Florida State University Press Conference

Florida State University
Football Media Conference
Monday, November 20, 2023
Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Mike Norvell
Press Conference

MIKE NORVELL: Good morning. Everybody. Appreciate
you being here. Obviously coming off the weekend, it was
an emotional weekend for us. Going into the game, we
knew it would be, senior day. Our guys, incredible group,
playing in their last game at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Obviously there was a lot of it going into the game. Didn’t
actually start the way we wanted to. Fell behind in the
game early. Had a few mistakes, things that obviously you
can’t have there in those situations.
And then unfortunately Jordan went down there in the first
quarter and had a season-ending injury. It was devastating
just for him, for who he is, for what he’s meant to this
program. The impact that he’s made on and off the field, to
know that his last play at Florida State has happened, it’s
With all of the emotions, and you felt the support, you felt
the care, the concern for him. He was remarkable. I
mean, his composure on the field, in pain, all things, he’s
just telling me, Coach, I’m good. I’m good. Tell my mom
I’m okay, and I’m good.
As he got up, and really I think both teams came out there
just to wish him off and wish him well in his recovery. He’s
had a great mindset throughout this with an incredibly
difficult circumstance. But you felt for him.
Just like I told our team there afterwards, and we talked
about it in the postseason, when you’re in that game and
you’re playing an opponent you’re better than and you
have all the shoulds of what should happen, what it should
look like and you find yourself behind and then you find
yourself with an unbelievable amount of adversity and just
the mental state, and any of our players that were there on
the field, it shook a couple of them.
It takes a little bit of time just to kind of regather yourself,
and I know Corey asked me afterwards, how do you block
it out. You don’t block it out. Not on this team. Not being
a part of who we are and what we’re about. You can’t just
say, hey, it’s just next man up. That’s not real here. You

care about every one of them.
Kalen DeLoach not being able to play Saturday was
something that hurt me too. His last play at Doak
Campbell has already happened. You want it for every
one of those guys to be able to fulfill their journey and each
of those experiences, but it shows you how fragile it can be
and how important every play is throughout these guys’
But what I was so proud of was the response of our team.
You saw a team that continued to come together.
It was a special game to be a part of even though it’s one
that you saw the response — we scored, whatever, 58-0
run against a team we needed to beat handily, and it
wasn’t perfect. We had a lot of mistakes, a lot of things to
clean up, but you felt the team come together.
To know that their hearts and their thoughts and all those
things were — everybody was concerned for Jordan
throughout the game, and I gave them an update of all the
information I had right after the game. But it was an
emotional weekend.
As we come into this week, it’s another emotional game.
We talked about it a few weeks ago. It’s one of the two. I
love this game being the last game of the season because
everything we’ve done throughout this season builds for
this one and it builds for this moment, for this time.
And we’ve seen it. We’ve seen it dang near all. We’ve had
highs. We’ve had lows. We’ve had adversity. We’ve had
challenges. But the one thing that’s constant is just this
team, the work they’ve put in, how much they care about
each other, the family that’s been built here.
For as sad as I am for Jordan and obviously him not being
available, I am so excited for this team. I’m excited for
them to go get an opportunity to put their identity on
I’m excited for Tate. He did a wonderful job coming in. We
talked about it yesterday. Didn’t shock anybody that was
on our team because we’ve seen him do that before.

