We miss college football. Bennett takes the snap and the shotgun throws for the corner.
Brock Bowers one on one. Caught. Touchdown.
He ate him alive. Falls down into the end zone. Six more for Georgia. We can't wait for the 2023 season. Caleb Williams throws the fade in the corner.
Touchdown Trojans. And we're counting down the days to kick off. Are we there yet? No. Are we there yet? We said no. Are we there yet?
What's wrong with your ears? Here is your college football fix. Only on the Zach Gelb show. Ninety four days away from Florida State opening up its football season against LSU in Orlando at Camping World Stadium. And now joining us on the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio is the man that's entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles.
And that of course is Coach Mike Norvell. Coach, appreciate the time. How are you? I'm doing well Zach. Appreciate you having me on.
Well thanks so much for coming on. Last year was a big year for your program in your number three with you being a Florida State Seminole. You guys did go ten and three. I know you want to move on to this season but first how do you look back at what your team accomplished last year? I was proud of the group. I mean to take another step to show the improvement even just the way the season went. Starting off 4-0 big win against LSU to one of those kickoff classics and opportunities just to really make a statement of who this team was and some of the things they could accomplish. To have to go on a road when Jordan went down and Tate Rademacher backup quarterback came in and led us back to have a victory on the road.
Those are some really good things. Middle part of the season had some bumps along the way but to see our team respond and win the last six was really big for our program. And just for the growth, like I said that response and just continuing to get better pushing towards what's ahead this year and continuing to build the program back to where it deserves to be. But to have a great group of young men that I get to coach and excited about the way this team has come together and really the culture that's been established. Like you said there's a lot of excitement with this program and there's big expectations this year. You mentioned the word culture. How do you describe where that culture is at as you guys get set to kick off year four of the Mike Norvell era at Florida State? I think it's in a great place. We've got a lot of people talk about family.
I think we live it. I think this team has really come together. They work hard together.
They push each other. We've got a lot of competition. We've had a good number of guys that chose to come back and be a part of this team for another year when they had opportunities to go to the NFL. I think that makes a statement in itself that they enjoy who they get to do it with and who they do it for and what they get to represent being Seminoles. It's a hard-earned culture, one where they have to invest into it. But I think we've been able to develop and bring in the right young men that truly embrace it. It's a lot of fun. I love coaching this team and the strides that they've taken. You guys had a lot of success in the transfer portal.
How have you guys, I don't want to say perfected that process, but used it as an advantage for your program? I think in today's age of college football and college athletics, it's different than it's ever been. Everybody has a different path.
Everybody has their own journey. It doesn't matter whether it's high school transfer, junior college. We're looking for the right fit for Florida State. Obviously, what our roster might need when it comes to experience, competition, continuing to build that in a variety of ways. Last year, we signed 65% of our class was from high school, but 35% was from transfers.
You find guys that embrace the culture, that embrace the opportunity, that want to be a part of this team and how we do it. We've done a great job of getting very talented young men that have come in and made an incredible impact on our program. We've had a few one-year guys, but something that's been pretty great to see is you guys have had multiple years that have transferred here. They've really made Florida State their home.
It's really been a special experience watching their transition into this program and the impact they've been able to make. One of those guys that has made Florida State their home is Jared Vers. He was at Albany and then last year had a really good year for you guys. Had to deal with some injuries.
Big expectations for him this season. I was talking to Eric McLean, an ACC analyst and former Clemson center the other day. He said as long as that kid stays healthy, he'll be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft. How did he get on your radar and what stood out to you about Jared right away?
It's kind of a funny story. We were playing Syracuse two years ago. Jared was playing at Albany and had a great game. As we were watching the film, he really stood out in how he played and what he did. Had a couple of great effort plays.
Fast forward to after the season. I'm sitting there on the road recruiting and I get a text message that a defensive end from Albany went into the portal. So I called our defensive coordinator and said, is this the defensive end that was making all the plays?
They told me it was. I was on the phone with him within 15 minutes from that time and we started the process. Just a great young man. Plays with a chip on his shoulder. Really had to earn everything he's ever gotten. He is a special talent and a great teammate.
Just a wonderful part of our program. What type of player could he be? Because when I talked to Eric McLean, he said top 10.
That's IPOP and that's big high time praise. I think the sky's the limit for him. You look back at what he was able to do last year. Made a lot of great plays and really established himself as one of the top players in college football. But I think when you look at the circumstances that he had to work through. He had some injuries.
He missed some time in practice. He had the consistency of the fundamentals that he can apply. I was so proud of him this spring.
I thought he was one of our most important players. When you say that about a guy who can be a first round draft pick and a top pick, it's exciting to see. It's because of the mindset which he brings to work. It's the investment he's willing to make.
It's something that he earns every day. Mike Norvell here with us, the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles. All opened up their season 94 days from now up against LSU. We all remember that game last year. It was an absolute great one between LSU and Florida State. Fun to play them again.
Both these programs really moving in the right direction now. It's going to be a good game. It was a game last year that nobody really knew what to expect. We kicked it off. LSU went on and had a great year. Won the SEC West.
We went on to have a 10 win season. Now to be able to kick off the season with that game, it's what college football is all about. We're definitely excited for the opportunity.
It's a great opponent. Very talented young men that we're going to be able to go against. A great coaching staff that they have. It's something our guys are looking forward to.
