Culture — it’s a buzzword, much like “The Process,” that’s repeated so much it loses it starts actual meaning.
We’ve seen in recent years how positive (or negative) culture can impact a football team. It’s well documented what players like Lamarcus Joyner, Telvin Smith, James Wilder Jr, Timmy Jernigan, and many others demanded of their teammates and themselves during Florida State’s 2013 national championship season. These players established “characteristic features of everyday existence” that was shared by everyone in the program.
The other thing about culture, though, like momentum — it only truly counts when you’re winning.
We’ve heard nonstop about how bad things got in Tallahassee over the last few years, on and off the field—players skipping workouts, arguing with coaches, and/or complaining about playing time are all documented over the last few seasons. Combine that with no offseason, a brand new coaching staff, and continued losses and suddenly, building culture becomes that much harder.
Fast forward to today, March 5, 2021. The Seminoles held a “Squat Party,” emceed by strength and conditioning coach Josh Storms, to culminate their Tour of Duty winter conditioning program before spring practice.
SQUAT PARTY sending it in 1 hour. Bars Bendin’ Plates Clangin’ Room Bangin’! Exclusive engagement, you gotta be on the list to get in the door. VIP MuscleMilk bottle service provided in the lounge by Nole Fuel. Put your war face on, let’s party. #WORK #NoleParty— Coach Storms (@coachstorms) March 5, 2021
We saw one video after another popping up on social media:
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger pic.twitter.com/uy2NQOOfAR— Coach Dillingham (@KennyDillingham) March 5, 2021
My dawg from the crib squatting the crib pic.twitter.com/GfsmqkoOVJ— CLINTON MCMILLAN (@coach_mac98) March 5, 2021
So what does all this jumping and squatting mean? Is FSU fixed? Will the Noles win 10 or 11 games this season?
Probably not. It’s never as simple as that. I can tell you from my many years in the football weight room, the foundation of all great teams begins and ends there. If you have talent and can develop the right mindset in the weight room, you take the right steps in putting yourself in position to have success on the field.
“It’s showing up every day and doing the work. mental toughness comes from how you show up and approach the day,” Storms said before the final day of conditioning. “It’s not you that matters, it’s the task at hand that matters.”
Come squat the crib with your brothers pic.twitter.com/USQKAedzSH— CLINTON MCMILLAN (@coach_mac98) March 5, 2021
What is that mindset? It starts with competitiveness and brotherhood. The goal of all coaches is to develop competition and brotherhood throughout their program, and you do that by pushing each other in the weight room. Setting up a program that forces players to strain physically and mentally, developing common goals, and building opportunities to compete are mainstays in all weight rooms.
Those tweets all above? Those are just the coaches. Seeing the players get excited for each other is just as important:
545 ain’t nothing when you got a Brotherhood behind you Go Noles pic.twitter.com/gnOXLPrzB8— Joshua Burrell (@JoshBurr9_) March 5, 2021
Does any of this equate to wins? No, not directly obviously, but it plays into the mantra of this program — “in all aspects.” Norvell and his staff want the same level of consistency, excellence, brotherhood and accountability in the weight room as the classroom as the football field.
To him and his staff, that equates to success. Good culture doesn’t necessarily equal wins, but bad culture always leads to losses. Now that the culture is seemingly headed in the right direction, the coaches can focus on coaching guys up instead of holding hands.
WHOLE NEW FLORIDA STATE ♂️ https://t.co/XdxJgpsAPE— Jermaine Johnson II (@ii_jermaine) March 6, 2021
This !!! This Is When You Know Everyone Is Bought In!!!! Man I Miss It https://t.co/xKwh3fSLsD— Kedarian Jones (@_UnoTres) March 6, 2021
And a final positive note is that FSU commits and targets took notice, as well.
4-star quarterback Nicco Marchiol:
5-star defensive back commit Sam McCall:
4-star running back target Damari Alston: