There aren’t too many things to celebrate during this football season in Tallahassee. The Seminoles just lost their second straight conference game, the most recent being to the very beatable Wake Forrest Demon Deacons.
And as the season progresses, it’s harder to determine where the blame primarily falls, as each unit has been inconsistently good at times, and bad most of the time. But this past Saturday in Winston Salem, it was the defense that gave Florida State a fighting chance through the end.
In arguably their best game of the season, they held 22 points, the Deacs to their lowest point total of the season, and allowed only one touchdown in 7 scoring drives. They limited one of the ACC’s best offenses to 116 yards and 17.7 points beneath their season averages.
The spark plug for the Florida State defense was Emmet Rice. The RS Junior linebacker finished the game with career-high 14 tackles, nine solo stops and a tackle for loss.
Though it’s much harder to celebrate standout performances when they don’t come hand in hand with a win. And that won’t start happening consistently until Florida State can put together a complete game on both sides of the ball.
Not perfect, Just complete. So far all we’ve seen from the Seminoles this season are little spurts of promise clouded by primary undisciplined and unfocused performances from all units.
However, FSU defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett seemed optimistic that even in the loss, the stronger defensive effort is something the Noles will build on for the remainder of the season.
Here are some highlights from Barnetts discussion with media on Wednesday.
Q: Against Wake Forrest, you were showing the a lot of four man fronts, are you getting to the point now where you feel like you’re truly multiple?”
A: “I think so. We’re finally getting it down, understanding when and why we want to do different fronts and mixing it up on teams. We’re getting to the point where we could be considered multiple defense.”
Q: What’s the key to getting off to a great start and holding them to just a few points on field goals?
A: “We talk about starting fast all the time, and finishing faster. We weren’t finishing obviously at one point in time and so now we’re just trying to put it all together. We’re at the point in the season now where you just quit talking about it and you got to just do it and when plays are there to be made we’ve go to make those plays. Thats’s where it starts – it’s making plays. A chance to get off the field, let’s get off the field, whatever we need to do. All 11 guys must execute to give ourselves a chance to win each and every play.”
Q: Is there any concern about the defense becoming demoralized at all?
A: “Not at all. The guys are still locked in playing hard, enjoying it. Everybody obviously wants to win, winning is fun, we always say ‘Lets have fun,’ well you have fun winning football games. Thats our mindset. Guys are still determined, still working hard, and still believing we can get this thing turned around the way we want it to be.”
Q: Are they receptive to fixing the mistakes that you keep hammering on them?
A: “Absolutely, we’re demanding it out of them and we should start seeing the results here on Saturday.”
Q: Do you think the defense is doing a better job handling up tempo offenses and being ready for the snap?
A: “Yes, we really stressed that, and you see it all the time. Obviously we see it everyday, so our guys are kinda used to it… We stressed it all week about being able to get lined up that was ones of our keys to victory, getting lined up.”
Q: Are the linebackers playing better in general, if so what are they doing better?
A: “They’ve got a better understanding and a comfort level of the defense. They know what they’re supposed to be looking at and now you can just naturally play the game, it’s just about your ability now. They’re comfortable right now so they’re playing well.”
Though it seems gloomy in Tallahassee right now as the Noles sit 3-4, the season is certainly not unsalvageable if the defense can continue to improve and if Kendal Briles can resurrect his once-promising offensive play calling. They’ve still got two huge rivalry games on the schedule and are heading into next week’s Homecoming contest against Syracuse.
But it’s going to take more than just an improved defense to make it happen, as displayed so clearly on Saturday. It should start with more aggressive coaching.
FSU released Mike Norvell’s assistant coach’s salary info
New FSU coach Mike Norvell is full speed ahead in every aspect of his program, including finalizing his coaching staff. And, he and the athletic department are making sure that his coaches are more than competitively compensated for his first season.
