Jordan Travis’ college career began at Louisville. He opted to transfer late in his freshman season in 2018 and landed at Florida State.
The intersection of Travis’ past and present converge this week as the Seminoles and Cardinals face off on Saturday (noon on regional sports networks). Travis has said very little about then-coach Bobby Petrino and his time at Louisville, but on Wednesday he said he remains in contact with some Cardinals.
“I’d rather not get into the experience of what happened there, but I still talk to some of my old teammates,” Travis said. “We’re pretty close, those are my guys, but this week we’re focused on playing this team and that’s about it.”
When Mike Norvell was asked earlier this week if he would have a discussion with Travis about facing his old team or if it was media and fan discussion, FSU’s coach brushed it off as just chatter. While it may be a pregame storyline, it’s one that may not factor in too much on Saturday.
And the reality is FSU has seen it in a different sense this year as the Seminoles have faced two previous quarterback commitments in Georgia Tech’s Jeff Sims and North Carolina’s Sam Howell, both of whom formed relationships with recruits in the last two FSU signing classes.
Travis emphasized again that his focus is on trying to stay in the pocket, his improvement as a passer and looking to be a leader. The redshirt sophomore is 34 of 63 for 617 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions but he’s also run for 342 yards (averaging 5.8 yards per carry) and four touchdowns.
FSU’s offense has been productive since the move, too: Since Travis took over as the quarterback in the second quarter of the Jacksonville State game, the Seminoles have scored on 15 of 31 drives.
“The confidence that he has, rhythm, timing, being able to go through a progression and trusting his eyes,” Norvell said. “But also trusting his natural instincts that he has. When something breaks down or if he doesn’t feel confident as he goes through his progression, he’s done a really good job extending things with his legs, being able to keep his eyes down the field. Has hit some big plays in the passing game. And also still providing that threat with his legs as well.
“I think the touchdown right before the half (ended), that drive was really, really important. North Carolina had just scored, I think we had a minute to go, and to be able to move the ball down the field, he impacted it in all aspects. With his arm, had a great pass to Warren Thompson, came back to the left side kind of setting that up. But then the touchdown off of the scramble to Cam McDonald was an extraordinary play by both of those guys to be able to find each other and finish the drive with a huge touchdown before half. You kind of see that development and how he’s emerging and becoming more comfortable in all aspects of what we’re asking him to do.”
Travis is making just his third career start and now has 88 college passes under his belt. The experience of the last three games has helped his progression as a quarterback and quieted talk that he’s just a runner.
“I feel very confident,” Travis said. “The boys up front are giving me time to make plays, and the guys downfield are making plays. Whether the ball is underthrown, overthrown, they’re all making plays. I feel so comfortable back there.”
Noles refocus on Louisville
One of the messages from the FSU staff this week has been about focusing attention on correcting mistakes from the North Carolina game and making improvements as the Seminoles push forward to Louisville.
“When it comes to coming off a win or coming off a disappointment is the willingness to work and the willingness to improve,” Norvell said. “That’s what my No. 1 focus has been. Seeing those guys from Sunday on, I think they’ve had the right mindset and approach. You look back on Saturday and that was part of the message was that we didn’t play 60 minutes of football like we wanted to. … This week, our message has been we have to have 60 minutes, we have to have a complete game because going on the road, this is a very talented team that we’re playing. If we don’t bring our ‘a’ game, this is is going to be extremely tough for us. They create a lot of matchup problems.”
Norvell sees recruiting bump from win
There’s no replacement for playing well right now when it come to the big picture of recruiting. Without face-to-face communication, the best option is how teams perform on Saturday.
“We want the biggest, strongest, fastest players that fit the mindset and the approach that we’re looking for,” Norvell said. “For them, it’s about being able to see those results playing out. How we play the game is critical. I want recruits and parents and the fan base to see a team that plays with unbelievable passion, a football team that’s explosive in all three phases. This is a program — offense, defense, special teams — built for playmakers.
“So I want guys, whether they’re playing offensive line or playing defensive line, that they can see and envision themselves for what they can do here at one of the greatest institutions and football programs in college football history. We have to play well to be able to showcase that, but then there’s also the belief of not only where we are, but also where we’re going. It all kind of plays together throughout the recruiting process.”
Norvell has not put a timeline on the return of two injured players. He said wide receiver Tamorrion Terry would be back “soon.” Terry had surgery on his left knee last week.
Safety Hamsah Nasirildeen also continues to work diligently in his rehabilitation, Norvell said. “He looked good running around today,” Norvell said. “I think every day he is just going to continue to do everything he can to be able to put himself in position to play at his best level. Like I said before, I’m not gonna put him on the field until I feel confident, he feels confident he’s gonna be able to do that. But he’s very, very active in everything we’re doing right now.”
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