Phil Steele is a walking encyclopedia of college football knowledge. And when you pick up one of his summer magazines, it often resembles a condensed media guide on all of the nation’s FBS teams.
Steele spends much of his offseason watching game film and researching teams before arranging calls with head coaches. He is optimistic in his outlook for how Florida State will do under coach Mike Norvell.
“I think he definitely likes the talent he inherited,” Steele said on the “Front Row ‘Noles” radio show on Wednesday night. “If you follow Mike Norvell’s offense, dating back even to when he was at Arizona State (as a coordinator), it’s at his best when he has explosive playmakers at running back and receiver. And he’s got that. When you look at this year’s team, there’s plenty of explosive running backs, plenty of explosive receivers like Scarry (Tamorrion) Terry, D.J. Matthews, Jashaun Corbin, Khalan Laborn.
“Then defensively, happy birthday, get Marvin Wilson to turn down the NFL and come back for his senior season. That gives Florida State one of the top defensive lines in the country.”
Like many FSU fans and analysts, Steele has a positive view of the Seminoles in part because of the return of Wilson and Terry. Wilson is Steele’s No. 1 interior lineman in college football.
“I don’t see anybody else who would be better than Marvin Wilson at the defensive tackle spot,” Steele said.
But he also sees a defense that could be “sneaky good” with potential all-ACC picks in the secondary like safeties Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jaiden Lars-Woodbey as well as cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.
Steele is as curious anyone to see how the quarterback situation plays out. Because of the limited spring practice time – FSU got just three practices in before athletics was shut down – it is difficult to assess James Blackman, Jordan Travis, Tate Rodemaker and Cubba Purdy. And it’s a guess as to how they fit in Norvell’s offense. Steele thinks because of the uncertainty that Blackman will start the season.
With the offensive line, Steele acknowledged the group has been a problem for years but came away from his interview with Norvell feeling the coach likes the pieces he has inherited.