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We’ve seen him on the road. We’ve seen him have to lead
us back from being down.
We’ve seen him have to be ready when his number is
called. He’s always answered that these last few years as
he’s grown. You’ve seen him answer that call whenever
he’s got the opportunity. You see how he prepares
throughout the week, and we’ve got a football team that’s
going to rally around and behind him.
It was good Brock was able to get some work there. He’s
missed the better part of the season with an injury not
being available to play, and once he got cleared it was
great to be able to give him a couple series of work for him
to get out there, and did some good things. Scored his first
touchdown, which was awesome for him.
And I was proud of our defense. You look at the second
half, I think it was six straight three-and-outs. The only
time they got a 1st down was on that last drive. Then I was
really pleased with just even the last play. We talk about
playing 60 minutes. We were able to get a lot of
newcomers in the game, and to be able to block the last
kick and see guys return it for a touchdown, it was a pretty
cool experience for them.
But as it leads into this week, it’s everything that we have.
We know we’ve got one more game after this. We get to
play for a conference championship, and what we do with
this week will put us in position for whatever ahead.
Everything that we have is going into our preparation this
week to go be better than what we’ve been. We know we
have to go to a hostile environment. That’s going to be all
the challenges, all the adversity, everything that’s ahead.
We’ve got a team that embraces that, and that’s what I’ve
loved about watching them grow. I love the character of
this team, and man, I’m excited to see them go play.
We’ve got to have a great week of prep as we continue to
build and continue to get better.
But I can tell you that yesterday was a real day, and it was
one that — we lifted, we squatted, we went out, we had
practice, and man, you felt it.
I’m excited to see these guys continue to respond. We
know the challenges are ahead, but I believe in this group.
Q. On that note, I think fans have had a hard time
processing and probably some media processing the
last 48 hours. Was it a challenge to get the guys
refocused yesterday, and how did you see them do
MIKE NORVELL: You know, they came in yesterday with

purpose. Everybody has — like I said, this is truly a family.
Our guys care about each other. When you have one of
the elite leaders, one of the — Jordan will be talked about
forever in this program, and what I love is that it’s not
necessarily going to be just about his playing ability. It’s
going to be about who he is.
I think you feel that impact. There’s concern. A lot of guys
have got a chance to go and see him and spend some time
with him, and he’s sent his message to the team and made
sure he’s communicated throughout this weekend.
But there’s also an expectation, and there’s a responsibility
that we have for him because he’s been such a huge part
of this journey, and we’ve got work to do.
That’s something that he’s echoed, we’ve echoed, and
we’ve got to go put it in, and that’s what we’ve been built
on, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.
It wasn’t necessarily a refocus. It was just making sure that
as a team we talk about the things that have happened and
where we go from here and how we do it is what we
I thought our guys came with great purpose yesterday, and
I was pleased with the work that I saw. Guys know what
needs to be done.
Q. You mentioned you guys have been through a lot,
and the Florida rivalry is always interesting. But have
you ever been to a game where both quarterbacks kind
of go down the week before and just kind of — doesn’t
change the dynamic of the game, but changes the
complexity of the game a little bit?
MIKE NORVELL: I mean, to think about both sides, I can’t
recall that, whether that’s something I’ve experienced in my
career, but ultimately we don’t — the guys that step out on
that field, offense, defense, special teams, that’s what’s
going to be ahead of us.
To get a little bit of insight on their quarterback, obviously
coming in later in the game, he did some good things, was
efficient with the ball, showed off athleticism and speed as
a ball carrier. It’s a guy that’s been in their system for a
couple years, and obviously he’s getting his shot.
As an offense that has really good playmakers, they’ve got
probably the best receivers that we’ve gone against or a
couple in that world. I think a couple guys at LSU are
pretty good, too. They’re in that spectrum. But a couple
NFL running backs. They’re big up front. It’s an offense
that you see that they’ve been doing a good job here these
last four or five weeks putting points on the board.

