FSU’s offensive line got some much-needed experience and depth in January when Devontay Love-Taylor arrived on campus as a graduate transfer from Florida International.
Taylor, who is 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, started 16 games for the Panthers and saw action in 32 games at FIU. Love-Taylor met with the media after practice on Wednesday and answered a number of questions, including why he chose to finish his career at Florida State, adjusting to the competition at FSU, plus his impressions of coach Mike Norvell and offensive line coach Alex Atkins.
“It’s always been a dream of mine,” answered Love-Taylor on competing at college football’s highest level. “And that’s one of the reasons I tried to come here, to prove I could play at this level. Every day I go out there and I try to prove that I can. I guess we’ll see when we face off against Georgia Tech.”
There has been adjustment to the level of competition he is facing on the practice field at FSU when compared to what he played against in Conference-USA with FIU.
“It’s a lot different right now,” said Love-Taylor. “Guys like Josh Kaindoh, J-Rob (Janarius Robinson), Marvin (Wilson), they’re tough to block but it’s getting better every day.”
Love-Taylor stated that he had opportunities to transfer to other schools, but FSU was his top choice partly because of being a native of Florida and having watched Norvell’s teams at Memphis.
“There were a couple other schools but I’m from Florida,” said Love-Taylor. “It’s Florida State. I watched him (Norvell) when he was at Memphis and I just wanted to be a part of it.”
And the big tackle is a big fan of both Norvell and Atkins.
“I’m super excited to play in the offense with coach Norvell,” said Love-Taylor. “He’s a genius in everything he does. It’s like it works. He has answers for everything. Just seeing the film and then being out there on the field, doing the installs, and you see what he did at Memphis and when it comes together for you, if I have to make a check that I saw someone do on film before and now I’m on the field doing it, the play breaks for 30 yards. It’s exactly what he told me to do. The defense did exactly what he said they were going to do and the play just broke.”
He has also seen improvement in his game in a short time under his new position coach.
“He’s increasing my football IQ by so much,” said Love-Taylor of Atkins. “Whether it’s fronts or just seeing blitzes, and he’s showing us how to use a lot of grit and how to strain when stuff gets tough. He’s great to work with. Every day he challenges us. He has a new challenge every day. He’s going to push you because he wants the best from you, and I love that.”
Atkins is excited about to get the chance to work with his group as a whole and individually with Love-Taylor.
“We are going to find out a lot more about those guys when we put those pads on,” said Atkins. “As far as picking it up, he’s (Love-Taylor) done a phenomenal job. He’s very smart, he’s savvy. He has a charisma on the field that allows him to get stuff done. I’ve enjoyed watching his mind pick it up. It will be more interesting to see once we get the pads on and physicality and applying it to real football-type competition drills and get a true evaluation.”
Like with most of his fellow offensive linemen Love-Taylor is working at multiple positions but has seen the majority of his snaps at right tackle in the early part of camp.
“Preseason camp is going great so far,” said Love-Taylor. “I love the opportunity to compete against one of the best d-lines in the country every day. Right now, I’m working at mostly right tackle, but there’s a chance I can get some guard work. Wherever coach Atkins wants to work me, I’ll work.”