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Quote book: Norvell, Dillingham, Fuller

Below are some of the key points made by Mike Norvell, offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham and defensive coordinator Adam Fuller this week following the win over Boston College.

Mike Norvell

(On differences UF showed on defense with a new coordinator, what could come Saturday with a new offensive play caller now that Dan Mullen is out): You get to this point in the season, they were a little different in their defensive personnel last week against Missouri. Just who they had out there. Sometimes that’s injury-based, sometimes that might be who’s calling it or a specific game plan. There’s not enough evidence to say ‘well this is going to be a drastic change of what we’re going to see or could see.’ We’ve got to focus on ourselves. There could be a variety of different looks we see offensively, defensively, you come into this game and nothing is off the table. …All of that, we don’t have any control of it. We control ourselves.”

(On the FSU-Florida football rivalry): “It’s one of the great games that college football provides. To be a part of it, to say excited would be an understatement. …Is our record where we want it to be? No. But throughout this season, there’s been a lot of lessons learned. To put ourselves in position to gain one more is big. It’s big for our players. It’s like I told them, they put themselves in a position to be remembered. We talk about building a foundation, we’re going to do this the right way. It’s all aspects in our program on the field, off the field. All of that building up on top of the rivalry, on top of the pageantry that goes into this game in this moment, I’m excited for what this week holds. Our guys feel that, too. There was a lot of bounce coming off, we’ve had back-to-back very physical games. Even last week, to not have the emotional let-down of coming off the Miami game, it’s all about continuing to get better, and I think that speaks to part of the culture we’re trying to establish the foundation that’s being built.”

(On how the defensive ends played at BC): “We challenged the defensive front this last week. Obviously those two guys have played at a very high level, but we also put them in some challenging situations, we needed them to rise to the occasion with just what we were trying to do and some of the routes we were going to try to match off. Especially against that quarterback there. There haven’t been a whole lot of guys to get that type of pressure on him. Sometimes you put great challenges out there to get a great response, and our guys responded. They played at a great level. In all reality, there could’ve been a couple more sacks that we could’ve finished on. That’s what you like to see. You show belief, you show confidence with what you’re going to ask your players to do. When you see them respond to that level…it was impressive.”

Kenny Dillingham

On Malik McClain’s touchdown at BC: “That was big time … He went up there and, in two years here, I think that was the first time we’ve seen somebody go up and get a football. It was good awareness by everybody getting down and getting set because they had too many men on the field with a tempo call. Good job taking the one-on-one and then a good job going to make the play. That’s exciting to see a true freshman on the road in a conference game who’s from the South in 38-degree weather — it wasn’t even cold — but still go up and make that play. That’s something to build on for him and I’m excited about it.”

On how Jordan Travis played at BC: “He played another great game. Super efficient, effective, getting us into good plays, getting us into good protections. He’s seeing the game really well and he’s confident. Part of that confidence, I think the relationship with him and coach Norvell is continuing to grow and grow and grow. When you have a quarterback who believes in the head coach, when you have a quarterback who says publicly he’s the best coach he’s ever had, when you have a quarterback who thinks that way about his coach, who says he has a personal relationship with the head coach, any time you have a quarterback that has complete trust in the head football coach and has a personal relationship with him. I think that’s one of the keys to his growth is that relationship that he’s build with coach Norvell and that relationship they have together.”

On FSU’s red zone success: “I think owning the football down there is the most important thing. That’s something the last few weeks, barring sprint handoff, we’ve done a pretty good job taking care of the football. When you get in the red zone, you’ve got to take care of the football. Jordan has done a nice job in the red zone, whether that’s extending plays, getting us into good checks, whether that’s just making the right decision in the passing game. And then, we practice that a ton. We have Sunday practices and we spend 10 minutes on just red zone. Not just red zone, inside the 10, inside the 5, shifts, motions from 22 (personnel), 32, 13, from every personnel grouping you could have. That’s just all we practice. I think when you practice that a lot and then when we get out on a game field, our guys have confidence in it because it may look like we’re in 14 personnel shifting to empty and that may look like a cluster, but we’ve been practicing that for 5 to 10 minutes every Sunday throughout the entire year. So it really allows our guys to go out there and play confident in those situations when we create all that communication.”

Adam Fuller

(Kalen DeLoach safety, a byproduct of playing time and his increased role in the defense) “Kalen will be the first to tell you, part of the reason that he makes that play is because of the d-line’s pressure and Jermaine’s pressure. It’s a screen. They’re going to set and the ball is going to get off anyways. But for Jermaine to get in his face and get his left arm extended high forces a little bit of loft on the throw and the linemen, they lose Kalen on the play. Kalen, I’ve said, he’s played really well. He’s getting better. That’s a sign of development. It’s engagement. It’s development. I still think the best is yet to come with Kalen DeLoach. This is his first year as an inside linebacker. We’re investing a lot of snaps and he’s cashing out on those snaps right now. He’s one of our most productive defensive players.”

(In the wake of the call against Jammie Robinson, a question about how to defend a sliding quarterback) “I’m for all the safety in the sport. We got big, strong, fast people running full speed and there’s collisions. I support all the rules we’re trying to do to make this thing as safe as possible. But there are more challenging situations than others. I think every defensive player in the country always looks at every targeting and says, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ And as a coach, you then lead up with, ‘Well, this is what we’re supposed to do.’ I think the worst thing you do as a coach is to throw your hands up and say, ‘I don’t know what you’re supposed to do there.’ Because how do you coach them? How do you play? That’s never been my response. There’s last-second slides but he’s a quarterback and that’s kind of the way you have to deal with it. Quarterbacks have the upper hand in the open field right now. If they want to take advantage of it, they can. But the rules are the rules, we have to play by the rules, we have to understand how it’s being officiating and then operate within the rules to the best of our ability. It’s a penalty. We lose one of our better players for the game. I coached them on how we do it again if it shows up again. There’s certain things you can’t do in the open field against a quarterback. It happened and he had to sit out the rest of the game because of it.”

(Fourth-quarter success as a defense with stops or takeaways) “It’s physical, it’s mental, it goes back to preparation. We try to make everything we do real in the practice situations. You can put pressure on your players in meetings, you can put pressure on your players in individual in practice. That doesn’t mean it’s a negative connotation. That’s just trying to make it as real as possible. When the moment happens it’s not too big for them. They feel like they’ve been there before. That’s what you do at a good program when you practice the right way. They feel like they’ve been there before. When that happens, there’s no panic. You go back to your training and you get execution. We don’t want to give up any points. So none of it was ok. But you get some critical stops when you need it. We’ve been best this year when our back’s been against the wall. Whether it’s red zone, or sudden changes or critical stops in the fourth quarter. We like to operate like that for all 60 minutes all the time. But we’re not there yet. We’re fighting to be there.”