Florida State’s opener with Notre Dame is now just hours away. We’re going to clear out our notebooks and offer you some thoughts from this week’s interviews as well as videos with two players and a few thoughts from Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. First up is Jermaine Johnson, who was part of Georgia’s win over Notre Dame in 2019.
(On Norvell saying the Noles are an emotional team) “It’s football. If you’re at this level, you are talented and you have passion for the game. Your emotions are going to show and I think they should show. The only thing is what we talked about before is have control and control over your response. Everybody has emotions it’s just how well you can control them and keep them in check.”
(Thoughts on Notre Dame) “I played Notre Dame in 2019. We played them, we won. I was actually in on the game-winning stop. I’ve played that team. They like to do a lot of 12 personnel. A lot of tight ends in the game. Test your will. They’ll run straight at you. This team knows that. We know what to expect.”
(On growth in the FSU defense since he has arrived) “It’s a whole different defense. I see it every day. I know what was here last year. And it’s not even the personnel. It’s the way we operated. It’s the discipline we had and playing in the scheme of our defense. It’s a whole different defense, it’s a whole different team. Offense, everything. I see a lot of stuff out there in the media. Not really expecting much of us. I just laugh at it. It’s fine. I’ve been there, been in JUCO, not expecting much. I know what this team is and I think the world will on Sunday.”
Video by Jerry Kutz:
(On the continuity of a full offseason at FSU) “We finally had a spring with the coaches. Put a lot of work in this summer and fall. We’re just ready to go out there and show you guys what we’ve been working on.”
(On how he feels now, nearly two years removed from a torn hamstring at Texas A&M) “It’s like night and day, the comfort level. Just being out there, being able to make moves and being more explosive. Be comfortable with the offense and my teammates.”
(On the quarterbacks and Mike Norvell’s decision) “Comfort level is on 1,000 percent. Whoever he decides to start the first game, both guys are talented, both guys can make plays and put us in the right position to win.”
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly
Wisconsin transfer quarterback Jack Coan has been praised for his accuracy in the pocket as well as leadership. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly sees two other key attributes in a starting quarterback.
“Poise would be probably the first one,” Kelly said. “Decisive. We’re not starting a freshman. We’re starting a guy that’s played this game. We want him to be poised, but we want him to be decisive. He’s seen it and knows what it looks like.”
Kelly told a funny story about season openers and recalled a matchup in Sept. 2003 when he was at Division II Grand Valley State and opening at UC Davis. Grand Valley State, the defending DII champs, stayed at a casino hotel in Reno, Nev., before the game and escaped with a 9-6 victory in overtime.
“Not everybody made bed check and I wasn’t too happy about it and sat some guys in the first half,” Kelly said. “We didn’t play very well, so I learned my lessons. Don’t stay at a casino and, if you’re going to do that, make sure you have a more veteran football team.”