Coach Mike Norvell and FSU’s coordinators met with the media on Monday. Below are some quick updates:
Coach opens by discussing how proud he is of the guys, saw positives as well as areas of improvement. “It took all three phases.”
“I thought it was a great outcome for us.” Something the team needs to build upon.
Norvell mentions success on “cash downs” – 8 of 17 on third and fourth downs.
Notes that you see steps and growth with the football team.
Laments the interception, defensive lapses, return game as well as kick coverage issues.
He calls the Tar Heels a new and explosive challenge. QB is very talented. Defense attacks and brings pressure.
Dennis Briggs will be out for the season. Briggs went down to injury with a chop block in the Louisville game.
With Jordan Travis, Norvell said a lot of the offense was a reflection of what Syracuse was showing. Essentially saying screens are perimeter runs. Notes there were some downfield throws that were missed and it’s an area they must work on. Norvell is happy with his efficiency.
Norvell says special teams is “performance based” when asked about making personnel changes or corrections. “It’s an opportunity to impact. … you see the investment we take (at practice).” Norvell says FSU has guys who are “capable in the moment on special teams.”
Norvell felt like Seminoles had an eternity with the luxury of timeouts on the final drive where Travis led them down the field.
Norvell discusses Cam McDonald playing various roles and in various alignments on the offense. Pleased with how he bounced back after missing the block on the play that caused the interception by Syracuse corner. Also happy for Keyshawn Helton for bouncing back after the drop against Jacksonville State and some struggles in punt return game.
Jarques McClellion is a player who Norvell cited for stepping up in the moment on Saturday.
On Jordan Travis – We believe in him. His availability has been a little bit limited. He’s battling (injuries).
Norvell declines to offer a number of missed tackles. He does say about 130 yards of Syracuse’s offense were off missed tackles. Says FSU has been a better tackling team in the early part of the season. “There were some big plays that showed up on Saturday.”
Jordan Travis is “a pretty tough kid. Doesn’t get enough credit for how tough he is.”
Dillingham said FSU coaches wanted Travis to go to the perimeter against Syracuse’s zone: I thought he did exactly what we wanted him to do.
Dillingham says he likes Travis’ version of leadership, one where he works and competes but also gets back up after he is knocked down. The team feeds off it, Dillingham said.
He says the lack of penalties allow the Seminoles to enjoy success. “Our guys are slowly and slowly learning how to play the game on a successful level.”
Dillingham says on 50 percent of plays they have one guy messing up. Sometimes it’s not critical to outcome of play, but the struggle is still to get all 11 guys to do what they need on a given play.
Lots of praise for Keyshawn Helton. Says he “puts in the dirty work,” setting up certain plays – such as the touchdown – by how he plays or blocks leading up to that moment.
Dillingham says McKenzie Milton has made the team better, made Jordan Travis better. “There’s not enough positive things you can say about him (Milton).”
Getting guys back on the offensive line has been critical. He emphasizes Syracuse did a good job up front, often with a three-man front.
UNC will play a mix of three- and four-man fronts. Tar Heels show pressure but not nearly to what Syracuse does. Dillingham praises some of the recruits in the defensive backfield, stating its a good challenge for the receivers.
On third downs: The coverage and rush worked really well together. We simplified things coverage-wise. The fourth down stops were critical.
On the goal-line stop: FSU set the edge and it was “fitted” to DeLoach. Praises the defensive front on that play, too.
On Briggs: “Dennis was one of our most improved players. He was playing a lot.”
Fuller said you can tell the added year of experience with Sam Howell. “He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country.”
Fuller said they knew Shrader was a big, athletic quarterback and laments that the players weren’t ready to make the stop on some of his long runs, including the 55-yard TD run.
Fuller said Jammie Robinson played nickel, dime and safety on Saturday.
Fuller – When things aren’t perfect, they can’t go for touchdowns.
Fuller says DeLoach is playing with good pad level and striking people. He is also being a leader.
He says FSU isn’t trying to play a quantity of defensive backs but is trying to find the right mix of guys.
Fuller said coaches are using Keir Thomas some at DT on third downs. Mentions Jarrett Jackson for how he has played and also Malcolm Ray, who didn’t play vs. Syracuse but he thinks Ray will be available for the UNC game.
Fuller said he thinks FSU is playing physical football in the run game. Feels they are coaching the right things and they are executing on Saturdays.
Point-blank question – What’s the next level for the defense? – and a point-blank response: Give up fewer points. Wants to see fewer big plays. He thinks tackling has been good overall. Fuller said they had 10 missed tackles on Saturday.
Big picture, special teams is not meeting the rewards from the investment. In some cases it is personnel, in others it’s execution, in others it’s playing. Finishes by saying “we will get it right.”
Fitzgerald, in a five-game span, has run the roller coaster of emotions. Papuchis said he likes Fitzgerald’s demeanor. He didn’t go to the kicker in the moment to make sure he was ready because he saw his demeanor and approach.
Ja’Khi Douglas’ kick return was an example of hesitation and he should have either fair caught or sprinted.
Papuchis cites an example of punt blocks. Says they have had two penalties in those situations but hopes they coach better and improve technique so that when the time comes they can try and block another punt down the road.
He thinks a returner by committee approach can work. Papuchis says it’s not by design but necessity as FSU has had some returners injured this year.
Papuchis said they have made some personnel changes on coverage teams from Louisville to Syracuse.
Papuchis thinks winning a game the way the Seminoles won it was critical based on losing close games in September. But he also felt the game was in control until Shrader’s 55-yard touchdown run that let Syracuse back in the game.