Norvell throws a few jabs, reiterates goal of FSU-Clemson in Tallahassee

After Clemson spent the weekend taking shots at Florida State — including Dabo Swinney’s assertion that administration “forfeited” the game — Mike Norvell was measured in his comments on Monday. And he also landed a few jabs.

Clemson traveled with a player who reportedly was symptomatic earlier in the week, then wasn’t and traveled by plane with the team before receiving a positive test after the team’s arrival in Tallahassee. The player, a backup offensive lineman, did not practice early in the week but did on Wednesday and Thursday, Swinney said.

“I can tell you that the information that we receive from our opponent and there on Friday night was where the concern escalated,” Norvell said. “The fact that a symptomatic player participated throughout the course of the week and made the trip to Tallahassee raised a lot of concerns. When you sit there and get that information and listening to our medical advisors, that’s where the main concerns lied.”

Norvell and FSU’s administrators have been consistent in their desire to see the Seminoles and Clemson face off on Dec.12, which is a common bye week. Clemson will likely be playing in the ACC title game on Dec. 19.

“Absolutely,” Norvell said. “You have two teams who have an open date there in December, it’s a great opportunity for this rivalry to continue, and we’re excited to see it here in Tallahassee. I know that there’s a lot of things being said when it comes to financial, and if contributions need to be made, then I’ll sign up to make one.”

That jab was in response to comments by Swinney and Clemson athletics director Dan Radakovich, who commented on the cost of the trip to Tallahassee as well as how much a second trip would cost. Radakovich spoke on the ACC Network’s Packer and Durham show on Monday morning and did not commit to making a return trip to Tallahassee.

“We will very soon look at how that game or if that game is rescheduled,” Radakovich said. “And where that game is rescheduled to. Going back down to Tallahassee, while I wouldn’t rule it out we will have to have a conversation about finances and timing associated with that because we were there. We’re in the midst of an incredible, difficult financial year throughout college athletics and Clemson is not immune to that. We felt like we met our burden to go down and be there and be ready to play. If there are opportunities down the road for us to be able to do that we’ll certainly look at them but we’ve got make sure that we take care of the finances associated with it as well.”

Beyond its initial email Saturday morning that announced the postponement of the game, the ACC did not offer a response until Monday evening when commissioner John Swofford did an interview with ESPN.com.

“I don’t think there’s any blame here,” Swofford said. “We’ve got to remember the world in which we’re operating right now. People are following the protocols as agreed upon before the season started, and people are trying to make the best decisions for the right reasons, and you respect that.”

Norvell was also asked Monday about his personal experience, having tested positive for COVID-19 during the bye week before FSU’s second game at Miami. The coach was isolated at his home and watched practice via video and did not make the trip to south Florida.

“No matter what your personal feeling or beliefs might be, this virus, it is real,” Norvell said. “We gotta live up to our end of the bargain and be leaders of the team and for these individuals. I point at the couple of young men who opted back in terms of how we operate, and we have an obligation to keep them safe and make sure we keep their health at the forefront of it.

“My experience of testing positive and having to live through that, even in my own home. My wife and my 6-year-old daughter thankful they never transmitted the virus and never got the virus through that experience. We want to keep everyone as safe as possible because there’s nothing guaranteed in how someone is going to react to it if they get it. I think it is our obligation as leaders to do things in the best way that we possibly can.”

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