Florida State linebacker Emmett Rice has taken a big step toward returning to the field. While there is no timetable for when Rice will play again, the redshirt senior is back on the practice field and appears to be moving around well as he works his way back from an undisclosed injury.
“He’s actually participated in more drills,” FSU coach Mike Norvell said. “I think we’re getting closer. Sunday night was the most work that he had done. Came out today and continuing to get the conditioning aspect of it. He looks good moving. Making sure that the stamina to be able to go out there and play at the level that he wants to be able to play and the confidence, that’s something we’re going to continue to build over these next few weeks.”
From a distance, Rice has been working diligently toward a return in 2021. And he could be a valuable addition to the defense when he is back. Rice started eight of nine games last fall, recording 62 tackles (second on the team) and 7.5 tackles for loss (first on the team).
Rice’s name was not on FSU’s depth chart, which was released on Monday. But seeing back on the practice field participating in team activities is a definite positive for Rice and the Seminoles.
“Excited about what we’ve seen,” Norvell said. “Still got some more work to do.”
Offensive guard Devontay Love-Taylor, who missed the UMass game due to injury, participated in Tuesday morning’s practice.
Florida State went from being one of the most penalized teams in the nation, with 27 in the first three games, to one that has significantly limited infractions and pre-snap penalties. In their last four games, the Seminoles have been penalized just 15 times.
“Yeah, losing sucks,” FSU offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham said. “And when you realize that if you jump offsides and get penalties, over and over again, you’re not gonna win. And we can say the refs out there made the difference. No. Our guys realize if you want to win you got to play disciplined. It’s that simple. They were fed up with it. Jordan Travis said in his interview all the time. We’re fed up. Fed up with playing that style of football and they made a decision to make a change. They made a change, and it’s not a change we made. It’s a change they made. They made as a football team, they made his players. … It’s been a real positive for us.”
FSU used crowd noise when it moved into the indoor practice facility for an extended period of practice on Tuesday. While FSU has played road games against Wake Forest and North Carolina, those crowds won’t be anything compared to the 81,500 capacity of Clemson’s Memorial Stadium.
“We’ve been working to prepare for those type of environments since I got here,” Norvell said. “And even last year with limited stadium capacity, this year, just any opportunity that we can get, try to make things as miserable to communicate and as irritating to operate as we can. We try to do that. … We’re expecting a very loud and disruptive atmosphere that we’re going to go play in.”