Update, 11:30 AM
Mike Norvell opened up Pittsburgh game week with his weekly press conference this morning. With no press conferences or practice tomorrow due to the election, we started a bit earlier than usual today. Norvell opened up his presser talking about the work FSU put in during the bye week. He said, “I thought our guys did a nice job with our preparation. Guys came out with pretty good energy, focus. I really appreciate the mindset and the approach during the bye week.”
Many college football teams have been defined by their offenses this year, but Pittsburgh’s defense is the strength of their team in 2020. The defense is experienced and poses a threat to the Seminoles. On the Panthers’ defense, Norvell said, “It’s an impressive defensive unit. They do a great job. You’ll see a lot of man coverage, a lot of one-on-one opportunities. This is going to be a great challenge for us. They’re well-coached. We’ve got to go out there and play at a high level.”
Jordan Travis has been banged up for almost the entirety of the season. We saw his mobility be limited in a large way at Louisville. The bye week came at the best possible time for Travis. On Travis’ status, Norvell said, “He’s played extremely hard these last four games. He’s had some bumps and bruises along the way. He’s done a great job during the week taking care of his body. He’s looked really good in practice.”
FSU will have tomorrow off due to the presidential election. Norvell spoke on the importance of voting and what the off day means to his players. He said, “This year, the NCAA mandated it for all athletic programs. We have a lot of guys registered in their hometowns and different places. It’s a great gesture from the NCAA to provide time.”
Another offensive star that’s been banged up is Tamorrion Terry. Terry has missed the last two games due to a minor knee surgery. But the wideout was listed as a starter on the team’s depth chart this week. Norvell called Terry a game-time decision for the Pitt game. On Terry’s rehab, Norvell said, “He’s done a really good job on his rehab the past few weeks and continuing to push. He is likely going to be a game-time decision.”
Update, 11:38 AM
Starting quarterback Jordan Travis was second to the zoom podium this morning. Travis spoke on his health status and the challenges that Pitt will bring to Tallahassee. On the Pitt defense, Travis said, “They are a very physical team. We need to focus on ourselves.”
Travis echoed Norvell’s sentiment that the bye week came at the perfect time for him. He felt that it gave his body ample time to heal, but also gave him time to reset and prepare mentally for the rest of the season. On his status and the bye week, he said, “It helped me heal for sure. My body feels really good. It helped me relax, calm down and see everything good.”
FSU finished the first half of their season just 2-4, but they’re not worried about their record or the past. Travis mentioned that the team is focused on moving forward and having a strong finish. On moving forward, he said, “We’re not really worried about the first half of the season. We need to move on. We just have to come out and play football.”
Florida State’s wideouts struggled mightily against Louisville, but Travis didn’t put any of the blame on the position group. On the WR group and their recent performance, Travis said, “They’re working hard. We came out and didn’t play well versus Louisville. It wasn’t just the receivers it was the whole team.”
Update, 11:55 AM
We also heard from offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham as he spoke on the advantages of the bye week and the challenges Pittsburgh’s defense presents. Last bye week, Mike Norvell wasn’t around practice and FSU didn’t have their QB answer or identity yet. With all those things present last week, the ‘Noles took much more advantage. Dillingham said, “We got to focus not on the gameplay, we got to focus on our base offense versus a variety of looks. From that standpoint it was huge.”
Right now, Florida State is simply focused on getting better. That was the them of the bye week for Dilligham’s offense. FSU is facing a strong defensive unit on Saturday, but they’re focused on themself. Dillingham said, “It’s not about anybody we’re facing, it’s about us. Us doing what we’re supposed to do every single snap, with relentless effort.”
On Pitt’s defense and the challenges they do present, he said, “Physical. Probably the most physical defense we have faced. They challenge receivers. Very rarely do you see soft coverage. They do not want you to run the football they want you to force shots downfield versus man coverage.” He also mentioned they have an old-school mentality.
Jordan Travis has been progressing as a passer throughout the entire season. On his growth, Dillingham said, “I think he’s got all the ability to be a really, really good quarterback. We’ve got to do a better job of getting him in a rhythm with the short passing game. I am fired up from the growth that I have seen him have.”
Now entering the second half of its season, Florida State Seminoles football has a decision to make about how its going to approach the rest of its games. Head coach Mike Norvell has mentioned “grit” continuously over these last few weeks, and it’s obvious that he and the staff truly believe if they can get all 11 players functioning in their roles at the same time, they have a shot at winning some football games to close out 2020.
“Anyone who wants to see the improvement [since the start of the season], go put on [the season opening game vs.] Georgia Tech, and go put on the last three games,” offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham said last week. “Just go watch it. And I would highly recommend that because it shows the progress.
“I said it last week — we are getting better, not to be confused with good, and I meant that. We are not where we want to be. We are not even close to where we want to be.”
We’ll be hearing from Norvell, Dillingham and players from the offense starting around 11:15 this morning. 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.