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I mean, we’ve got to control things we can control, and to
prepare for what we expect, and then be able to react to
anything that might be unexpected.
Q. How is life different for a quarterback when the
whole week is around them, they go take snap one
versus being thrown into a game in unexpected
MIKE NORVELL: Yeah, I mean, you try to make it to
where the mindset is always the same because you never
know, and you never know when you’re going to be called
But it’s probably different for them, and it’s just — for Tate to
go through it, it’s the same message that I’ve had for them
for however many, three years now. You get your
opportunity, just go be you. I’ve got the utmost confidence
in what he’ll do.
I remember last year on that trip to Louisville, he went in
and he went in right before the half, had an interception,
probably there were a lot of questions and doubt on the
outside of what it could be or what it would be, and I have a
lot of confidence in him.
I’ve watched him grow over the years. I’ve been fortunate
to have somebody that’s been in this system since we got
here. He was in that first signing class. He got thrown in
the fire. He started the game, maybe it was the second or
third game in his career, and it wasn’t a real fun start, and I
hate that we had to put him in that position to be honest
with you.
But he’s really done a lot of great things, and he’s stuck
through the journey, has continued to prepare. It is his
time. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Tate because of what
I’ve seen and the work ethic he has.
This football team has a lot of confidence in him, and you
saw it the other night. He came in and he made a couple
of incredible throws across the field, on rhythm, on time. I
think people underestimate just his athleticism and what he
can do, extending plays, and I think that’s something that
as we go into this week, he just needs to prepare to go be
him and trust all the things that we’ve done up to this point.
We’ll do a good job as coaches and making sure that we
try to put him in the best position, but he’s done everything
in this offense and has been preparing for it.
Q. Following up on that, you alluded to Tate has
grown in his time here. What areas have you seen him
improve on since day one?

MIKE NORVELL: Really all. He came in — Tate has had a
lot of success playing this game. He was I think seven,
eight Georgia state player of the year, played for a state
championship his senior year. Him and Jaheim Bell were
teammates, and he’s done some wonderful things. He
knows what it takes.
What I appreciate is just the way he’s competed, but also
not necessarily gotten discouraged with not being the
starter. He’s been behind one of the best players to play at
Florida State. I think Jordan is in that conversation. He’s
But Tate has stayed the course and he’s continued to work.
His confidence, his understanding, he’s gotten bigger, he’s
gotten stronger. He can make all the throws.
But also just the ownership of the offense is something that
I think he has a really good understanding of. Does that
mean that — there were a couple mistakes that other day
that showed up, but we’ve all had them. But he
understands immediately if there is a mistake, this is the
reason why. So that’s something that is sometimes hard
with a young quarterback, but he’s already been able to go
through that process.
I think it’s a high ceiling for what he’ll be able to do.
Q. You mentioned Kalen. Was holding him out more
precautionary, and Renardo and Maurice were two
guys that got hurt Saturday. Where are they at coming
into this week?
MIKE NORVELL: We’ll see where it’s at. Definitely very
hopeful with Kalen. I do expect him to be ready, but we’ll
see where that goes throughout the course of this week.
Same with Renardo and Maurice. Felt good about where
we were on Sunday, and as we get closer to kickoff, we’ll
see what that looks like.
Q. When you first got here, Tate was a guy you moved
on very quickly. When you saw from him in his time at
Valdosta High, what jumped off the page at you?
MIKE NORVELL: I actually offered him at Memphis, and
so he was one of the guys that I liked a lot coming out. I
liked just his play making ability. I thought he was — you
see somebody that can live in the pocket and throw on
time, throw on rhythm.
He’s not afraid of being able to step into a throw. We saw
that last year. There was a couple throws in the Louisville
game where he hit a guy coming right at him and he
stepped into the throw and made big-time plays. He is a

