Tonight at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, the progressive flamenco band Gipsy Kings will be performing.
On Saturday, it will be Seal.
But on Thursday evening, in a ballroom above the main stage at the famous venue, Florida State football coach Mike Norvell was the main attraction. And for more than 30 minutes, he talked to Seminole fans and boosters about his vision for his program, his expectations for 2023 (and beyond), and how he has embraced the transfer portal in helping build FSU back to where he says it belongs.
Speaking with Florida State play-by-play announcer Jeff Culhane as part of the Seminole Booster Tour, Norvell said he appreciates the expectations that have been placed on his team heading into this year.
This came moments after Culhane told the crowd that ESPN had Florida State No. 3 in its post-spring power rankings.
“I’m very excited about this season,” Norvell said with a smile. “We have a great team.”
The fourth-year head coach said last year when he spoke to booster groups, he had an inkling the Seminoles were going to have a good season. He believed wholeheartedly they would, in fact. Now, it just seems like the rest of the country has caught up to his way of thinking after a 10-win season.
And while he couldn’t have been happier that safety Jammie Robinson was selected by the Carolina Panthers last weekend in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, he did say he was amused when people asked him about Florida State “only” having one player drafted.
“Yeah, because we had so many draft picks come back to us,” Norvell said with a smile.
That line got another loud cheer.
As did the beginning of his sit-down with Culhane, when he was just talking about the overall program and what he is trying to build in Tallahassee.
“What we’re willing to do, and the standard we’re willing to set, it’s got to be across the board,” Norvell said. “Last year, winning the 10 games, that’s a great feat. Beating those other two in-state teams … (hold for applause) … that’s something to be celebrated.
“But you know, one of the things that I’m really proud of is while accomplishing those things, we also had the best team GPA ever in program history.”
As he often does, Norvell talked just as much about what the Seminoles are doing as people, how they’re growing as men, as he did about what they’re doing on the football field.
He was even asked a question during the Q&A portion of the event about how he balances his work life and his family life, and he said it’s important that all of his coaches and players try to find that balance. That he wants to be an example for the entire program about how to work hard but not get completely consumed by the sport.
That said, he was asked about the actual football aspect of his job, too.
He said quarterback Jordan Travis was one of the most improved players on the team this spring, which is saying something considering how good he was in 2022.
“He was at that elite level,” Norvell said of his quarterback.
And he also talked about how he views the defensive line as a “real strength” for Florida State in 2023, listing guys like Jared Verse, Fabien Lovett, Darrell Jackson, Braden Fiske, Patrick Payton and Josh Farmer by name.
And on the last question of the night, Norvell was asked about the transfer portal and just the overall landscape of college football in 2023. He said being a college athlete is incredibly hard in this day and age because everything — from social media to recruiting websites — is catered toward the individual.
Which is why he was so proud of how team-oriented the Seminoles were in 2022, and how he feels they have continued to stay that way heading into 2023.
And while he understands that some players are going to leave the program for a chance at more playing time elsewhere, the portal isn’t going anywhere. So, Florida State’s coaches celebrate the players who stay while still wishing the departures well.
“I want them to be successful no matter where they go and what they do,” he said. “We go through that journey with them. I care about them.”
He also cares about winning. That’s the primary goal of the job after all. That’s what keeps those coaches employed.
And as he wrapped up his talk with the Atlanta Seminole boosters and fans on Thursday night, he made sure to let them know how much they impact winning.
“We’re so grateful for you,” Norvell told the hundreds in attendance. “It’s about what we can do, it’s about what we can accomplish. You are a part of what makes Florida State special. And I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to lead this program. Because I know what I represent. We have a blueprint of what it looks like to sustain success as good as anybody in the history of college athletics has ever done. …
“So, enjoy this journey. Because you are a part of what makes Florida State so special. It’s also a responsibility we have to represent you in a way that you deserve to be represented. That’s what we’re going to continue to do on the field, off the field, in the classroom, in the community, in everything that we do. Because that is the Seminole standard.”
The post Mike Norvell fires up Florida State boosters in Atlanta: ‘We have a great team’ appeared first on On3.