Norvell sees offense taking step forward, enjoys level of QB play

FSU held its first scrimmage of preseason camp on Saturday evening. Below are comments from Mike Norvell and Kenny Dillingham on the offense. If you missed it, Adam Fuller and John Papuchis reflected on the defense and special teams. Video of Norvell is also at the end of the story.

Mike Norvell

(as part of his opening statement, Norvell discussed the play of quarterbacks and receivers) Guys that are really emerging even though they’re young in age, they’re emerging as guys that have shown they can be consistent playmakers. Malik McClain had a couple of big plays. Keyshawn Helton had a big play down the field. I thought both Jordan (Travis) and McKenzie (Milton) had some had some explosives that definitely were great to see. I thought the o-line did a good job in their pass protection. There was some early pressure that we saw. I think our defensive front is really coming along and that group playing together and working to push the tempo.

(How much weight does he put on performance of quarterbacks in a scrimmage compared to a practice) Quite a bit. It’s something that it’s when you get coaches off the field, you get an opportunity to see these guys have to read and react and play fast. Jordan (Travis) and McKenzie (Milton) definitely played to the level that we want to see them play. Chubba (Purdy) and Tate (Rodemaker) both had some young guy mistakes. We kind of forget that those guys are just essentially redshirt freshman right now, going into their redshirt freshman years. There were some plays that they needed to have, and needed to be able to gain that experience, and they both had a couple of explosive plays. But I think Jordan, McKenzie showed up well tonight and moved the offense. The young guys, they’ve got to continue to grow and build upon the reps that they’re getting. I think it’s a really good group. I would say that Jordan, McKenzie probably had the better nights of those guys.

(How the offensive line looked in the scrimmage) I think those guys are getting more confident in what they’re being asked to do. Beginning a fall camp, it’s a challenge. You’ve got five guys up front, moving around a couple different guys in different positions. You know there’s the communication. We’ve got some competition. Dillan Gibbons has come in and really done a nice job, he’s competing. You’ve got guys like Baveon (Johnson) and Maurice (Smith), whether it’s guard or center, that competition. We know we have more competition coming. Devontay Love-Taylor is getting close. He’s really looking good in the work that he’s doing. We know that’s going to really bring another person to the mix. Zane Herring’s done some good things here early in camp. I like his growth and development. I’ve really been pleased with the young tackles. You’ve got Darius (Washington), Rob (Scott), but I’ll tell you Lloyd Willis is really coming along. He still has a ways to go, but it’s exciting to see him and the things that he’s doing. So we’ll see as he goes. I think that group is getting more confident with it and each rep they’re going to get better.

Kenny Dillingham

(How did the quarterbacks perform in the scrimmage?) I thought the older guys, Jordan (Travis), McKenzie (Milton), I thought they played very well. They took care of the football. Obviously anytime you’re in a scrimmage situation, there’s not going to be any extending of plays, there’s not going to be any quarterback running game. So, a few of the times that they were more aggressive running the ball in scramble situations, they probably could have taken a 5-yard out, instead they tried to get more in the running game and got, tagged for a 1- or 2-yard gain. But I was pleased with how they operated. There’s a few things we obviously got to improve on. One thing is just tempo. We’ve got to be able to play faster. The young guys, it’s live bullets and made some mistakes. We’ve got to take care of the football and they just need reps. That’s part of being a young guy is you need those live-bullet reps where nobody’s on the field, it’s just you and your guys. Got to get better with the young guys taking care of the football, but that’s part of being young and I was pleased with the older guys. I’ll add one more note to that: I think Gino English has been doing a really nice job for us. He’s a hard worker and every time he gets an opportunity to go out there, he does something positive.

(How did the running backs do on Saturday?) Jashaun Corbin. That’s what I’ve got to say about that. Jashaun Corbin showed flashes of why we brought him here. He showed flashes of that starter at a high level at a young age. He went through a time where he had to get healthy and he went through that year, first year back, and today was the best I have seen him run since he’s been on this campus. What’s even more exciting than seeing him run is seeing his big old smile when he knows he feels good and knows he feels like he’s getting it back, he’s getting back to being 100 percent back to being fully healthy and comfortable again. I’m just so happy for that kid.

(Which receivers stood out in the scrimmage?) Keyshawn Helton. That’s him. He stood out and I couldn’t be happier for a person because that dude, he is a Seminole. Every day he shows up to work. Every day he does everything we ask him to do. To see him have some success today, he broke us down as an offense afterwards and I was very, very excited for Keyshawn.