Florida State is finally back to having full usage of its quarterback room, likely for the first time in more than a month.
FSU has been without Jordan Travis (missed two preseason scrimmages) and Chubba Purdy (collarbone surgery after first scrimmage) for large chunks of August and September. But on Tuesday, offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham said, “All four of those guys got reps in multiple parts of practice today.”
It’s a positive development moving forward for FSU, which jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the opener against Georgia Tech but saw drives stall out after. While James Blackman has shouldered a significant part of the criticism since the loss, the way the offense played around him was also lacking: receivers like Tamorrion Terry and Warren Thompson dropped passes, running backs often did not pick up yards after contact and injuries on the offensive line led to turnovers and short drives in the second half.
Blackman completed 23 of 43 passes for 198 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Travis threw an incomplete pass and ran six times for 39 yards. Tate Rodemaker did not play in the opener. The question with Purdy is how much he is able to do in practice and when he might be ready to play in a game or take a hit to the left shoulder.
While the focus from the outside has often been on the quarterback, Dillingham said he’s looking for better execution from the offense.
“Right now the scheme is the scheme,” Dillingham said. “But execution is what’s going to make the difference. Whenever the coach says that, and nobody ever likes that answer, but it actually is the truth. The teams that have 11 people doing the same thing win, the teams that have 10 people doing the same thing lose. The teams that turn the ball over lose. The teams that own the ball win.”
Thomsen’s fit as interim head coach
Mike Norvell continues to lead FSU in virtual meetings and he’s been able to communicate on the practice field as he observes in real time. But the impact of coach Chris Thomsen as deputy head coach has also been felt as a steadying presence in the week leading up to the Miami game.
Tight end Camren McDonald, who has spent time with Thomsen either in person or in Zoom meetings throughout the last nine months, said he likes the deputy head coach’s demeanor.
“He approaches it like he can handle it,” McDonald said. “He approaches it like a businessman. And the situation is never too big for coach Thomsen. So I feel like he’s the perfect guy. And the team really buys in to what he preaches and that’s keeping the main thing, the main thing is just coming out and focusing on Miami and focus on how we have to get better going into this week. I have full confidence in coach Thomsen.”
Corbin’s first game back
Jashaun Corbin played in his first game against Georgia Tech since the tailback had a major knee injury when he was at Texas A&M. Corbin ran six times for just 18 yards but had his biggest impact as a receiver, grabbing a team-best eight passes for 55 yards.
“I felt good,” Corbin said. “I got my game legs back. Had to get back used to being back in an actual game, the actual flow of a game because it has been a while. … I think for my first game back in over a year and some change, I think I played pretty well. But obviously there are a lot of things that I need to improve on and I’ve just been focusing on that.”