FSU head coach Mike Norvell met with media after practice on Monday morning and spoke on a number of topics, including wanting to see his team continue to develop its mental toughness. He said quarterback Chubba Purdy would miss two weeks due to an undisclosed injury and updated the status of wide receiver Warren Thompson, who posted some critical comments about the program’s leadership as to its handling of information and protocols pertaining to COVID-19 testing.
Lets Get Physical
“Today was a physical practice, one that we were trying to make a tough, physical practice. Defensively, a really good job today,” said Norvell of his team getting back on the practice field after an off day on Sunday. “The offense struggled to do just about anything. We’ve got to develop our toughness and mindset. At the end of the day, we’ve got a long ways to go coming off the scrimmage, honestly challenging guys to continue to elevate their game. Some guys have bumps and bruises, things that you’ll see in normal camps and it’s an opportunity for other guys. We’ve got to continue to work on my mindset. Thank God we’ve got another week, to be able to go to September 12th because we’ve got a lot of work that we need to do. This team needs to challenge itself.”
While impressed with the overall effort of his team in Saturday’s scrimmage, Norvell thought his team lacked intensity today.
“We go out to work, we had limited opportunities and I didn’t think today was to the intensity (level) of what is needed for us to play to the caliber what I think we are capable of playing,” continued Norvell. “We’ve got to make the choice. We’ve got to respond as a team together and we’ve got to continue to work to get better in elevating the way that we’re preparing and the way we’re growing together.”
The Seminoles’ first-year head coach was forthright when asked whether the pandemic-shortened spring practice period has been a factor in his team being behind in relation to understanding the day-in and day-out intensity level that will be required and mental and physical toughness needed in practice.
“Absolutely,” said Norvell. “When you have 15 practices in the spring, you get to really paint the picture to what’s expected. We’re going to challenge guys in practice, we’re going to develop that toughness, that mindset in everything we do. We’re going to be very smart with our bodies, we’re going to make sure that they’re prepared and ready, but you can’t prepare to play this game by just going through the motions. There’s a way to do it and I’ve been a part of that my entire coaching career. I’ve seen it applied, I’ve been a part of helping develop that, creating that mindset and approach and it wins games. That’s something we have to get to because right now, you can’t have a day on and a day off and always have every issue in the world going on and that affecting the intensity of what you bring to your development and improvement. It’s a work in progress. Obviously, this is our ninth practice and we’ve got to get better. We only had three practices in the spring and two of those were in helmets. You get a day off between every spring practice, this is time to work. This football team needs to have that mentality, that mindset. We’re going to do that and we just have to continue to improve.”
Norvell believes that the way he approaches practice will ultimately help his player overcome adversity come game day and the rest of their lives.
“It’s part of life,” said Norvell on the importance of developing mental toughness. “You are going to be uncomfortable at many times throughout your life and you have the choice of how you’re going to respond to situations. I want workouts to be challenging, I want workouts and practices to push guys to new limits that they don’t think they can go because they get to make the choice to take their game and be able to have that mental toughness so that they’re prepared to respond. When we play on game day, I don’t want there to be any emotion, I don’t want there to be anything that they feel that they haven’t already experienced before. If I can help create an atmosphere at practice that’s going to bring that game type of intensity and those guys understand how to block out all that extra noise, then they’re going to be able to play at a very high level, especially when the pressure is on. That constant development, that constant growth, it’s hard, but so is winning. At the end of the day, it’s not easy to win a football game and in every game that we play this year we’re going to be in tough, challenging situations. Every one of them, I don’t care who it is. But if you have the right mindset and you push yourself every single rep to get better, you’re going to put yourself in the best position to be successful. That’s what our program is built on. Every aspect, mental and physical toughness and how you respond to each situation.”
Norvell also addressed the status of Thompson after the sophomore wide receiver posted on Twitter last night that he wanted to be a part of the team moving forward. His head coach also seemed ready to turn the page and move forward with Thompson on the roster.
“Warren Thompson is a part of our program,” said Norvell. “He reached out to me this weekend. I love Warren, I do. Obviously, this is one of the toughest times in our country’s history. The fear, the unknown of a lot of the things that are going on, these guys, it’s maintaining control of their thoughts and where they are, looking at the reality of situations. I feel bad for all these guys that I’m coaching and the coaches I’m coaching with that they’re having to live through this experience, but it’s going to make us stronger. Making sure that as we do that, we do it together, understanding the challenges that we do face and not letting story build upon story and story of what we’re thinking in our minds rather than just having a conversation. We had a very good conversation the last couple days. Last night, Warren came up, expressed his desire of what he wanted to do and what he wants to be a part of. I’m grateful for the opportunity to coach Warren and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help him develop and to be on this journey with him, just like every other player on this team.”
He he also stated that he is looking forward to seeing his relationship grow with Thompson.
“Being a part of a family, sometimes there are bad days,” continued Norvell. “It’s really easy for a coach to just turn the other way, but Warren and I, we have eight months together. When I got here, he wasn’t actively on the team. I told him that this is our new beginning. For eight months up until this last week, I’ve enjoyed every moment of that development and that relationship. I think he understands the choices he made and some of the things that happened as he was going through the situation, but we’re moving forward together. Like I said, I’m grateful for the opportunity to help him grow and develop and to be able to continue to build that relationship. I’m appreciative of Warren. I think that sometimes in life you just have to sit back and reflect and not get caught up in emotions and letting different things develop that might not be the reality of the situation. But there’s a lot of stress on these kids. It’s not just him, it’s all of us. We’re moving forward together.”