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Like I said, his athleticism is something that — not the
biggest guy in the world. You see him kind of moving
around, you don’t know ultimately how athletic he is, but
he’s one of our faster players on our team. He can run, he
can move, he can do all those things.
So it’s exciting to see his growth, and just like I said, I
mean, the determination and patience that he was willing
to show just continuing to grow, he’s a son of a coach, and
he challenges himself, and he’s hard on himself.
His growth and what he’s pushing to do, but I also think
that’s what allows him in uncomfortable situations to be
able to come in and flourish. He’s earned it, so I’m excited
to see it.
Q. What’s it say about Tate that in the year 2023 a
fourth-year kid is still here, willing to be a backup,
even behind one of the better players in the country?
Because that doesn’t seem to happen a lot around the
country anymore. What does that say about him and
what does it say about your belief in him and his belief
in you guys?
MIKE NORVELL: Yeah, I think all factors have to be
involved in that. You see it, and we’ve experienced it. If
they don’t get it now, they’re going to go and try to find a
better opportunity, and I think Tate has believed in the
growth that he sees in himself. I think he believed in the
development because if you don’t — one, if you don’t love
the place, if you don’t enjoy who you do it with, if you’re not
having a good time in where you are, then you’re going to
I think Tate knows it. It’s competitive. Every year you’re
going to continue to try to bring guys in that are going to try
to be the one, and playing quarterback, that’s all a part of it.
If you don’t embrace that challenge, then it’s probably not
the right position and definitely not the right place.
But he’s always valued that, and like I said, I think he
believes in the development that he could receive here,
and I think it’s showed up because when he’s had his
opportunities, he’s been as efficient — the muff-up or
whatever you want to call it, when you go in and you have
to play, the efficiency he’s had has been really good.
Last year, like I said, in the one opportunity where we
needed him, we’re down, on the road, what was it, third
game of the season, and he brought us back.
He is one that even after that, after last season, he said,
I’m going to find a place I can start because there’s a lot of

places he could have started this year.
But he also, how much he cares about this team, and
obviously enjoys the experience here, and he’s been
willing. He’s gotten better throughout the course of this
year, through the course of last spring.
I think we’ve seen glimpses of that and how he’s been able
to play when he’s gotten opportunities so far this season.
Q. There’s paralysis by analysis for some guys. If
they have too much time to think about something it
might hinder them. How difficult will it be for Tate to
know that it’s his show to run versus some of the spot
duty he’s had in the past?
MIKE NORVELL: Yeah, he’s played this game and he’s
had to — you play at the top level in the state of Georgia
and you have to go through that experience as a high
school player. He’s played in pressure-packed situations
where he’s known he’s been the guy.
Now, is it a step up when you’re in college? Yes. But also,
he’s had to do that before, too. This will not be his first
start that he’s taken. Like I said, the one a few years ago,
oh, absolutely, it was probably a real challenge for where
he was just being a young kid getting thrown into it.
But he’s been preparing for this. I’m not worried about any
of the other factors other than just go play his game. I’m
very confident what that’ll look like.
Q. For a while Florida State had a fractured fan base.
What did it mean, the support from the Florida State
community to Jordan in the days since the injury?
MIKE NORVELL: We have an unbelievable fan base, and
it’s one that — to see the support this year, I said it — we
finished the season with five straight sellouts, and it’s pretty
big, and especially the fact that we had three straight home
games in the month of October, that’s challenging.
But you see the support of this team, and it’s not only, well,
we’re undefeated. Great, yes. But it’s also how they play.
It’s how much they care. The way these guys value
representing Florida State in general. And it’s all the past
players, everybody that we get a chance to step on that
field and speak for in how we play. It’s big.
Obviously when a player goes down, and Jordan has
earned every bit of the support that he’s gotten because he
is real and he’s true. He’s a remarkable young man, and
it’s been overwhelming, the support from all.
I’ve had most of the head coaches in the league have

