re both good enough to play.”

The second half against Jacksonville State was the most dominant the defense has looked all year. On the second half performance, he said, “The team showed a lot of resolve, to be down the way we were, it was what it was and we had to respond. The way they played was obviously a good response… Really proud of the way we played in the second half.”

Now, FSU looks ahead to Notre Dame, who is led by veteran quarterback Ian Book. Fuller knows it’s going to be a challenge to slow down the ND offense. On Book, he said, “He’s got legitimate arm talent. He knows where he’s going with the football. He’s one of the better quarterbacks in the country.”

Update, 1:15 PM

Lastly we heard from special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach John Papuchis. On Kaindoh’s return and his emotions on Saturday, Papuchis said, “When he first went down, he kind of feared the worst. It’s been emotional because it has been a long journey back from his rehab.”

FSU lost a good amount of field position on Saturday on punt returns. A lot of that had to do with letting the ball bounce, instead of running up and catching it. On the punt returns, he said, “We did lose some considerable field position letting the ball hit the ground. The decision-making we have to get better at. The first series of the game we put the offense in a tough spot.”

Kicker Ryan Fitzgerald missed a field goal and an extra point against JSU. Papuchis is still confidence in him moving forward. On Fitzgerald, Papuchis said, “Ryan’s been really, really good all the way through fall camp. I’m gonna look at that as a little more of an anomaly.”

After success from Travis Jay in the first two games, Keyshawn Helton also found productivity in the kickoff return game. On the success of the kick returns, he said, “It all goes hand and hand. More importantly is the great job the guys have to do blocking. I think we have really good buy-in on the return team. We’re just gonna keep working at it.”

I told the team throughout the course of the week, there are only so many moments that come along through the course of your career that you can really come back to, and you see a moment where you decide to make a change and decide to go out there and become a defining moment.

It was a tremendous joy to walk into that locker room and see their eyes...We’re trying to do something that’s building not only for now but building for the future. To see that response to adversity, all the pressure these guys put on themselves, it’s human nature. But to be able to go and respond in that moment and end this game victorious the way that we did was a great joy and I’m really proud of this football team.

On Saturday, Florida State Seminoles football was presented with an opportunity to start building towards its future — and it took it.

The youth movement was on display as multiple players took their first snaps of the season, and spurned on behind the arm and legs of quarterback Jordan Travis, the offense put up the best numbers its seen all year and the first five drive, five touchdown streak since 2017.

Today, we’re talking with head coach Mike Norvell and anticipate to be hearing from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kenny Dillingham, defensive coordinator Adam Fuller and special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach John Papuchis.

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.