Upon his introduction as FSU’s new coach Sunday, Mike Norvell said he’ll need “a couple of days” to decide whether to coach his old team (in the Cotton) or new one (in the Sun) this bowl season.
But the guy with whom he’ll work alongside in Tallahassee (in some capacity) indicated Sunday evening that decision has been reached.
“I’m gonna lead the team through the bowl game, and Coach Norvell, he’s gonna be right out there with me," said Odell Haggins, who led the 'Noles to a 2-1 record and bowl eligibility in his latest interim stint. "He’s the Florida State head coach now.”
FSU (6-6) is headed to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, where it faces Arizona State (7-5) on New Year’s Eve at 2 p.m. Whether some prominent draft-eligible 'Noles such as tailback Cam Akers participate in the game remains to be seen; Haggins said he hadn’t yet spoken with the players following the bowl announcement.
But he has spoken to the guy arriving from a highly successful four-year stint at Memphis to succeed him.
“First meeting went well with (Norvell). He’s a high-energy guy," Haggins said. “Right now, he’s jumping on recruiting, so that tells you a lot about him. ... Fun guy to talk to.”
FSU hasn’t appeared in the Sun Bowl since 1966, when it lost 28-20 to Wyoming on Christmas Eve. Arizona State earned bowl eligibility with a 31-28 home upset of eventual Pac-12 champ Oregon on Nov. 23.
“They’re a very good football team," Haggins said. "They’ve got a young quarterback (freshman Jayden Daniels); that kid is throwing the ball around. They’ve got good receivers and Coach Herm Edwards, he’s doing an excellent job. … Hey, they beat some good football teams this year.”