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texted me or reached out just that their teams, their
programs, their university, they’re praying for Jordan and
they’re thinking about him because they know the
Sometimes when you compete against somebody, you get
a different insight of who they are, and he’s just — he’s pure
and true.
He’s been remarkable, and I appreciate our fan base just
for all the support throughout the season. Obviously it was
definitely on display this Saturday, and it continues to be
on display daily.
Q. In the first nine games, the secondary allowed four
touchdowns. In the last two games they’ve allowed
four. Is that something that needs to be cleaned up or
little regression to the mean, as well?
MIKE NORVELL: Well, obviously there’s plays we’d like to
have back, things we can learn from, things we can get
better. I think we’ve been really good in our pass defense
throughout the course of the year, and we don’t ever want
to give up a touchdown, but sometimes that happens.
But you can still learn from the why and obviously how we
can improve on that. I know that’s what our guys are
excited to work on as we go through this week.
Q. I know statistically Florida’s defense has struggled,
but when they play well, when they are good, what is it
that allows them to be good? What stands out about
MIKE NORVELL: Yeah, it’s a huge defensive front.
They’re massive. No. 1 is probably one of the better
defensive linemen that we’ve faced this year, very active, I
think six and a half sacks, 11 TFLs. He’s a really good
player. We saw him last year. He’s done a nice job for
But you see the size that they have up front, it’s a big
group. They’ve got a couple big corners that are
aggressive in nature in how they play and have done a
good job for the most part throughout the course of the
season in what they do. But they’re going to run.
It’s a big athletic group that’s playing on defense, and they
do a lot schematically. It’s something that’s going to be a
big week of preparation for us because of the volume of
things that they’re going to try to throw at you.
We’ve got to try to make sure we settle that down for all of
our guys as we get through the week, but this is a talented

Q. Could you tell us the extent of the conversations
you’ve had with Jordan personally since your
postgame presser Saturday night?
MIKE NORVELL: I went and saw him afterwards, and just
being there for him, just helping him to understand the
support, because it’s tough. When you know as much as
anything else for a program that you love so much, that
you’re not going to get the chance to go and play another
snap, it’s just hard.
I mean, he texted me first thing Sunday morning, and it
was something that was — I’m not going to go into all that it
said, but it was special. I actually shared it with the team in
our meeting Sunday afternoon.
He’s a remarkable young man, and his belief in his
teammates, his belief in our program and what we do, he’s
been a living example of it. And like I told our team, you
never know when your last play is going to be, but the one
thing in life that you never want to experience is regret.
I believe Jordan is very composed and comfortable in
where he is in one of the most challenging situations you
could ever experience because he doesn’t have regrets.
Like he gave all. It was in every practice and every game
and everything that he did.
Knowing that the journey of being a player at Florida State,
he’s not going to be able to make that impact on the field
anymore, but there’s not a regret in how and what he did.
Unfortunately it came — his time ended a little bit before our
last game.
But he’s still going to make an impact, and that’s just what’s
so special about him. He’s making sure that he’s
communicating and continuing to lead in every way that he
can right now.
Q. There’s another undefeated team that thinks the
world is out to get them right now. Their coach is
suspended. When you guys lost your starting
quarterback, people decided, oh, their season is over.
Even if you go 13-0 you might not get to go to the
playoff because of what you could do in late December
or January in the playoff. How much do you use that
with this team to be like, hey, this season is still going
and we’re still good and we have everything out in
front of us? Is it a rallying cry?
MIKE NORVELL: Yeah, I mean, it’s always about us.
Through challenge, through adversity, through whatever
the perspective is on outside of people that think that know
our team, I live with them every day. I watch them every

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day. I watch their work. I watch their heart, the ability, all
the things that are important to winning football games and
being able to sustain success.
You never want to see anybody go down, but I can’t control
what anybody on the outside says about our team, but we
can make our impression by how we play and how we do
the things that we do.
I can’t go through the season and say, well, don’t worry
about those things and then, oh, now this week now it’s
going to be important because that’s not real. We are
going to be true to who we are.
These guys, to say that they don’t hear it, no, that’s not
real, either. I’m sure they hear it. But thank God the
opinions of others don’t dictate what our actions are going
to be. This team a year ago, nobody thought we were
worth a crap. They proved them wrong.
Big expectations coming into the season, and people
waiting for us to slip and fall. They’re continuing to get
better. Quarterback goes down, oh, that must be it. That’s
why we get to play the game. That’s why we get to go to
work. That’s why we get to continue to push and build and
go be all that I know this team can be. We’ll take care of
the rest out there on the field and what we do, and if we
take care of our business and continue to grow and get
better, I’ll put no limits to what this team can accomplish
because I believe in them, and I believe if we can put that
on display, maybe a few more will believe in what we can
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