Terry taking steps forward, shaking off up-and-down start to 2020

Tamorrion Terry was viewed as one of the ACC’s top receivers going into the 2020 season. After just two games, the production was missing. Terry had six catches for 52 yards against Georgia Tech and then was held without a reception at Miami.

Terry also had an animated discussion with the FSU coaching staff on the sideline during the loss at Miami. But Terry and FSU coach Mike Norvell talked in the days following the game against Jacksonville State. 

“He said a lot of things to me,” Terry said on Tuesday. “A lot of great things and a lot of things that I needed to hear. The things he told me, I just need to be that man that he wants me to be and be that leader. I took all that in. I took that to practice and it showed up on gameday. All the things that he told me, that we talked about, I felt where he was coming from and I took it and ran with it.”

Terry caught six passes for 77 yards in the win over Jacksonville State before following that up with nine catches for 146 yards and a 48-yard touchdown in the loss at Notre Dame. Also a positive? Terry’s blocking stood out, something he feels he has done throughout his career but is being more consistent now.

“Those are the steps you want to see as a coach,” Norvell said. “Guys get challenged in a lot of different ways, and part of our job as coaches is to inspire guys to go out there and better than what they even think they can possibly be. I think Tamorrion has really taken great steps the past two weeks with his practice habits, the way he’s approached every rep. Trying to push himself to the highest level. The thing I’m pleased with is the consistency that’s shown up through the game. I thought this last game was the most consistent game that I’ve seen him play. Made multiple contested catches, big-play situations, did some good things in the run game when he was asked in blocking situations. Just got to continue to grow from these experiences.”

Terry has been limited in practices and likely in games due to injuries. He’s also dealt with the loss of a grandmother.

Receivers coach Ron Dugans has also tried to be supportive, offering wise words that he once heard as an FSU receiver from coach Bobby Bowden.

“It was just taking him under your wing and say, ‘Let’s focus on what we can control.’ The person that helped me do that was coach Bowden,” Dugans said. “He told me, ‘Don’t pray for a lighter load. Pray for a stronger back.’ Myself, I was going through some things on and off the field. Some struggles. I had to be there for him to help him get past it and take the next step and focus on the now.”

Terry also admitted on Tuesday that he hasn’t been playing to his “full potential right now. I’m still banged up.”

“I could say whatever the team needs, I’m going to make sure I’m going to be there for them and I’m going to help them out however I can,” Terry said. “I feel like I’ve been banged up like way before the season started, but I’ve been trying to give it my all. People don’t even know that right now. I’m getting better though. I can say I’m getting better.”

Perhaps the timing is a coincidence but Terry is also playing better since quarterback Jordan Travis has taken over, in the second quarter of the win over JSU. Terry connected with James Blackman and Alex Hornibrook as part of a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2019, but the on-field connection between Blackman and Terry was not there consistently through the first two games.

On Saturday, Travis and Terry connected throughout the game at Notre Dame. What has Travis brought to FSU’s offense?

“He brought his own swag,” Terry said. “He’s got his own swag. He can scramble out the pocket and we can not be open, but he can get us open, just by running the scramble drill. I feel like that is good. He brought that swag right there. That is the swag that we probably needed right now because we’ve got a lot going on, a lot of stuff going on right now, and I feel like him coming to the table and stepping up, that is big for him.”

Travis practicing

Norvell didn’t offer specifics but confirmed that Travis, who injured his hand in Saturday’s game, did practice on Tuesday.

Touchdown pledge drive

FSU linebacker DeCalon Brooks and receiver Keyshawn Helton are leading a Touchdwn Pledge drive against UNC to support rare disease research. Fans can pledge on a per-touchdown basis or a flat amount at pledgeit.org/fsutd20

Norvell on seeking progress

FSU is in what has been a challenging 1-3 start. But Norvell had an interesting response to a question regarding how to balance the scoreboard and the result compared to the big picture that he has for the 2020 team and the program.

“You have a standard and a potential that you believe that your football team can achieve,” Norvell said. “If we go out there and play to the best of our ability, give great effort, play with a focus on fundamentals and technique, it’s never gonna be perfect, I understand that, but when you’re playing to the maximum of your potential in those aspects, you can live with results. But if all you’re doing is focusing on the end result, I’ve been a part of games where we’ve been successful and really taken a step back as a program because of a lack of improvement in certain areas. We’re looking to build us the right way. There’s not ever a game that I go in, take the field that I don’t expect to be successful because I have great trust in our players, I have great trust in our coaches, the things that we’re willing to do and the way that we’re willing to work. If all you’re doing is looking three steps ahead and just focused on Saturday night, then you’re gonna miss out on the opportunity to grow and get better today.”