Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Florida State Seminoles

10 thoughts and notes on FSU coach Mike Norvell’s introduction

The 38-year-old won the press conference, if that matters.
Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell speaks at a news conference Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. Norvell is Florida State’s new coach, taking over a Seminoles program that has struggled while he was helping to build Memphis into a Group of Five power. [PHIL SEARS  |  AP]
Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell speaks at a news conference Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. Norvell is Florida State’s new coach, taking over a Seminoles program that has struggled while he was helping to build Memphis into a Group of Five power. [PHIL SEARS | AP]
Published Dec. 8, 2019
Updated Dec. 8, 2019

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State formally introduced Mike Norvell as its new football coach Sunday. A few quick notes and thoughts from the news conference:

It’s a six-year deal with Norvell and the Seminoles. We haven’t seen financial terms or a contract yet.

RELATED: FSU football hires Mike Norvell as next coach

We don’t yet know what role interim coach Odell Haggins will have in the athletic department or Norvell’s coaching staff, but the Seminoles’ decision makers made it clear that he’s sticking around in some form. "Odell is not going anywhere,” athletic director David Coburn said. “Not unless I go with him."

I hate the idea of winning the press conference, because it doesn’t matter if you can’t win on the field. Willie Taggart won the press conference in this very room but was fired because 12 of his 21 games were losses. That said, Norvell won the news conference. He sounded like a fired-up pastor or politician with how passionate he spoke. Energy will not be a problem, nor will selling the program.

Even though FSU didn’t hit its initial timeline for hiring Taggart’s replacement, there was an advantage to firing him midseason. FSU fired him on Nov. 3. That also happened to coincide with Memphis’ open date, when Norvell said he first met with the Seminoles’ brass.

Norvell made it clear he thinks FSU deserves to be among the nation’s top teams every year, but he didn’t promise a quick transformation. He said, a few times in a few different ways, that it was a step-by-step process. “I want to be the coach that gets us back,” Norvell said.

RELATED: Five things to know about Mike Norvell, FSU’s next coach

His opening statement included a thank you to the state’s high school coaches. That was a smart, important move. Norvell has few ties to the state in recruiting or anything else, and how quickly he connects with Florida’s prep coaches will have an enormous impact on his first signing class and beyond.

Norvell said he’ll take a few days to figure out his plans for the upcoming bowl games. He told reporters Saturday after his Tigers won the AAC championship that he planned to coach Memphis in the bowl game (likely the Cotton Bowl, which would be the biggest game in that program’s history). FSU (6-6) will also be going to a bowl game of some sort, too.

Schematically, Norvell said his system is built for playmakers. That should bode well for a state that has plenty of skill talent. He also stressed the importance of special teams in a way that reminded me of Gators coach Dan Mullen, who harps on them frequently.

President John Thrasher was asked what lessons he learned and used from the 2017 search that netted Taggart. “Too quick,” Thrasher said of the ’17 search. “Probably too quick. That was the biggest one. I think not enough due diligence…” Thrasher said that Norvell popped up in FSU’s last search, too. “We didn’t follow up probably enough on that to be honest with you,” Thrasher said, making it clear he wasn’t saying anything negative about Taggart.

Norvell said the first piece of college football memorabilia he ever owned was a license plate commemorating FSU’s 1993 national championship team. He grew up outside Dallas.

I’ll have more on FSU’s next coach and his introduction soon.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Florida State guard M.J. Walker tries to block the shot of Miami guard Dejan Vasiljevic during the second half of their game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
    FSU forces 24 turnovers and storms back from a nine-point deficit for its ninth consecutive victory.
  2. Yesterday• Florida State Seminoles
    Florida State forward Malik Osborne dances with his teammates during player introductions before their game against Virginia on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Tallahassee. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    Florida State, in a three-way tie atop the ACC standings, goes on the road Saturday in search of its ninth straight victory.
  3. Miami LB Shaquille Quarterman (55) during drills for the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field on Monday. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    “They don’t yet have the mentality of a Miami Hurricane,” the linebacker says during the days leading up to the East-West Shrine Game.
  4. Former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was considered the front-runner for the Florida State job after Willie Taggart was fired. Instead, Stoops stayed with the XFL. [TONY GUTIERREZ  |  AP]
    “The emails...it’s amazing," Seminoles AD David Coburn said of fan reactions. We read the emails. They are amazing.
  5. Florida State guard Anthony Polite and Virginia guard Braxton Key react to Polite's 3-point shot during the second half of their game Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Tallahassee. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    FSU forces 18 turnovers in a stellar defensive effort to take down the defending national champion.
  6. Memphis linebacker Bryce Huff gets fired up after a play during a game against SMU at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas. [KYLE OKITA  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    Plus more East-West Shrine Game nuggets, including former Navy star quarterback Malcolm Perry practicing at receiver
  7. Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) gets emotional after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against Miami in the season opener. [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times]
    The Florida Gators finished about where I thought. But about Willie Taggart’s job security ...
  8. LSU coach Ed Orgeron, left, and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney shake hands on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, near the national championship trophy after a news conference for the College Football Playoff title game. [CHRIS CARLSON  |  AP]
    Goodbye, task-master ways. The duo leading their teams into the CFP national title game are all about a very personal, aw-shucks, family approach.
  9. This Dec. 30, 2019, file photo shows more empty seats than fans before the start of the First Responder Bowl between Western Michigan and Western Kentucky in Dallas. [ROGER STEINMAN  |  AP]
    Despite six bowl games this season having their smallest crowds ever, bowl games will increase next season from 39 to 42. And forget about attendance being a factor.
  10. Florida State tight end Tre' McKitty (6) gets stopped by Miami defensive back Jaquan Johnson (4) and defensive lineman Joe Jackson (99) during a 2018 game. [Times]
    The former three-star recruit started 19 games over the last two seasons for the Seminoles.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement