Florida State head coach Mike Norvell spoke with the media after Wednesday’s practice ahead of their prime-time bout against the Syracuse Orange. The Noles are now ranked in the top 25 in the polls and the CFP playoff rankings.
After their win against Miami, they officially became bowl-eligible and look to close out the season strong. Norvell expressed the importance of winning their last conference matchup yesterday. A win on Saturday will be the first time the Seminoles have had a winning conference record since 2016; they are currently favored on the road.
Norvell said that he thought today was a good day; however, they started slow and emphasized the importance of responding.
“I thought today was a good day, really just because of how things progressed in practice. It didn’t really start off the way I wanted it to. We had some mistakes early, and from time to time, that's going to show up whether you’re installing or whether you're trying to adapt what you do with different looks and making sure we’re on point with the little things that are going to be necessary in the game or in the game plan... How we start, and the execution early is still critically important for us... Yes, the response is huge, but we want to make sure we start the way we need to start with the challenges that could present themselves.“
The availability of running back Treshaun Ward has been in question over these last two weeks after suffering an injury earlier in the season and was a game-time decision last week. Norvell said that is still the case on whether or not he will be available.
“Like I mentioned last week, I mentioned unless there was a setback. I think he would’ve been available if it was an absolute emergency last week. It’s just the last 24 hours didn’t necessarily go as we hoped, and we wanted to be smart with it...Kinda the same story and approach, and we will see where that gets to as we get to game day.”
Hurricane Nicole is set to hit Florida over the next few days, and Norvell said that he’s in communication with the administration on whether or not their travel plans will be altered before heading up to Syracuse.
“As of right now, there have not been any adjustments, but we have been in communication, just tracking all things, but we don't feel as if it's going to be adjusted as of right now.”
Kicker Ryan Fitzgerald has had an improved season after switching his approach. Norvell said that his work and belief in himself are the results of his success.
“Work, belief, confidence in who he is, and it doesn't; when you work really hard, it doesn’t always mean you’re going to experience success, but if you’ll continue on with it and be consistent and continue to believe in what you do and how you do it; sometimes adjustments have to be made when you go through that process, I firmly believe that those results will show up. He’s had a really good past couple of weeks and showed up in the games, and obviously today, a couple of big kicks.”
Tight end Brian Courtney switched positions coming out of high school from quarterback to tight end. He had a noticeably good day today in practice and caught his first pass last weekend against the Canes. When asked about him, Norvell said that he’s going to be a lot of fun to watch as he develops.
“He’s going to be a lot of fun to watch these next few years, and I was glad for him in the game on Saturday to be able to get his first catch. He’s somebody that’s played a different position a year ago. I guess yesterday we talked about recruiting, and that was someone we were really high and just how he fit us in what we see the potential that he has... He’s getting better every week... When he got his opportunity there last Saturday, he took advantage of it. Hopefully, those will continue as the season progresses. I just love watching him.”
Norvell’s full interview can be seen below.