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First year FSU head coach Mike Norvell prepares to break from routine

| Friday, October 9, 2020

Heading into their biggest game of the season so far, Florida State head coach Mike Norvell isn’t afraid to shake things up. Norvell, who is currently starting his first year in Tallahassee, announced Monday that redshirt sophomore quarterback Jordan Travis would be starting for the Seminoles this Saturday against the Irish. Travis, who spent one season at Louisville before transferring to Florida State, will lead an offense that relies heavily on their run game. 

Florida State has featured three quarterbacks in as many games this season, including veteran James Blackman, who started both his freshman and junior season before getting benched following last week’s second-half rally over Jacksonville State. Travis appeared in the final four games of last season and has continued to emerge as a strong candidate to lead the Seminoles offense. Norvell said when evaluating a quarterback’s performance, he pays close attention to their feet and their ability to stay calm under pressure, something that Travis has continued to impress him with.

“When you saw Jordan in rhythm … everything was under control,” Norvell said. “He trusted what he saw.”

Travis is the team’s second leading rusher with an average of 46.3 yards per game, and even found his way into the end zone against the Gamecock. Meanwhile, he’s demonstrated he can do more than just run, recording a team-high 164.7 passing efficiency to go along with 222 passing yards on the season. This dual threat gives Norvell the confidence that Travis is the right pick to take on the Irish.

“Jordan provides a lot of versatility and flexibility of what we want to do and what we can do,” he said.

That said, Norvell made it clear that Blackman and freshman quarterback Tate Rodemaker should prepare to take the field come Saturday.

“Guys will go to work and be ready and prepare for whatever might come their way,” Novell said. “Jordan has established himself as the starter this week and I think he’s going to go out there and play the game the way he’s been playing it. I’m excited about him being able to assume that role this week and go make the most of it.”

As Travis looks to beat the Irish both on the ground and in the air, he’ll rely heavily on redshirt junior wide receiver Tamorrion Terry. The 6-foot-4 target out of Ashburn, Georgia has continued to put up impressive numbers averaging nearly 11 yards a catch.

Norvell commented on Terry’s growth throughout the offseason and his potential going forward, saying he has the chance to be “one of the most dominant receivers in college football.”

“He challenged himself, he sets expectations,” Norvell said. “Some of his best plays are when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands, which is an exciting thing to say about a wide receiver, so he’s got to continue to push, continue to improve but I see him embracing that challenge.”

While Travis is clearly a key piece to the Seminole’s run game, the Irish defensive line will certainly have to watch the running back trio of Lawrence Toafili, Jashaun Corbin and La’Damien Webb, all of whom have recorded 100 yards or more throughout this season. 

Norvell credited his coaching staff for their progression.

“With great coaches, you’re able to bring out the best of what those guys have,” he said.

In arguably the biggest game of Norvell’s young career thus far, he recognizes the challenges he’s up against. 

“We have to be relentless with every snap that we play. Our best players have to play their best game,” he said. “I’m excited about the challenge in front of us and the opportunity that’s there Saturday night.”

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