The Florida State Seminoles (5-3, 3-3 ACC) took to the practice fields on Tuesday morning in preparation for one of college football’s greatest rivalries when they head down to Coral Gables this Saturday to take on the Miami Hurricanes (4-4, 2-2 ACC). There is a lot at stake for the ‘Noles, who are reeling off a 41-16 win last weekend against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. If they secure a win this weekend, they will become bowl eligible for the first time in Mike Norvell’s tenure as head coach.
Defensive end Leonard Warner III
Warner calls himself one of the “old heads” on the team and is one of the more veteran players. When asked about what their mindset is in practice, he told us a message that seems to ring throughout the team. Just focus on themselves.
“Just focus on us, really focus on our execution and making sure that we practicing, however the way that we know that we need to prepare. Obviously, we want to beat them guys. definitely beat Miami in the back of our head but when we’re out here working it’s not about them it’s about us.”
After switching positions from linebacker to defensive end, Warner said that he saw an opportunity to make impactful plays and a chance to help the team win. He had two sacks in last week’s performance and was an overall disruptive force and his coaches have had extremely high praise for the redshirt senior.
“I say there’s a little bit less to think about, and you still have an opportunity to make very dominant, very game-changing plays, and that’s one thing I really love about this position. You can change the game in one play, and I mean, that’s why I guess, a great opportunity for me.”
When asked about the sack, he said it was surreal to finally get the thing he’s been searching for.
“It was surreal, man it was great to finally get there, finally to get that sack, um you know when you’ve been working, and you’ve been, you’re that close it’s a great feeling to finally get that thing that you’ve been searching for.”
Warner talks about being an “old head” on the team, culture change, helping to coach young guys, his injury, play signaling, and more in his full interview below:
Wide receiver Mycah Pittman
Pittman transferred from Oregon and has yet to participate in this weekend’s rivalry. He said he never really got to experience a rivalry game because against Oregon State they always dominated.
“I’ve heard stories. I’ve heard the tradition of how it is, how it gets really crazy, FSU, Miami. I never really had that because Oregon, Oregon State we’ve always dominated them but, I mean, we expect to go out there and play to the best of our ability. They’ve got great talent on the defensive side and at the end of the day, these guys get paid a scholarship too. They’re gonna make plays and we know it and it’s just about responding and exectuting.”
When asked about why he chose to transfer to Florida State and play for Norvell, he said that he wants to be one of his playmakers and has shown it this season.
“At the end of the day, I saw Coach Norvell and what he was able to do with his playmakers and seeing that resume he has — you always want to be a part of that resume. Become one of those playmakers… one of the guys he looks towards to and that he gets guys in the NFL.”
Pittman’s full interview can be seen below:
*Video courtesy of Noles247.com
Defensive back Akeem Dent
The importance of Saturday’s game has not been lost on Dent, who is originally from Pahokee, FL. He says its important for him this week to bring a sense of personal urgency.
“I mean it’s a pretty important week. This for the state, you know, it’s for one of the state games So it’s a big game for us,” adding, “coming back off what we just came off of, it’s the urgency. The urgency is there but for me personally urgency a little bumped up for the week. [I’m] a Down South boy playing against the “you know who.”
Being recruited by Miami and coming from south Florida, Dent said that he cant let his friendships get in the way of the game..
“Knowing a lot of people down there, having known a lot of people been recruited, it’s just like, we can’t let the friendship get in between this game and all that, so just staying focused for real.”
Dent’s full interview can be seen below: