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Notes: EJ Manuel on FSU, NCAA’s COVID policy, spring season

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EJ Manuel may be an ACC Network football analyst but he’s still wearing his support of Florida State football on his sleeve. Manuel spoke on the ACC Network’s “Packer & Durham” morning show on Friday, giving his thoughts on coach Mike Norvell, the transition to a new coach and the talent that the Seminoles take into 2020. Here are some highlights of what Manuel said:

On Mike Norvell: “I’m excited for coach Norvell to get started. The biggest thing for him is just getting the command from that team. … he held a town-hall webinar on Zoom maybe two months ago for former players, which I really appreciated. A lot of times these coaches, they come in, they don’t really give the former players a chance to get to know them, like the active players. He spoke for about an hour. It was really cool to hear him speak. I’m excited for the beginning of his era there.”

On some veteran Seminoles being on third head coach: “The biggest thing is you want to show that they can trust you. A lot of times when coaches come in, it’s about trust. They got to put their name down with you as a player. If you go out there in practice, you’re inconsistent or you’re showing some of the same things that we’re seeing from the past few years as far as illegal procedures, not knowing where to line up, not knowing where to be on each play and just not playing consistently smart football, that’s going to hurt you. But if you can go out there from Day 1 and show coach Norvell and his staff that he can trust you, I know guys like Marvin Wilson are going to step up and make sure they are making plays and also make sure that the other guys are doing what they need to do to go out there and play. … They want to win. I’ve always said this: The best way to get drafted high in the NFL is to go to a (college) team that is a winner. Hopefully they understand that and I think they’ll get it done.”

On FSU’s talent: “They have the weapons. They’ve had the weapons for a while now. It’s just a matter of them just bringing it all together. From what I saw as a fan once I left Florida State, it didn’t seem like they had the same camaraderie that we had when I was there. It seemed like some guys were almost trying to do a little too much and some guys weren’t doing enough. If they can collectively bring it all altogether … Norvell will kind of be the glue they need in that program to get these guys to play to their full potential.”

NCAA won’t have COVID-19 policy

Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA and NHL each have plans on the table for testing and a return to play. The National Women’s Soccer League opened its season last Saturday, while Major League Soccer and other pro leagues also have plans.

College athletics will be a different story. The NCAA is a collection of schools and enforces rules. But in the case of COVID-19 testing, schools and conferences are decision makers. And July will be a big month as schools make critical decisions about whether to start on time, push back their seasons or examine other options.

Each conference is handling the return to sports differently. The ACC has assembled a coronavirus advisory committee, which is providing “best practices” to league presidents and chancellors as well as athletics directors. FSU is also establishing a testing lab at Innovation Park, just south of campus, to handle testing for students, professors and employees.

“I’ve been very strongly discouraged by the advisory panel on the idea of coming up with a concrete policy or a concrete testing plan or rule when what we know today is going to be very different than what we know two weeks from now,” NCAA medical advisor Dr. Brian Hainline told The Athletic. “They have asked me to give as much guidance as possible with built-in flexibility.”

It is expected that Power 5 leagues will have similar testing protocols in place but it’s uncertain if the standards will align with Group of 5 schools or FCS programs. More on this story on theAthletic.com.

Riley: Spring should be on the table

Nobody really wants a spring season. Coaches aren’t advocating for it. But it could be an option, even if it wouldn’t be 12 games long.

“It’d probably be a conference season and postseason only,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “We’ve seen often teams go in and play well into January in the College Football Playoff and start spring practice at some point in February, and nobody says a word about that. You’d have to give players plenty of time off to get their bodies back in the summer. Maybe a little later start back the next fall.”

Riley reiterated his hope that the 2020 season could be played in the fall. More on this story on ESPN.com.

Five-star to play for HBCU

One of the top 20 basketball players made a commitment on Friday and it was a surprise: Howard. Makur Maker of Phoenix (Ariz.) Hillcrest Prep had Howard, UCLA, Memphis and Kentucky among his finalists.

Since ESPN launched its basketball recruiting rankings in 2007, he is the highest ranked prospect to pick a historically black college.

Boise cuts sports

Boise State cut baseball, swimming and diving programs this week, a move that the school said would reduce its athletics budget by $3 million. The school is honoring scholarships for the 2020-21 season and will help others who wish to transfer. By NCAA rule, those players would be immediately eligible.

Furman, Bowling Green and Chicago State have also cut their baseball programs, although fundraising quickly helped to save Bowling Green baseball. Fans at Furman and Chicago State are also making a push to help reinstate those programs.

No Power 5 program has yet to cut an athletics program.

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