Norvell discusses bye week, midseason eval, Purdy, drops

Coach Mike Norvell discussed a variety of topics on his weekly coaches’ show Monday night. We’ll take a look at a few comments he made in an interview with Tom Block.

Bye week: FSU practiced on Sunday and will be back on the field Tuesday and Wednesday. “We’re going to go back to work,” Norvell said. “Really trying to clean up some of the mistakes that we had.” Norvell said the focus would be on improvement with some “good-on-good work,” which means first-team offense and first-team defense would face off in practice. There will be an added day off on Thursday before preparations for the Pittsburgh game begin on Friday. Norvell and the staff will take time for “self analysis,” evaluating the Seminoles through a 2-4 start. “There’s a lot of reflection going on,” Norvell said.

Election Day off: While it’s not something Norvell noted on the show, FSU announced earlier in the day that Election Day, which is next Tuesday, will be an off day. FSU takes Mondays off in a typical week but the timing of the bye week as well as the NCAA’s push to not have games or practices on Election Day prompted juggling of schedules for the coaching staff.

Dropped passes: The Seminoles had a problem with drops in the Georgia Tech game but that hadn’t been as big of a concern until the Louisville game. “The dropped passes were something that showed up throughout the course of the game. We’ve got to maximize the opportunities that we get,” Norvell said. He noted how drops halt drives and the Seminoles had been successful building drives in previous games.

Offensive assessment at midpoint: The biggest bright spot from the team has been the ability to run block effectively and develop a top-25 rushing attack. “We’re starting to build upon an identity,” Norvell said. “I’ve really been pleased with our ability to run the football. … That’s something that coming into the year was something that we wanted to establish.” Norvell was reluctant to call the loss at Louisville a setback when asked by the media postgame on Saturday. But as part of the discussion on Monday night, he lamented the drops and struggles in the passing game and said we “took a step back in the last week.” FSU’s red-zone offense has also been a sore spot, and Norvell said: “We’ve shown that we have the capability to move the ball. We have to be able to finish drives.”

Early evaluation of Chubba Purdy: There was nothing tangible to point to after true freshman quarterback Chubba Purdy went 0 for 9 late in the Louisville game, with a number of those being drops. Norvell said Purdy threw some good passes and took a few hits while getting his first experience of a college football game following the collarbone injury in August. “Getting him in and letting him get a sense of the speed of the game, being able to build off those experiences and those snaps it’s going to be something that’s great for him and his continued development,” Norvell said.

Defensive assessment at midpoint: Norvell harped on the lack of “consistency” with the team during the show and mentioned it again with the defense. “We’ve got to continue to create the explosive play defensively,” Norvell said. “We need more TFL’s. We need to create more takeaways … I believe that we have the guys in place to do it. The consistency of it has to show up.”

Praise for Emmett Rice: When asked about bright spots from Saturday’s game, Norvell praised senior linebacker Emmett Rice, who “played at a high level” and later mentioned his “unbelievable effort.” Rice had eight tackles vs. Louisville and is second on the team with 37 tackles.

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