Just continuing to work to get better so we can be prepared when that opportunity shows up. Mike Norvell, a lot of people talking about your quarterback Jordan Travis. We know what he was able to accomplish last year. What did he show you last season when he took a big step? He's such a special playmaker. He's a wonderful young man. So very humble in his approach and just what he does. He's grown. He's gotten better. He's really made the 10 guys on the field with him better by how he plays, throwing the football, the things that we ask him to do. We put a lot on his plate.
Whether it's run checks, protections, all those things. He's so very smart. You see the playmaking ability that he has.
Not only with his arms but with his feet. He's truly special. He's another guy that took his game to another level.
He's just excited for what's ahead for him and all that he can be. I truly believe he's one of the elite talents in college football this next season. When you have a player that accomplished so much last year, you talk about how he got better in this offseason. What did you guys really challenge him to do when he had such a successful season for you guys a year ago? It's always about consistency and execution.
Being able to push that on a daily basis. Bringing your championship mindset to every play. You see the growth. You see the improvement. You see what Jordan is capable of.
I thought he played at an extremely high level a year ago. To see that carry over and have that sense of urgency to be better. He's really done a great job with that. Not every play is going to be perfect, but when you're striving and pushing yourself to be in the best that you can, it's impressive to see. He's really taken his control and command of this offense. You're just a leader that he is.
He's done a remarkable job. You're running back Trey Benson. You guys got him from Oregon last year. He put up nearly 1,000 yards. Had 4 100-yard rushing games and had 9 rushing touchdowns for you.
Another year in your program. What do you think he can continue to get better on with Trey Benson? Trey was coming off of a devastating injury there at Oregon. He had to come. As he came into the program, he had a great plan for him. He really built his confidence through the work that he had.
I thought he performed at a very high level throughout the course of the season. He's ready to take another step in his game. I think the confidence that he's been able to grow in, the understanding of what he's being asked to do and how well he can do all things is exciting for us.
I really think he's going to be a special player. You talked about some of your top players and how you think they've got better. Who's been some guys during this offseason program and leading into spring ball right before that spring game that you thought really took their game to the extra level this offseason?
I think looking at position groups. Our offensive line group has really done a great job. Their size, their strength, the execution of what they've done. We've got a lot of guys that are returning, but also we're able to bring some very talented newcomers into the program. Just seeing the overall depth that we have and the competition on a day-in and day-out basis. I think that group is really poised to take some wonderful strides.
The forcing units on our defense are the same thing. We've got some really talented young men. I know you talked about Jared, but guys like Pat Payton, our linebacker crew, our defensive tackle.
It's impressive. The more pressure that we can create, it just helps those guys in the back end. It's a very experienced secondary we have. I think it's a well-rounded team. We've got to continue to fight for that improvement daily. It's an exciting team to be around.
Like I said, it's one that I enjoy coaching because of the way that they work. You talk about that environment and trying to get Florida State back. Last year was a big step in the right direction. I know the world was completely different when you walked in there.
2020 taking this big job coming over for Memphis. When you look at the last three years, where you guys were in 2020 to now, does it just look like a totally different program? We've had to go through a lot.
It's one of the things sometimes you need to go through. What you have to prove you can get through. That's what we've done as a program. We needed to establish our foundation. We needed to establish a culture and build upon that through our values of how we try to operate. I think players have embraced that. We've had to be consistent as coaches. Trying to be that example for them and do it with them.
It's something I'm really excited about. Not only are our guys showing the success on the field, but who they are off the field. What they're doing in the classroom. How they're achieving at a high level there. It's something to be proud of, but also the opportunity to continue to go get better. That standard of excellence is something that has been consistent around Florida State for a long time. It truly has been a program that was a blueprint for so long of how to sustain success. We've seen some great moments, but we're ready to take it to another level and continue to push to get better in all things that we're doing. What are Mike Norvell's expectations for this squad this year?
To get better. I know I've said it a few times throughout this interview, but it's something we talk about daily. I believe in the talent.
I believe in the young men that I get to coach. I'm not going to put any limits on what they can accomplish, but for us to go get better, being our best. If we can do that, I think great things can occur. We don't control all factors that go on around us, but we do control what we do inside this building and the investment we're willing to make. If we can push and hold that standard and focus on our improvement, I think great things will come.
This feels like an ACC championship or bus type of season. Do you agree with that? Ultimately for us, if we go out there and we continue to improve and we play to the best of our ability, then I think we can put ourselves in a great position for all things.
That is the focus. We've had high expectations here within our program with what we talk about as players, as coaches. This is a program we should be competing for championships with the young men I get to coach.
I'm excited for the opportunity that's ahead. We've got to go improve and be consistent in how we show up and what we do on a daily basis. The last few years, there was a lot of pressure in order to prove that you could move this in the right direction to keep your job. Now you welcome in the better pressure of trying to win games with this program being in a more positive spot. How do you and the program deal with the pressure of having high expectations this year? If you don't embrace expectations, you should never come to Florida State. Player, coach, or anybody involved, this is a special place. There's no expectations or pressure that comes from the outside that's not more than what we have here on the inside. This program is not for everybody, but for the right ones that embrace the opportunity to be on a grand stage and to be able to represent a wonderful university and program.
Like I said, that standard of excellence. That's what we push for. We've had a challenging road. It's been interesting getting to this point, but it's been a part of the journey that we had to go on. I'm really proud of the players that have been a part of it. The guys we've been able to bring in.
I'm excited about what the future holds because of who I get to do it with. Coach Mike Norvell, I always appreciate your time. Good luck this season. Thanks for doing this. Thanks so much, and go Noles.
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