Notes: FSU back in game-week mode

Mike Norvell didn’t go into specifics on Monday afternoon but he delivered positive news with the confirmation that more players have returned to the field after the Seminoles were reduced to 44 prior to the postponement of the Virginia game.

The CDC recently updated its guidelines that allow for players to be out of quarantine if they show no signs of coronavirus and have negative tests for seven days. FSU’s roster was limited due to contact tracing, which prompted the Virginia game-day decision and FSU not playing on Nov. 28.

“I feel very comfortable with where we’re at with the CDC development, shortening the quarantine time,” Norvell said. “That definitely helped us with going through those protocols and being able to get a lot of guys back here for this week and excited about where we are and looking forward to this week of work.”

FSU has not played since a Nov. 14 loss at NC State but has practiced with a smaller roster while also beginning preparations for the Duke game on Saturday.

Norvell released an updated depth chart on Monday that removed a number of injured players as well as opt-outs. There weren’t many surprises, although there were far fewer “or” designations than normal. Jordan Travis was listed as the starter at quarterback, while Jashaun Corbin and Lawrance Toafili were listed in separate spots at the running back and tailback spots. Toafili had just one carry against Pittsburgh and did not participate in the game at NC State.

“I think Lawrance has shown some great flashes of what he’s capable; so excited about his future as he continues to develop, the development that we’ve seen throughout the season, physically, mentally in all aspects,” Norvell said. “He’s a natural playmaker with the ball in his hands. Unfortunately, he’s missed a couple games or been limited in games due to injuries throughout this year. …  He’s definitely a guy that we believe is going to be one of those building blocks that’s going to help this program as we continue to grow.”

The defensive depth chart was also similar to prior weeks although there appear to be limited options at cornerback now that Asante Samuel Jr. is preparing for the NFL Draft. Jarvis Brownlee and Jarrian Jones are listed as starters with Akeem Dent as the backup to both. It’s also plausible FSU will move another player over to corner, such as safety Travis Jay.

“We have considered other possibilities and things were are going to work and prepare for during practice,” Norvell said. “But right now, those are the top three of how we would go through the game. All three will play, all three will have an opportunity to impact. But we also do have plans if we need to go beyond that.”

Reflections on Travis

Travis Jordan is at the top of the depth chart and has had more than a month to heal since he last played against Pittsburgh on Nov. 7, exactly one month ago. The time off has been good for Travis, offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham said.

“It’s huge,” Dillingham said. “Yesterday (Sunday) was the best he’s thrown the ball since I’ve been here and, in my opinion. It wasn’t even close. He came out with a purpose, extremely accurate, he was extremely dialed in to the fundamentals. I don’t know what happened, we gave him a few days off and he came back, his mind must be rejuvenated because that was the most focused, the most attention to detail and the best he’s thrown the ball since he’s been here.”

Nasirildeen’s impact

In what has been a bizarre season with all of the postponements, think about what Hamsah Nasirildeen has gone through in 2020. He worked diligently in rehabilitating his knee after surgery, and the Charlotte, N.C., native returned to play at N.C. State. He started and had four tackles while playing limited snaps.

And then Nasirildeen had to sit through the postponements for the Clemson, Virginia and Duke games.

“I think Ham just needed football back in his life as much as he could,” defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said. “I think we’re all happy for that. So seems like a long time ago that he was at that 26 snaps at NC State. But he’s been part of the reason why the energy has been so good around here, just having him in the room. And he’s been in the room all year but when he can actually do what he wants to do — because you can lead by example, you can lead by word, you can lead by history, all that stuff.

“But when you’re literally on the grass with these guys, and able to even fail or succeed in the end, and they can see you do that, and then to be able to respond, I think that’s what he’s happy about. That’s what I’m glad about. We’re excited to have Ham back. I think he’s made obviously progress over the last couple weeks just getting in game shape without playing in the actual game.” 

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