The Tallahassee Democrat obtained coaching salary information for seven of the eight assistants that Norvell has agreed with. According to their reporting, seven coaches have signed a “letter of understanding” in lieu of later actual contract and it details their compensation amounts:
— Curt Weiler (@CurtMWeiler) January 24, 2020
First, Norvell agreed to a six year deal in December to take over in Tallahassee and it will average just over $4.4 million over the life of the deal. He also received an assistant pool from the school of $5.25 million.
On the breakdown, Norvell’s highest paid assistant will be defensive coordinator, Adam Fuller, who is slated to make $800,000 this season after coming to the Noless with Norvell from Memphis
Norvell will pay FSU’s new offensive coordinator, Kenny Dillingham, who was at Auburn a year ago, but was previously the offensive coordinator at Memphis with Norvell before that, $625,000. And, special teams coordinator John Papuchis will earn $550,000 this season.
The paper also learn the three other position coaches are also going to be making half a million dollars each. Interestingly, defensive line coach Odell Haggins has an existing salary a $482,000 and is being retained by Norvell. One would have to believe with the job that Haggins did, once again as the interim head coach for the final three games of the season and FSU’s bowl game, if you’ll receive some type of raise.
Receivers Coach Ron Dugans was also retained by Norvell and his compensation is slated to be $450,000 for this season, unless Norvell, chooses to give him as raise, too.
The only salary exception is defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson, who has been reportedly hired this past week, but not officially announced by the school. And, FSU obviously does not have a letter of understanding with Woodson, like the others do.
Norvell has taken over the Seminoles after leading the Memphis Tigers to their most successful season in their history at 12 – 1, including an American Conference Championship game win over Cincinnati. That earned them a berth in the Cotton Bowl.
Norvell did not return to coach that game is Penn State defeated them on New Year’s Day.
His previous salary was just over $2.5 million with incentives at Memphis.
ACC releases FSU and Miami dates for 2020 opponents
The Atlantic Coast Conference released their conference schedule for 2020 on Wednesday morning, and we now know the opponents and the order of conference games for the Seminoles and the Hurricanes.
First, for Miami. They already knew that they were opening the pre-conference schedule with Temple at home on Saturday, September 5th, and there toughest early test will likely be at Michigan State three Saturdays later.
The 2020 📅 has officially arrived!
This year's schedule features seven games at @HardRockStadium including Florida State.
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) January 22, 2020
Miami will play their only non-Saturday ACC game six days later on a Friday night in Winston-Salem, NC, against Wake Forest.
Miami also has home games with North Carolina and then the Seminoles, which comes on November 7th. The Hurricanes will also play at Virginia, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech before finishing the season on Saturday November 28th back at home vs. Duke.
As for the Seminoles, they come off of a loaded pre-conference season where they are playing West Virginia in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend Saturday September 5th. And, they are playing at Boise State in the return game for last year’s upset loss on September 19th in Idaho.
FSU learned Wednesday, that they will open at NC State on Saturday October 3rd. The Noles and first year coach Mike Norvell, then get four time defending champion Clemson, as their second ACC opponent the following week in Tallahassee.
Then, they also host Wake Forest on October 17th. FSU’s remaining road games are at Louisville, Miami and Syracuse. The game against the Orange will be on Thursday night November 19th.
Florida State’s final ACC home game will be with Boston College on the previous Saturday, November 14th.
As part of the ACC schedule release, UCF learned that they will be playing Friday night September 4th in their home opener with North Carolina. That game to be televised nationally by ESPN.
The Knights already knew that they would be playing Georgia Tech in the pre-conference schedule on September 19th in Atlanta.
Miami Hurricanes4 days ago
Not so fast on QB D’Eriq King coming to Hurricanes?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers5 days ago
Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night
Jacksonville Jaguars1 week ago
Former Jaguars coordinator DeFillipo already lands in Chicago
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 week ago
Several Bucs and Jaguars make PFWA All Rookie Team