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Florida State coaches press conference: Clemson

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Mike Norvell and staff talk after FSU’s loss to NC State

ehyman@newsobserver.com

Update, 12:28 PM

Florida State football head coach Mike Norvell kicked off Clemson game week with his weekly noon presser today. FSU is now 2-6 after three straight losses. The ‘Noles are one of the youngest teams in the nation, playing a majority of underclassmen on the field. On the youth and performance in Raleigh, he said, “I thought our guys competed throughout the game. We didn’t get off to the start that we were hopeful for. Gave up explosive plays. Going on the road with a lot of young faces it took awhile to get into rhythm.”

A part of the youth movement was Chubba Purdy getting the start at quarterback, as well as Tate Rodemaker seeing some series. On Purdy’s first start, Norvell said, “I thought he saw the field well. His demeanor is incredible. His approach to the leadership role that he has as a quarterback, but also trying to make others better. There are a lot of positives from his first start.”

Purdy started due to Jordan Travis’ unavailability. Norvell expects to see Travis back at practice this week, which could create a starting QB battle. On Travis’ status and the competition, Norvell said, “We’re excited about getting Jordan back out there this week. I think Jordan has done some remarkable things this year. Both were extremely limited in fall camp. I’m excited about the future.”

Florida State started four true or redshirt freshmen on the offensive line on Saturday night. The youth was shown through much of the night, but it wasn’t the unit’s worst performance of the season. Norvell thinks they can learn from the good and the bad they go through together. “They are learning from the good and they are learning from some of the mistakes that are coming up.”

When coaching a team as young as Florida State’s, something Norvell mentioned he has not done, the process can sometimes change. It also wavers when the success it isn’t there as expected. On coaching through struggles and growing pains, Norvell said, “You don’t ever want to see anyone fail. We want to go out there and achieve success in all aspects. It’s never going to be perfect. You have to grow from the good and bad.”

Update, 12:45 PM

The Seminoles’ offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham was second to the podium this afternoon. He talked about the development of his young offensive line, the struggle for consistency, and the first career start of Purdy’s career.

On Purdy’s performance, Dillingham said, “I thought he operated well. His feet may have been all over the place, but the majority of the game he got the ball thrown to where it was supposed to go. He did a nice job.” He also mentioned that he carries a positive demeanor where ‘nothing really gets to him.’

Jashaun Corbin had to take the majority of the snaps at running back in Raleigh, with Lawrance Toafili unavailable and La’Damian Webb limited. Corbin made the most of it, with his best game of the season. On Corbin, he said, “He’s the type of guy you want on your football team. Great kid, passionate, and brings it every day. He was a vital part of what we did with the wildcat. His maturity and intelligence allowed us to take pressure off the QB’s.”

FSU’s youth movement has made them the youngest team in the entire country. But Dillingham doesn’t think the youth movement has just been to get the youth experience. FSU’s underclassmen give them the best opportunity to win. “It’s not about a youth movement, we are playing the best guys at each position. Those are the best players we have on the roster.”

Warren Thompson made a dandy of a catch in the fourth quarter for Purdy’s second TD toss of the night. But Thompson also dropped an easy pass earlier in the game. Dillingham wants to see him ride success to consistency. On Thompson, he said, “We gotta be able to make the routine plays. For him, I just want to see him take that, be confident, and ride some of the success off that confidence.”

Florida State could be entering some QB controversy this week, as they get Travis back in the mix. On the quarterback situation heading into Saturday, Dillingham said, “Whether it’s one quarterback, two quarterbacks, a wildcat quarterback, whatever we think can win the game we are going to do it. We gotta keep the plan simple and make sure our guys know what they’re doing.”

Update, 1:00 PM

Special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach John Papuchis rounded out the day. Florida State had their first muffed punt of the season in Raleigh, as Travis Jay fumbled a punt in the third quarter. On that muff and his confidence in Jay, Papuchis said, “There are a lot of guys who are obviously playing multiple roles, especially on defense. That was tough, dropping the ball there, transitioning right back to defense. I have a lot of confidence in his ability to bounce back going forward.”

Florida State hasn’t found the explosive plays they were expecting out of the kick returns the last few weeks. Much of that has been due to the lack of rhythm and consistency of the returners. On kick return production, he said, “We have had a bunch of different guys back there, which I don’t like, its hard to get in rhythm. Hopefully we can start getting into a rhythm. We want them to hit the holes because the holes in the seam are not open long. Hopefully they can get more confident as we go forward.”

FSU will face the challenge of containing star quarterback Trevor Lawrence this Saturday, as he returns from two-game absence. On the challenges of defending and preparing for Lawrence, Papuchis said, “He is the total package. Big athlete that can scramble and can make any throw. We are going to have our work cut out for us at every level. We have to get pressure and make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket.”


“There are going to be some experiences that those guys face that are challenging. You got to grow and own the mistakes. You should have confidence within the investment of the work.”

Florida State Seminoles football faces perhaps its biggest challenge this week, both in quality in opponent and self-discipline, taking on the No. 4 Clemson Tigers at home.

Clemson is coming off its first loss of the season — and first ACC loss since 2017 — and will be getting quarterback Trevor Lawrence back after the future potential No. 1 pick missed the last two games due to COVID-19.

In 2018, the Tigers came to town and thoroughly embarrassed the Seminoles, winning 59-10 as a bored professor read a book shirtless in the stands. It was a game in which multiple FSU players not just look dejected, but actively stopped caring during the game, leading to multiple players sitting out the following game in some capacity.

With FSU struggling this season and fighting to stay together as losses, attrition and rabid fan tweets continue to pile up, facing off against a different caliber of quality opponent will be a good litmus test for who is ready for the work ahead.

“The team showed me a lot tonight, even though we was down,” defensive back Jarvis Brownlee said on Saturday. “They still fought, they still showed effort. They showed that they love the game and love each other.”

“I believe in the process. I believe in our coaches. We just got to keep getting 1% better every single day. I see the progress every single day. The team is starting to love each other. I’ll fight with these guys forever. I’ll always be a Seminole for life.”

We’ll be talking with Norvell today and also anticipate hearing from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kenny Dillingham, and special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach John Papuchis.

Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller, who usually has a moderate time conflict on Mondays, will be speaking with the media Wednesday due to a change in the team’s schedule.

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.